Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad


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Light Fellowship Staff

Mya Fisher, Director of Richard U. Light Fellowship 

Mya is responsible for leading the administration and management of the Richard U. Light Fellowship. As a woman of color who has greatly benefited from international experiences and opportunities in East Asia, her 20-year career illustrates a passion and commitment to equity and inclusion, particularly as a leader in international program management, educational exchange, and cross-cultural training for U.S.-Japan relations. Although she began studying Japanese in high school, it wasn’t until grad school that she returned to complete her language training. She is keenly aware of the commitment and perseverance required to learn a foreign language, and is excited to support students who choose to do so intensively in-country. She is passionate about international exchange and brings extensive experience studying and working in Japan notably as founding administrator of the Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship, and alum of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language studies (IUC). She is an enthusiastic supporter of next-generation leadership development. Encouraging students to embrace their leadership potential, pursue interests in international opportunities, and discover their place and purpose in the world motivates and inspires her every day. Mya holds degrees from Williams College (B.A. Psychology and Sociology), New York University (M.A., International Education) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.S. and PhD, Sociology). In her free time, she enjoys watching movies in the theater, spoiling her two pet guinea pigs, listening to audiobooks, traveling, practicing yoga and doing Zumba.

Kripa Bhagat, Senior Associate Director of Richard U. Light Fellowship 

Kripa helps manage and advise on the Richard U. Light Fellowship’s portfolio of China and Korea programs. Growing up in a multilingual (Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, English) environment, Kripa learned the importance of cross-cultural communication at a young age and started her journey as a linguist with the formal study of Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. She participated in STARTALK summer Chinese language immersion programs as a high school student and is also a proud alumna of the Middlebury- C.V. Starr school in Beijing. She is passionate about helping students meet their linguistic goals and has demonstrated this commitment as an Education Ambassador for the Ameson Year in China program in Yiwu, Zhejiang, China,  as a Spanish language residential advisor and administrator at Middlebury-affiliated youth summer programs, and as Resident Director for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Program (NSLI-Y) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She loves learning from her students and seeing how they apply their linguistic skills to their areas of interests! Kripa holds an M.A. in Chinese Linguistics from the University of Hawai’i- Manoa and a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Barnard College. In her free time, Kripa enjoys dancing, swimming, arts and crafts, and trying new recipes.

Julia Bakes, Administrative Assistant of Richard U. Light Fellowship

Julia supports the technical and administrative aspects of the Richard U. Light Fellowship. Having spent a significant portion of her early life traveling overseas, Julia identifies greatly with the core values of the Light Fellowship’s mission. She spent seven years as a child living on a sailboat in the Caribbean and South America and is a big believer in the profound importance and value of cultural exchange. She is extraordinarily pleased to assist in facilitating international study experiences for students with the Fellowships team. Julia spent a number of years studying Japanese, several of them at Yale as part of a high school program. While much of it has vanished over the years, she is always looking for an opportunity to practice. When she’s not poring over Excel sheets in room 309B, she’s often home agonizing over some writing or wrangling her two overly energetic and personable dogs. She also commits her free time to a local bookstore she helps run as part of a collective with some of her close friends.

Light Fellowship Executive Committee

Hwansoo Kim, Chair (Bio) - Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Chair, Council on East Asian Studies

Luke Bender - Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures; Director of Undergraduate Studies
East Asian Languages and Literatures

Seungja Choi - Senior Lector, Korean
East Asian Languages & Literatures

Jane Edwards - Senior Associate Dean
Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE)

Rongzhen Li - Senior Lector, Chinese
East Asian Languages & Literatures

Richard Sosa - Program Director
Council on East Asian Studies

Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl - Director
Center for Language Study

Rebekah Westphal - Director of Fellowship Programs
Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE)

Mika Yamaguchi - Senior Lector, Japanese
East Asian Languages & Literatures