Baylor Students Master the Japanese Language in Regional Contest

March 11, 2015

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (March 11, 2015) – Three Baylor students of the Japanese language have placed in the top five at the Dallas regionals of the 2015 Texas State Japanese Speech Contest.

Miki Wang (first place) is along with Jeffery Zhang (second place) and Grant Siluangkhot (fourth place) represented Baylor at the regional competition. Wang and Zhang will move on to compete Saturday, March 7, at the Texas State Japanese Speech Contest sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston at Rice University.

“I believe languages allow you to connect with someone on a more personal level. Initially, I only chose Japanese because I thought it was a very special language that would make me unique,” said senior Miki Wang.

“However, along the way, I learned that studying Japanese has helped me create new relationships with different people and really helped me instill more confidence in myself. I plan on using the languages I learn to help bridge gaps between different cultures in the future.”

To select Baylor participants, Yuko Prefume, senior lecturer in the division of Asian and African languages in the department of modern foreign languages in the College of Arts & Sciences approaches competent students, usually in upper-level courses, whom she feels would excel in the competition.

“Students have one-on-one intensive practices with a professor outside of class; therefore, their language skills improve greatly. They experience joy of expressing their own thoughts and ideas at higher levels,” Prefume said.

The contest itself consists of six divisions, ranging from Level One high school poetry recitation to Level Six College free speech.

For the college free speech division, the students wrote and memorized three-minute speeches in Japanese. They were prompted to think about their topics last semester and started to write the speeches in January. After revisions, they could memorize the speech.

“This might sound cheesy, but this whole speech contest really has been about the journey and not the end goal. Yes, it would be great to win, but having the support of amazing professors and friends really makes everything worthwhile,” Wang said.

Wang said she hopes to infuse her passions of science and Japanese into future aspirations of aiding the victims of the Dengue Fever outbreak in Tokyo, Japan.

For more information, contact Yuko Prefume

by Sarah Czerwinski, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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