Student Bios - 2011

Advanced Students

Spencer Bowen

Majoring in Chemical Engineering Spencer has lived in 8 states in the western/midwestern US. He is studying engineering and plans on working for an American chemical company and being a liaison of sorts with the Chinese side of the business.

Brandon Christensen

Majoring in International Relations and Chinese. Brandon hopes to pursue a career in government. He says the BYU Flagship Program offers valuable experience and credentials that will make his career goals possible.

Joe Gabriel

Majoring in Asian Studies Joe found his niche as the Asian Studies major. He has studied Chinese from 101 to 302, all here at BYU. He plans on using his internship experience during the capstone year as a stepping stone towards graduate school. Joe’s overall goal is to work in the field of international diplomacy.

Erick Garcia

Erick Garcia grew up in Connecticut in a Spanish speaking home. He was born in Honduras but calls New York City area his home. He learned Chinese on his mission to Texas and by spending most of 2008 in Sichuan Province, China. He loves running, fitness, computers, gadgets, and all kinds of foreign food. Majoring in Political Science, with a Chinese minor, Erick hopes to develop a career in diplomacy or business in China.

Jessica Hawkes

Jessica joined Chinese Flagship for the opportunity to integrate her chinese into her passion of personal training. She wants to be a personal life trainer and help companies in China set up programs for their employees.

Jaren Knighton

From Pocatello, ID. Junior Majoring in Business and Chinese. Jaren is a Junior from Gilbert, AZ. He plans to use the skills he learns in the Flagship program to work for an engineering firm in China to design and oversee the building of sky scrapers and bridges.

Michael Mitchell

Michael has a deep connection with the Chinese culture because his mother is from Taiwan. He is interested in working for the U.S. government abroad, and feels Flagship provides a real-life experience living in China.

Scott Ruoti

From Salt Lake City, UT. Majoring in Chinese and Computer Science. Minoring in Math I want to increase my ability to speak Chinese in a business field, especially in the areas of Computer Science. I also hope to begin networking so that I can later seek employment in a Chinese company doing computer science research. Focus: Computer Science

Spencer Stewart

From Sandy, UT. Majoring in Asian Studies and Chinese. Spencer Stewart is from Sandy, UT. He currently majoring in Asian Studies and Chinese. He is interested in history and likes to read. He enjoys playing sports, bowling, ping pong and soccer.

Ric Stubbs

Ric is using his experience with Flagship to learn about the Chinese legal system, how to interact with it and within it, and how international law applies to China. He wants to get into international law or work for a NPO that deals with China's domestic or international issues.

Matt Wise

From Orem, UT. Matt Wise has always been interested in other cultures and languages. He says the Flagship experience is helping him understand and function in Chinese culture. He plans to work as a strategy consultant helping businesses in China.


Pre-Advanced Students

Shane Gallagher

From Joplin, Missouri. Shane is from Joplin, Missouri. He is using Flagship set himself apart from the competition and enhancing his opportunity to have a career in China. He and his wife, Alisha, spent last summer in Taiwan learning more Chinese and traveling. His secret talent is making balloon animals.

Benjamin Trueman

Ben has lived in California, Oregon and Canada. Ben joined the Flagship program because it fits perfectly with his professional and career goals. He feels like it will give him the edge he needs to succeed in the international business world. He also loves the Chinese language and the people. He feels the Flagship program helps him build the fluency and cultural understanding he desires. He plans to get and MBA following his Flagship experience.

Eric Hansen

I am a junior majoring in Chinese and minoring in business. Upon completion of my undergraduate studies I plan to attend law school. Professionally I hope to practice law in an area that will allow me to utilize my language skills and interact with China. I enjoy spending my free time outdoors rock climbing and hiking.

Sean Swenson

Sean Swenson is a junior studying finance and Mandarin. Raised in a home where International business was present, he grew up traveling to much of the world gaining an affinity towards Asian Countries. He plans to one day go to China work as a hedge fund recruiter. Sean loves Chinese culture, especially Chinese history. Sean loves to spend time outdoors.