About

Minxin Pei, Ph.D.

Thanks to a generous gift from Robert Y.C. Ho ’81, the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College launched an International Journalism Lab in the fall of 2015. The Asia Experts Forum is the web publication of the lab. The mission of this innovative project is to train student journalists in basic reporting and interviewing skills and provide a better understanding of important contemporary Asia-related geopolitical, economic, and cultural issues in depth through interviews with leading experts, practitioners, and scholars on Asia. Each year the lab recruits eight student journalists who take a course in international journalism and work with two faculty advisers in identifying newsworthy topics and potential interviewees, preparing for the interviews, and producing high-quality transcripts. The faculty director of the lab is Professor Minxin Pei. The associate faculty director is Professor Hilary Appel. The instructor of the international journalism course is Terril Jones, a graduate of Pomona College with more than three decades of professional experience with leading U.S. news organizations. Two previous student journalists participating in the lab later interned at the Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong in the summer of 2016.

Student Journalists

​Aleena Ali '17 is a senior majoring in Government and Economics. She is a Fellow in Asian Business and Economics. Aleena's academic and research interests include public and urban economics, inclusive growth in emerging markets, and democratic deepening in post-authoritarian states. She has interned at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C., the East-West Center in Honolulu, and the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives in Lahore, Pakistan. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting exhibitions and boutiques in Los Angeles, running, and indulging in superfoods. She was born and raised in Pakistan, and aspires to enter policymaking and politics in Pakistan. 

Anna Balderston '18 is a sophomore Economics-Accounting major at Claremont McKenna College. She is interested in world financial markets, business, and U.S.-Asia relations. She has written about domestic and international politics, and likes analyzing different political economies in her writing. Some of her perspectives come from her experiences working and traveling abroad in places such as India, Greece, France and South Africa. She hopes to work abroad in the future.

Alexandra Cheng '18 is an International Relations-Film Studies dual major. She is a Singaporean-born Hong Kong-raised aspiring filmmaker with an insatiable wanderlust. She is particularly interested in how films depict and engage with various theories of international relations. Her interests include creative writing, eating and baking, dancing, visual arts, and watching movies. One day, she will run her own patisserie and/or chocolatier.

Seoyoon Choi '19 is a junior majoring in International Relations and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Seoyoon was born and raised in South Korea but also lived in Maryland during her middle school years. On campus, Seoyoon is a consultant at the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, director for the College Programming Board, and Media Technology Assistant. Seoyoon’s research interests include democratization, influence of domestic factors on foreign policy decisions, military law, and legal and political implications of war crimes.

Kimaya de Silva '17 is a third-year from Colombo, Sri Lanka, double majoring in Anthropology and Psychology. As an international journalism fellow, her area of focus is culture in Asia. In her spare time she enjoys dabbling in dance, theatre and music. Last summer she worked as an intern at the Center for Poverty Analysis, an independent think tank promoting a better understanding of poverty-related development issues based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Michael Grouskay '17 is a senior studying international relations with a focus on security studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, but he has also worked in Washington DC and New York City. Michael is one of Claremont McKenna's Athenaeum Fellows, a member of the CMC Model UN team, and the president of the Claremont International Relations Society. During the fall of his junior year, Michael studied abroad in Amman, Jordan, where he took courses on local language, politics, and culture. Michael is currently working as an international journalism fellow with the Keck Center's Asia Expert Forum, where he focuses on US-China relations. 

Jenifer Hanki '20 is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College dual majoring in International Relations and Art. She is currently a member of the CMC Model U.N. Travel Team, the Publisher for Claremont Radius, and an assistant at the Kravis Leadership Institute. She is interested in U.S.-Asia relations, often spending her summers in Japan for internships as well as visiting family. She has a particular interest in business and entrepreneurship and hopes to start her venture during college. Her hobbies include graphic design, ceramic sculpture, dance, and photography.

Tobin Hansen '20 is an Economics and International Relations major from the Seattle area. He is excited to explore trends in Asian economics and business this year as an Asia Experts Forum Journalism Fellow. Outside of studying international economics, he enjoys playing tennis and participating in the CMC Model UN team. Tobin spent last summer in Washington D.C. interning for the House of Representatives, and hopes to return to D.C. to continue learning about public policy, economics, and foreign affairs.

Glenys Kirana '16 is a senior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in International Relations and Econ-Accounting. Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, she is drawn to writing about regional development in Asia, specifically on economic and political issues in Southeast Asia. In past summers, she's worked at various financial organizations like UBS and Ernst & Young. More recently, she worked at BNP Paribas Singapore as an equity research summer associate.

Gayle Lee '20 is a sophomore from Seoul, South Korea. She’s currently majoring in Philosophy with a CS sequence. Gayle has been passionate about journalism ever since founding a controversial journalism during high school devoted to start debates on on-campus issues. When not reading NYT or Bloomington to come up with ideas for Keck, Gayle can be found running the treadmill while thinking about ethics, napping, or going to one of her jobs on three different campuses.

Bryn Miller '19 is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna from Sudbury, Massachusetts. She still doesn't know what she will major in, but can say with confidence that it will not be science or math. Her interest in international affairs and foreign languages solidified when she spent a year between high school and college learning Arabic and teaching English in Marrakesh, Morocco. She returned to Morocco last summer to intern with Morocco World News, an English news outlet in the capital. At CMC, Bryn has deepened her interest in journalism and public policy through her research jobs. In her free time, you can find her at the Scripps pool or exploring the great hiking on the West Coast.

Shivani Pandya '18 is a sophomore from Sugar Land, Texas, pursuing a dual-major in Government and History. Her interest in government and public policy grew significantly after interning for a mayoral re-election campaign. In her free time, Shivani enjoys watching her beloved Packers win, reading books about World War II, and watching anything created by Joss Whedon. Shivani spent last summer in her hometown, working at the oil and gas technology company Nalco Champion as a Strategic Growth Intern.

Tiana Steverson Pugh ‘19 is a junior from Portland, Oregon, pursuing a major in International Relations. Her academic and research interests include human rights, journalism, and East and Southeast Asia. During the summer of 2016, she interned at Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. In the spring of her sophomore year, she studied abroad in Osaka, Japan, where she took Japanese language courses and conducted research on smoking in Japan. This past summer,
she was selected to participate in the Charles B. Rangel Summer Enrichment Program in Washington D.C. in which she engaged with professionals in the foreign affairs community and took courses on policymaking and the history of U.S. foreign policy. When she finds the time, she enjoys playing music (classical piano and jazz saxophone),  watching X-Files reruns, and drawing.

Erica Rawles '17 is from Los Angeles and is pursuing a dual major in art and philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. As an International Journalism Fellow, she focuses on culture in Asia. This past summer, she worked as a journalism intern for The Borgen Project, a national campaign that fights global poverty. She also interned at 826LA, a nonprofit that supports students in writing. On campus, Erica continues to expand her interest in writing by working as a consultant at the Center for Writing and Public Discourse. She also loves to read, play music, travel to new places, and spend time outdoors.

Andrew Sheets '17 is a junior from Los Angeles majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Claremont McKenna College.  His work with Code For Humanity, a CMC-started nonprofit teaching website creation in Madagascar has inspired his interest in international development.  His journalistic work focuses on politics and economics in Asia and Africa and merges his love of development, politics, and economics.  When he isn’t busy coding or writing he enjoys rock climbing and making music.

Chuyi Sheng '17 is a senior from Shanghai, China. Dual-majoring in Economics and Government, she is especially interested in developed economics and China-Russia relations. This past summer, she worked as a research assistant and contributed to various papers on Chinese economy. With her background and education, she aspires to work for international organizations such as the United Nations. In her free time, she loves science fiction and the British TV show "Doctor Who" is her favorite. 

William Zheyuan Shi ’20 is a sophomore, hopefully pursuing a major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). He is interested in a variety of topics and still exploring the field he’s most passionate about. On campus, he is a member of the Claremont Colleges Debate Union, a staff writer of the Claremont Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a research assistant to Professor Jennifer Taw. As an international journalism fellow for the Asia Expert Forum of the Keck Center, he focuses on U.S.-Asia relations.

Isabella Speciale '17 is a junior from Singapore, dual-majoring in Government and Religious Studies. She first became interested in the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and religious studies during her time at Singapore American School, and decided to pursue those interests further at CMC. Isabella also enjoys her time at CMC by interning at the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. In her free time, Isabella most enjoys traveling with her family.

Julie Tran '20 is a sophomore from San Diego, California. She is currently a Government and Literature dual major, and she is passionate about journalism because of its compelling ability to inform, educate, and persuade. She began her journalism career as a news writer with The Student Life, and became fascinated with the journalist's mission to tell stories. On any given day, Julie can be found working at KLI, revising essays at the CWPD, reading the New York Times, and/or eating oatmeal raisin cookies.  senior majoring in Government and Economics. She is a Fellow in Asian Business and Economics.

Caroline Willian '17 is a Senior from Short Hills, New Jersey. She will graduate this Spring with a major in Economics and Government. Her academic interests include economic development and the social change. In her spare time Caroline can be found running and competing with the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Cross Country and Track teams.

Aaron Yang '17 is a senior from Chandler, Arizona pursuing an International Relations major with a focus on East Asia. Studying abroad in Taiwan and China as a Boren Scholar inspired an interest in politics and civil development within the region. Aaron also interned previously at the National Defense University and seeks to enter public service after graduation. He is always down for a cup of milk tea or a night watching Game of Thrones.

​Yujia Yao '19 is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Economics-Accounting with a sequence in Finance. She starts her day with Bloomberg markets analysis and watermelon. She focuses on business and finance in East Asia with a special interest in the market’s influence on cultures. Born and raised in Beijing, she’s also delighted with the beautiful beaches and warm sunshine California offers.

Marcia Yang '18 is a senior from Los Angeles studying Philosophy and Public Affairs with a focus on East Asian philosophy and politics. As an International Journalism fellow, her area of focus is business in Asia. On campus, she is also a Mgrublian Fellow for a project on human rights violations in China, a Keck Fellow for a project on Japanese political economy and growth, a Media Technology Assistant, a Research Assistant, and the head mentor of the Asian Pacific American Mentors. 

Christina Yoh '18 is a sophomore at CMC, dual-majoring in International Relations and Media Studies. With this major, she aspires to be a news producer of CNN or of political talk shows such as The Daily Show. Though born in Seoul, South Korea, she calls the sunny tropics of Singapore her home. Christina can be found riding her Penny board, writing articles for the Forum, dancing with the Reverb dance team or working as a Media Tech Assistant around campus. Her passions include eating food, dreaming of pugs, dancing, organizing, reading and watching movies.

Web Team

Harrison Beard '19 is an Economics & Engineering major who has been proudly serving as the webmaster for Asia Experts Forum since its inception in 2015, with deep-seated interests in the Asian economy, development economics, and international finance. Harrison is looking forward to taking coursework at the American Enterprise Institute and serving as a credit analyst the hedge fund Marshall Wace this upcoming summer. Over the past summer, he conducted economic and real estate research in Mongolia and Myanmar. On campus, he is an Arthur Adams research fellow for international political economy, a research assistant for the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, and a research analyst at the Lowe Institute of Political Economy. In his free time, Harry enjoys traveling, drinking boba, and reading the works of great economists like Daron Acemoglu and Bob Shiller.

Ryan Chakmak '19 is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College working toward a career in either mathematical or economic research. He is dual majoring in Economics and Mathematics with a Computer Science Sequence. As Technology and Student Affairs Committee Chair and as a teaching assistant, he has experience leading and guiding others. As a data analyst for the Lowe Institute of Political Economy, he is familiar with the research process.

Image Source: "Photo of Claremont McKenna College professor Minxin Pei" by Minxin Pei — Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons — https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c4/MPEI_Headshot.jpg/1200px-MPEI_Headshot.jpg
Share this: