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Have you ever wondered what DAMES alums are up to? Now you can know! Here are updates from DAMES alums Erin Posas and Matt Coss, both 2016 grads!

Fun fact: This picture of Matt and Erin was taken at another class of 2016 DAMES alumnus’s (James Williams) wedding!

After nearly five years as a consultant working first with the public sector and then, for the last six months, working in the firm’s global office to improve her company’s internal sustainability efforts, Erin will be starting a Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability with a concentration in Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan.

Erin said of her plans: “I want to spend my career driving racial and socioeconomic equity in environmental policy and planning across the private and public sectors, both locally and internationally. At my time at UNC, the Asian Studies department afforded me irreplaceable opportunities, from language study to study abroad, which helped me become a world citizen. The Asian Studies department aided me again recently with a recommendation for my graduate studies applications (thank you so much, Dr. Visser!). I continue my journey now toward becoming a citizen of the planet, able to pair science with multilingual and intercultural abilities in pursuit of a greener, more just world.”

Matt completed a master’s degree in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Maryland and worked for four years at the National Foreign Language Center developing materials for learners and teachers of critical languages (including Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Farsi, etc.). During and after his MA, Matt taught Chinese at both Georgetown and (currently) George Washington University, where he has also successfully proposed and taught three new courses and is actively involved in both undergraduate and MA programs. Matt will be starting his PhD in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University, focusing on instructed (classroom-based) second language acquisition—learning, teaching, and assessment of second languages! After graduation, Matt hopes to take an academic job where he can combine his passions for language teaching (Chinese and Spanish!) and Applied Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition research.

“I continue to be so grateful to the Asian Studies department at UNC for helping build the foundation on which I’ve built my academic and professional career,” Matt said. “I am still frequently in touch with Professor Zhou (we have even collaborated on curriculum design and professional development events these past two years!), and frequently see other members of the Chinese faculty at conferences and other events, which is always so nice. I look forward to continued conversations and collaborations with Asian Studies and the Carolina Asia Center as I work through my PhD!”

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