Our International Spotlight features focus not only on those who came here from abroad, but also on American students who devoted a significant part of their time to intercultural activities while enrolled here at the University of Iowa, as well as faculty and staff who support internationalization at Iowa.
Xingyu “Star” Shen, a sophomore psychology and communication studies major, enjoyed serving as commentator for galas and events at his high school in Jiaxing, China. During his first year at the University of Iowa, he was able to put those skills to use.
Shen led an effort in May 2014 to broadcast the Tippie College of Business commencement ceremony over the internet with live Chinese commentary, provided by Shen and three UI employees. Thanks to Shen’s vision, parents of Chinese business students were able to watch their children walk across the stage and receive their diplomas from thousands of miles away.
“It was a good opportunity for those parents of students in China who couldn’t come to the University of Iowa in person,” Shen explained. “It provided them a platform to watch and see what the U.S. would be like.”
More than 100 Chinese students graduated from the Tippie College of Business in May, and the college’s total student population is more than 18% international.
In addition to translating announcements from English to Chinese during the broadcast, the team filled the program with noteworthy facts about the College of Business, the University of Iowa, and Iowa in general.
With the success of the spring program, preparations are in place to stream two of this Saturday’s commencement ceremonies in Chinese.
Star Shen, a UI sophomore, provides commentary during a special Chinese broadcast of the UI commencement.
The undergraduate commencement, which includes students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Tippie College of Business, University College, and the B.S. degree candidates in the Carver College of Medicine, streams live at 9 a.m. CST on Saturday, December 20. The College of Engineering commencement will stream at noon. In total, around 120 of these graduates are from China.
Those who are unable to tune in for the live Chinese broadcast can catch the programs at a later date on YouTube or Youku.
Joining Shen on Saturday in the studio will be Weiyu Xu, assistant professor in the College of Engineering; Yiming Qian, associate professor in the Tippie College of Business; Ying Xu, assistant director for UI Admissions; and Suyun Ma, Global External Relations Coordinator for International Programs.
Ma, who also worked on the spring broadcast, says the UI is very fortunate to have Shen in this project.
“I think Star is passionate about communicating with targeted international audiences, and has a keen vision and demonstrated expertise in global communications. Also, he is hard-working and easy to work with,” Ma said.
The UI hopes to broadcast graduation ceremonies in multiple languages in the future.