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Chinese Flagship Program: Brigham Young University 3122 JKB. Provo, UT 84602



Dr. Matthew Christensen, PI & Flagship Center Director

Rita E. Cortez, Managing Director

Student Staff:

Tiffany Pao, Office Assistant

Flagship Program Teaching Faculty/Staff:

Yili Zhang, Flagship Instructor

Dr. Wu Xinyi, Lead Flagship Instructor

Nanjing Center:

Zhang Qin, Director

Kamla Tung, Coordinator

Startalk Staff:

Dr, Steve Riep, PI

Ray Barton

Anna Woods


Dr. Matthew Christensen

PI & Flagship Center Director

Dr. Christensen earned his Ph.D. in 1994 in the field of Chinese linguistics from Ohio State University. He is a professor of Chinese in the Asian and Near Eastern Languages Department. His research interests include Chinese language pedagogy, teacher training, materials development, discourse analysis, and Chinese poetry.

Office: 3081 JFSB

E-mail: matthew_christensen@byu.edu

Extension: 801-422-5303

Rita E. Cortez

Managing Director

Rita has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas-San Antonio. She has over 20 years experience in high level management most of which involved overseeing federally funded grant projects. She is originally from Texas, is married and has 3 children. She came to BYU in 2009 and loves reading, cultural arts and music.

Office: 3122E JKB

E-mail: rita_cortez@byu.edu

Extension: 801-422-2200


Extension: 801-422-9189


Flagship Program Teaching Faculty/Staff

Xinyi Wu

Dr. Xinyi Wu was born and raised in Nanjing, China. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her research interests include cultural foundations of education, educational policy and practice, critical discourse analysis, curriculum development, and language assessment. She is particularly interested in the issues of ethnicity, ethnic identity, educational inequality, cultural reproduction and production in education, and academic engagement and performance. Prior to joining the BYU Flagship team, she has taught Chinese in the Confucius Institute at Minnesota, Defense Language Institute at Monterey, California, and in the Asian and Near Eastern Language Department at BYU. She also worked as a language proficiency test assessor as well as a Chinese intensive course developer and immersion specialist. She is happy to return to BYU and prepare Flagship students to be culturally and linguistically competent before their pursuit of China-related careers in the future. She enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, biking, and cooking.

Office: 3122K JKB

E-mail: xinyi_wu@byu.edu



Yili Zhang

Yili  Zhang earned her first M.A. in Chinese as a Second Language from Fudan University. She received her second M.A. in Teaching Chinese at College Level from Brandeis University, Boston. Prior to coming to Brigham Young University, she taught at Brandies University, Fudan University as well as Cox Mill Elementary School, Concord. Courses she has taught include all levels of Modern Chinese, Business Chinese, debate class. Her research interests include second language assessment, curriculum design, second language acquisition and teaching Chinese for special purposes. ​

Office: 3122C JKB

E-mail: yili_zhang@byu.edu