Russell Ottalini

BA in Japanese, Sociology with honors, 2013. Certificates in Global Studies and Asian Studies. Boren Scholarship (2011).

Current position: Japanese Product Classification Analyst, HCL America Inc. onsite at Google Pittsburgh since 2016.

Path in Japanese: CIEE Tokyo; Arts and Sciences, Sophia University, Tokyo.

How did you major prepare you for the current position?

The Japanese major not only gave me a solid linguistic foundation, but also made me feel confident operating in the language. The linguistic fluency I developed through the program served as a springboard for my career, and has given me access to unique opportunities I wouldn’t have had without a strong language background. As a product classification analyst working with merchandise sold by Japanese retailers online, my job necessitates a strong understanding of written Japanese and cultural nuances.



Sanaa Ahmed

BA in Pyschology, Minor in Japanese, Chemistry, and Sociology, 2015. Undergraduate Certificate in Asian Studies.

Current position: Employee at Central Glass Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan, focusing on supply chain management activities

Path in Japanese: Junior summer study at CIEE Tokyo, Internship at Central Glass in fifth year, post-graduation employment at Central Glass


How did Japanese prepare you for your current position?
I started studying Japanese at Pitt after gaining an interest in anime and manga in middle school. Pitt's Japanese program has a rigorous focus on studying Japanese grammar and speaking Japanese, and after spending so much time studying Japanese, I was motivated to study abroad and improve my Japanese skills. Dissatisfied with my abilities after studying abroad, I searched for and found the opportunity to intern at Central Glass in Japan, where I was able to learn and apply my Japanese skills further. I liked Central Glass so much I decided to work there after graduation, and now I spend every day in Japan studying Japanese and enjoying the challenge of working in a Japanese company.



Jason Ng

MA in East Asian Studies, 2013

Post-graduation: Research Consultant, China Digital Times; Data Analyst, Tumblr; Lecturer, Yale University

Current positions: Data Scientist, Spotify; Research Fellow, Citizen Lab, University of Toronto; Lecturer, Columbia University

Path in Chinese: Summer at Tsinghua (Beijing) > post-graduate Google Policy fellowship

How has your post-Pitt career turn out?

My first post-graduate job was working as a research fellow analyzing Chinese Internet censorship, where I continued to utilize the the language, programming, and statistics background I developed during grad school. From that base, I was eventually able to branch out and also do research on technology, "big data," and digital activism, none of which would've been possible without the mentorship and training that I got from EALL and Pitt.

How did EALL and Pitt prepare you for your current position?
I was incredibly fortunate to be afforded the time and resources during my Masters program at Pitt to study Chinese language and politics. My EALL professors were top-notch, and the wonderful administrators within IDMA worked tirelessly with me so I could attend a world-class language program in Beijing. These skills were essential when it came to writing my first book, which required me to read and translate Chinese social media posts.

Check out Jason's book Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (and Why) (New York: The New Press, 2013).