Staff Spotlight: Yan Ma

Yan Ma is a visiting professor in the Confucius Institute, a unit of the Office of Global Engagement, a position in which she builds cross-cultural connections with university students and community members through her creativity and dedication to her students.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Before I came to NC State, I was an instructor of International Economics from the School of International Business Communications at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics. I was once a visiting scholar at Meredith College in the spring semester of 2013, where I taught Chinese language and culture and became interested in further development of sharing cross-cultural communications.

How long have you been with NC State and the Office of Global Engagement?

I have been a visiting professor and working at Confucius Institute at NC State since September 2016.

Tell us what you do in a few sentences.

I had been program lead on the Chinese Proficiency Tests (HSK and YCT) and CI/Hanban Scholarship. Within the past two years, I had increased the Chinese Proficiency Tests to over 150 participants each year. With my help, five students have been granted Hanban scholarships and are currently studying Chinese language and culture in China. This summer I managed the CI summer camp and enjoyed working with 18 local kids to explore Chinese traditional culture. Since the beginning of this semester, I have been responsible for community outreach and have helped organize all the CI cultural events.

What’s your favorite thing about your work?

Being a program lead gives me the chance to bring out my creative side and make commitment to provide a unique opportunity for students to engage with new aspects of Chinese culture. I’ve also learned a lot about American culture from my students. My favorite thing about my work is that the two-way communication makes this amazing cultural exchange happen.

Tell us one thing we might be surprised to learn about you.

I’ve also been teaching Chinese Calligraphy and brush painting at the Crafts center, the culture resource room at McKimmon Center and IMURJ in downtown Raleigh. I’ve been amazed by my calligraphy and painting class students and touched deeply by their talents and understanding of Chinese traditional arts.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like going to the parks and take walks on the greenway. I and my son have participated in all kinds of cultural events and local community activities and we have fun every time.

What’s one thing on your desk you brought from home?

I have a coffee cup from home on my desk because we have a coffee machine at the office. Now I also love a cup of hot coffee every morning.

What’s your favorite travel destination?

I am a postcard collector. I have been teaching both Chinese students and international students Economics and languages for more than twenty years. My students are from all over the world and they are living in different countries now, such as the United States, Canada, UK, France, Russia, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Laos, and South Africa. I want to go travel in every country I mentioned above to enjoy the scenery in person that I once saw on the postcards mailed to me by my students.