Jarrett Wiesolek (at left) congratulated UW language student Sydney Farmer on being the first recipient of a Chinese Language Learners Bridge Fund scholarship.
Alums launch language learners fund
When alumni Jarrett Wiesolek (Class of 2011) and Ali Dibble (Class of 2012) met at the Tianjin Nankai language intensive study abroad program in 2009, they did not realize the impact Chinese would have on their career trajectories. And yet, five years later, both were living and working in Shanghai. Understanding the importance of language skills to success in the China market, and wanting to give back to their alma mater, the two recently launched the Chinese Language Learners Bridge Fund (CLLBF) to offer help to Chinese majors and language students. Mr. Wiesolek and Ms. Dibble hope to raise $10,000 to endow the fund, and are well on their way to that goal.
The CLLBF is structured to support both students and the programs that foster their language training. That means 70% of contributions to the fund are dedicated to student scholarships, with the remaining 30% earmarked for continued development of the UW-Madison's Chinese program.
And CLLBF is already benefiting students. In May, Mr. Wiesolek presented the first scholarship award, $250 given to Sydney Farmer.
"Regardless of when the endowment is ready, we are committed to providing at least a $250 scholarship each spring to Chinese language learners," said Mr. Wiesolek.
For more information about CLLBF (the application process is set to open in March for awarding a spring scholarship), contact them at this email address: email@example.com
Ms. Farmer, who heads soon to Beijing's Qinghua University for further study, talked recently with Ms. Dibble about her learning Chinese and how she will use her CLLBF award:
Q. What is your favorite city in China?
A. My favorite city that I have been to in China is Yantai. I got to eat a lot of 海参 there and they are one of my favorite foods.
Q. What was your most noteworthy Chinese conversation lately? A. Ordering a bubble tea at Kung Fu Tea on State Street. I was with my mom and I wanted to show her that my Chinese is improving, so I said my entire complicated order in Chinese.
Q. How did you feel when you won the CLLBF award?
A. I was really happy when I found out I’d won the award, and grateful to receive it. I have worked very hard this past year and really have made Chinese a priority, so it was great to be able to receive this award after all my hard work.
Q. What do you plan to do with the scholarship funds?
A. I plan to use the funds to help me get my student visa to study in China, as it is an expensive and complicated process which will require a trip to Chicago.
Click here to donate to the Chinese Language Learners Bridge Fund.