Alumni Profile: Kate Baldanza, Bryn Mawr Class of 2001
East Asian Studies Major
Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies, Pennsylvania State University
When I started college and enrolled in Chinese language classes, I had my doubts about taking on such a challenging language. But each semester that I stuck with it, I became more passionate about Chinese history and culture. A summer language program in Beijing confirmed my desire to pursue an Asia-related career; when I returned, I changed my major in East Asian Studies. My professors at Haverford and Bryn Mawr pushed me to engage deeply with historical materials, question my assumptions, and articulate my ideas more clearly. They offered support and encouragement while challenging me to reach an even higher standard. Thanks to my experiences in college, I spent my first two post-graduate years in China, and then enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the University of Pennsylvania's East Asian Languages and Civilizations program. I am now an Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University. In my teaching at Penn State, I try to follow the example of my Bi-Co professors. I advise students to take advantage of their time in college to learn a language and to take classes that interest them. The critical thinking skills and cultural understanding that results from a liberal arts education are useful in any profession, not just academia.