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Posts Tagged ‘DePaul University’

Attending Ascend Midwest Student Leadership Conference (AMSLC)

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Ascend Midwest Student Leadership Conference in Chicago

Ascend Midwest Student Leadership Conference in Chicago

Last Friday, I attended the AMSLC in Chicago as a speaker, along with Wesley Hom and Gregg Oshita. I was quite impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement demonstrated by the students from several chapter universities in the Midwest area, including NIU, DePaul, LUC, Ohio State, Indiana U, U of I at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue.

Ascend is a national non-profit organization that empowers Asian professionals and students to develop their leadership potentials in corporate America. I got to know Ascend last year when they held its national conference in Chicago and I was invited to talk at a panel. I was immediately impressed by the efficiency of the organization running the well-attended conference and the quality of the panels and speeches that I attended. Ascend 1

Topics covered in our talks this year are focused on career advancement, namely how to overcome the “good Asian” stereotypes to be effective in communication, building network, finding mentor and sponsor, and exploring/realizing their potentials by stepping out of the comfort zone. These students are certainly taking the initiatives toward the right direction by joining an organization like Ascend and investing their time and efforts to learn and network. Shortly after the conference, I was pleasantly surprised by a few emails from the students, among them, several even requested for LinkedIn connections. They are certainly put what they’ve learned right into practice. Since I have two names, one student couldn’t locate me on LinkedIn, so she went to my book website and sent me an email from there.

Me with Wenxue Qu, a student

Me with Wenxue Qu, a student

She wrote: “I believe your experience inspired many of us. I really want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us.” Another wrote: “I was very moved by the panel discussion and thank you very much for all the advice.” Another wrote: “It was nice talking to you at the Ascend event. Thank you so much for sharing your own stories and experience with us.” Actually there are a few students who didn’t belong to any of these universities where there is an Ascend chapter. They learned about the event and took the extra step to attend the conference. So glad to see their eagerness and enthusiasm. Go Ascend, and best wishes for all the students.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary movie by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit for more information.

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Happy International Women’s Day

Friday, March 8th, 2013
Alison Cuddy

Alison Cuddy

What’s more appropriate for the celebration of International Women’s Day than a Women’s Network event? That was DePaul University organized yesterday at the main campus in Lincoln Park.

The annual event aims at connecting women in their efforts “navigating personal paths and mapping professional growth.” It went from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a keynote speech by Alison Cuddy from NPR Chicago and a numbers of panels, given and attended by women, accompanied with a very healthy and delicious lunch.

Panelists at the Women's Wellness panel

Panelists at the Women’s Wellness panel

Most of the attendees of the event were DePaul faculty, staff and students. I’ve been a part-time faculty member at DePaul for a year and have attended several events at the university. This women’s network event was well organized and attended. Panel topics included emotional intelligence in the workplace, motherhood roundtable discussions, understanding the power in owning your success and women’s wellness.

I was glad to be there, having the opportunity to chat Alison Cuddy, listening to the successes and challenges of other women, and networking with them. I found the event informative and inspiring. I want to solute to those who put their time and efforts to put it together.

We need more activities like this to empower women. Happy International Women’s Day!

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset.

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Chinese New Year celebration at DePaul University

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

IMG_0606The Year of the Snake rang in with a big celebration at the main campus of DePaul University in Lincoln Park. From lion dance, songs, to games and raffle drawings,  a variety of festival activities cheered over 600 students, faculty, and participants from the local community, accompanied with a feast of Chinese food.

I was quite impressed by the turnout and the enthusiasm at the celebration. Among the majority of Asians sitting at the large round tables, each decorated with a hand-made paper money which symbolizes good fortune, were many Westerners and people from other ethnic backgrounds. The Chinese New Year celebration became a cross-cultural get together that enhanced interaction and connection among people without borders.

Snake is the 6th animal in the Chinese zodiac of 12. It meant this year, starting on Feb. 10, is a year of stability and progress, with attention to details. Snake is regarded as enigmatic, intuitive and refined.

At Chinese New Year Gala with my cousin Xiang.

At Chinese New Year Gala with my cousin Xiang.

The celebration of the Chinese New Year at DePaul was hosted by the University’s Chinese Studies Program and International Students Organization. Li Jin, professor and director of the Chinese language program, delivered a welcome statement that captured the spirit of the evening. The performances given by the students and some local community groups were amateur but fun. I particularly enjoyed the dance Peacock on the Tibetan Plateau and Dance of Flying Colors by the Huamulan Dance Troupe.

It was also fun to run into a few friends and watch one of a friend’s son, Aaron, work and perform on stage.

I’d like to thank and congratulate all the people and departments involved in putting together this well attended event. A friend, who was here last year, enjoyed it so much that she came again with her husband and son. Hope it will continue in the years to come.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset.


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A national day of programming on China

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Steve Orlins, President of NCUSCR

The National Committee on US China Relations (NCUSCR) held its 6th CHINA Town Hall, a national day of programming on China, with 60 venues across the United States on Monday, Oct. 29. Ambassador Gary Locke talked to each venue via a live webcast from Beijing, China.

I attended the venue at DePaul University in Chicago, co-hosted by the Chinese Studies Program at DePaul. The featured local speaker was Amy Celico, Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group. Celico is former Director for China Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and was scheduled to give a talk on the challenges and opportunities in America’s economic relationship with China. Hurricane Sandy prevented her from flying out of Washington D.C., and Phillip Stalley, Assistant Professor of the Political Science Department at DePaul University and a member of NCUSCR, gave a talk on China’s environmental challenges instead. Stalley did a wonderful job in recognizing China’s efforts and investments in green energy and pointing out the challenges China faces, due to its “size,” “speed of development,” and “scarcity of resources.”

Steve Orlins, President of NCUSCR, monitored the webcast. He reiterated that “the U.S.-China relations is the defining relationship of the 21st century,” a statement he emphasized at last year’s CHINA Town Hall.

Official portrait of United States Secretary o...

Official portrait of United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ambassador Locke addressed a wide range of issues related to the U.S.-China relations, pointing out the differences and opportunities of cooperation between the two countries.

“We have a shared interest in working together not only for the good of our own people, but the people of the entire Pacific Region, and indeed all the people in the world,” Locke said.

He also emphasized that “the conflicts between an arising power and an establishing power were not inevitable and the U.S. and China must forge our relations based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.”

When addressing the job situation in the U.S., Locke stated that exports from the U.S. to China had increased six folds from 2000, supporting 750,000 jobs in the U.S., while imports from China increased four folds during the same period.

“I found Ambassador Locke’s talk very informative,” Cynthia Martin, a Chicagoan working in public relations, commented.

Stalley said: “Ambassador Locke covered many important issues tonight. He talked about areas where the U.S. and China can cooperate that many people may not know, such as military cooperation, cooperation on climate changes, and joint testing on bio fuels.”

Phillip Stalley talking about China’s Environmental Challenges at CHINA Town Hall, venue at DePaul University

Stalley commented that controversial issues between the U.S. and China usually got a lot of headlines, but in reality, there were many areas of cooperation between the two countries.

The Chicago venue was well attended, and the webcast was open to the public. Other venues included Yale University, Cornell University, and Columbia University. The content of last year’s CHINA Town Hall is available at, including the entire webcast with Dr. Zbingiew Brzezinski and the content of talks given by “China hands” at all the venues (about 50). I believe this year’s CHINA Town Hall will be posted on its website as well.

CHINA Town Hall, organized by NCUSCR, was established to offer “an opportunity to learn about and reflect on critical areas in the U.S.-China relationship with the assistance of leading China experts.”

“Tonight’s event is wonderful,” said Li Jin, Assistant Professor and Director of Chinese Studies Program at DePaul University. “There is a trend of increased interest in China among our students. We’d love to bring the event back next year,” she continued.

Indeed, we need more venues like this to forge understanding and cooperation between the two countries. Nice job.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit for more information.

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Online Research

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

By Jian Ping

I just attended a two-day “Online Research” seminar at the Summer Institute for Teachers that was run by the Chicago Humanity Festival (CHF) at DePaul University’s downtown campus. Attendees were primarily teachers from private and public schools in the greater Chicago area. Since I had been giving talks to students at a number of schools and had attended the summer writing seminar offered by the same institute the year before, I received the invitation from CHF to apply. I did.

Paula Dempsey, Coordinator of Reference Services at DePaul University, was the instructor. She was truly wonderful—clear, patient, knowledgeable, and related to our group’s needs and level very well. With a smile on her face, she made the few approaches she selected to demonstrate for online research comprehensible to those of us who were technically challenged, to say the least. She emphasized using Google as a tool, not a source, distinguished research goals of “speculation and investigation,” and compared the differences and values of “traditional” research vs. digital. She showed us how to use Zotero, a powerful program for online research, how to use +/- to weed out unwanted sites and utilize “scholar” and advanced search to limit searches to site:org or site: gov or filetype:pdf  for more reliable resources. She also showed us how to use Chicago Public Library’s database—wonderfully organized, paid information at our finger tips, only if we know how to get access to them!

I walked away feeling thrilled and empowered. I could hardly wait to get on my computer and use the skills I just learned.  

I want to give my heartfelt thanks to Julia and the staff at CHF for putting together such a productive and well-organized program. And of course, a big applause to Paula, who, with grace and efficiency, showed us the basic tools to untangle the overwhelming information in the cyberspace.  I’m sure many students will benefit from the tools their teachers have learned to use.  

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By Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit or

Talking at DePaul University

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

by Jian Ping

I gave a talk to Dr. Lucy Xing Lu’s Asian Culture and Communication class at DePaul University yesterday. The moment I stepped onto the Lincoln Park Campus, I felt the dynamics and energy unique to university—students rushing to their classes, chatting in groups, or riding their bicycles to get to their destinations. It was an atmosphere of youth and learning.

I barely made it on time to the classroom and started my talk immediately after Dr. Lu’s introduction. I knew the students had just read Confucius’ Analects and the focus of the class was on Asian philosophy, religion, and cultures. I put the emphasis of my talk on Confucian values, especially “filial piety,” using anecdotes from Mulberry Child to illustrate my points. I like the classroom setting and encouraged the students to raise questions at any time. They did—this group of 20 students was very engaging and asked many good questions. I planned to talk for 45 minutes, plus 10 or 15 minutes for questions. But we got into animated discussions and Dr. Lu graciously gave us the time to continue—letting us take over her planned readings on Taoism/Buddhism for the day. We ended up using up the entire period of class, and afterward, a few students stayed behind and continued our conversation. I was quite impressed by their interest and participation.

Of course, being a Chinese parent, I couldn’t help but finish my talk by encouraging them to excel in their studies—“the love of learning” (好学), as Confucius stated in his Analects.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: a Memoir of China.,

Talking to a History Class at DePaul University

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
The Student Center on the Lincoln Park Campus ...
Image via Wikipedia

I had lunch with Professor Ling Arenson before talking to her history class at 1:30 PM yesterday. I filled her in on the content of my presentation, and she informed me that her students had covered the contemporary history of China all the way to the 1990s. I agreed to focus my talk on my personal experiences of growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution and conducting a two-way discussion with the students.

I was impressed that nearly all of the 40 students in her class were seated by the time we got to the classroom. I started my talk after a brief introduction by Professor Arenson. I liked the classroom setting—small enough for me to observe closely the students’ reaction and engagement. The focus and attention they demonstrated encouraged me to move on, spontaneously expanding the details of events. I didn’t realize an hour had passed until Professor Arenson reminded me of the time. I was shocked and embarrassed—I had been carried away in my talk and hadn’t even opened the floor for discussion! Only half an hour left for the class. I quickly wrapped up the talk, but delayed the discussion for another ten minutes—I wanted to read a brief excerpt from the book to give the students an example of a real life experience during the chaotic time.

When so many students raised their hands to ask questions, I regretted not having managed my appearance in a different manner—I should have invited them joined me in a discussion format to start with! One after another, I addressed their questions in record speed. Their questions were well-thought and in-depth. There were still many hands raised in the air when 3 o’clock struck. Another class was scheduled to start right away. As I signed a few copies of Mulberry Child for students, Professor Arenson helped put my papers away and disconnect the flash drive that contained the visuals of my presentation. We rushed out of the room as a professor for the next class started writing on the board.

I told Professor Arenson how impressed I was by the students—their interest in China, their engagement in class and their questions. “I’ll sit among them and have the entire session for discussion next year when you teach China history again!” I promised.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China.

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