College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Spotlight

Alumna Spotlight: Ava Jamerson

Ava Jamerson graduated from the UO in 2018 with a double major in Chinese (Mandarin) and Business Administration (Finance). After her father retired from the foreign service, the Jamerson’s family returned to Oregon where she finished high school and applied to her father’s alma mater, the UO.

Jamerson originally came to the UO for the Lindquist College of Business. But, after learning about the Chinese Flagship program in the College of Arts and Sciences, she decided to double major in Chinese and Business Administration.

“I met my current roommate and best friend at UO, and at the time, she told me about the flagship program there at UO,” Jamerson said. “I already knew Chinese because my mom is Chinese and taught me the language growing up, but I hadn’t actually studied it in a long time, so I thought why not just double major? I felt comfortable with my conversational Chinese, but my writing and reading stopped at the middle-school level, so the flagship program was perfect.”

Jamerson completed two exchange programs while at the UO. The first was a two-month summer immersive Chinese program at Beijing Normal University hosted by Princeton faculty. Jamerson said that summer experience kick-started her language learning in preparation for her year abroad.

As part of the Chinese Flagship Program, a required capstone year takes the language skills students have developed over the course of four years and allows them to get hands-on experience by studying abroad. Jamerson was able to go a year early, spending the first half of her third year studying Chinese and finance at Nanjing University. Combining her business studies with her language practice, Jamerson completed the second half of the program with a marketing internship in Shanghai.

Now, Jamerson is working for the Department of Commerce as an international trade specialist at the International Trade Administration. From writing internal and external communications to working on the agency-wide digital initiatives, Jamerson covers multiple aspects across the department. Jamerson then spends her evenings as the Director of Operations for The China Guys, a small team of dedicated China Watchers providing analysis and insights on China’s economy, business, and political landscape to the online community. The position lets her stay connected to China and develop her managerial skills as she works with TCG’s talented staff.

“Everything I did at the UO prepared me for what I’m doing now. The flagship program is the reason I met the two co-founders of The China Guys,” Jamerson said. “It also provided me with the opportunity to apply for and receive the Boren scholarship, which is a large part of why I have a job in the government now. If it wasn’t for the flagship program, I don’t think I would be where I am today, and then the skills I learned at the business school just really brought everything together.”

For current and future students majoring in a language program, Jamerson suggests double-majoring to ensure they leave the UO with the skills needed for the workforce.

“When you apply for a job, having a language degree definitely makes you stand out, but I also encourage students to double-major and explore other interests to the fullest. I’d also like to highlight how the language programs offer a lot of opportunities. For example, I lived in the Global Scholars Hall with other students studying Chinese along with another major, and I met a lot of my lifelong friends that way.”

To learn more about the Chinese major, visit the website.