Our Team

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


Extension: 801-422-9189


Dr. Matthew Christensen, PI & Flagship Center Director

Rita E. Cortez, Managing Director, M.P.A

Student Staff:

Oscar Cordon, Student Assistant

Edward Yuan, Student Assistant

Flagship Program Teaching Faculty/Staff:

Ms. Yili Zhang, Flagship Instructor, M.A.

Dr. Hui-Ju, Rachel, Chuang, Ph.D. Lead Flagship Instructor

Nanjing Center:

Ms. Zhang Qin, Director, M.A.

Mr.Mace Blank, Coordinator​


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

Flagship Program Teaching Faculty/Staff

Yili Zhang

Yili Zhang was born and raised in Zhejiang, China. She received her first MA degree in TCFL from Fudan University and second one in Teaching Chinese at College Level from Brandeis University. She started teaching Chinese in 2012 and joined Brigham Young University in 2016. She has taught Chinese in all levels, including Business Chinese and Chinese Debate course. Her research interests are in Teaching Chinese for Specific Purposes, Second Language Acquisition. ​

Office: 3122 G   JKB



Dr. Hui-Ju, Rachel, Chuang, Ph.D.

Lead Flagship Instructor

Dr. Hui-Ju Chuang was born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She received her Ph.D. in Chinese Language & Linguistics from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and her M.A. in Linguistics from National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan. She taught Chinese language at all levels since 2010 and join join BYU in 2018. Her research interests lie in Applied Chinese Linguistics in Chinese Language Teaching and Learning, Cognitive Linguistics, Chinese Heritage Language, Blended Learning, Corpus Linguistics and Taiwan Southern Min. She is currently working on a research project in Applied Cognitive Linguistics to teach Chinese spatial terms. She is thrilled to be on board at BYU Chinese Flagship Center and look forward to working with everyone here.

Office: 3122 K   JKB