Concentrator Profiles

Allison Giebisch, Class of 2016

Allison Giebisch

Class of 2016

Quincy House

Allison Giebisch is a senior in Quincy House concentrating in EAS with a secondary field in Government and a language citation in German. Until her sophomore fall, Allison had always envisioned studying Economics or Statistics from a practical standpoint. However, after a summer spent abroad at the Harvard Beijing Academy (HBA) studying Mandarin, she became fascinated with Chinese culture, language, and philosophy. During her sophomore year, Allison took multiple Chinese history and language classes with Professors Puett, Dillon, and Robson. She then spent a summer interning in the Beijing office of Hay Group, an international management-consulting firm where she used her Chinese skills in a business context, researching industry trends for Chinese automobile companies and joint ventures. In her junior year, Allison joined Global China Connection, a student-run non-profit organization that connects young leaders from China and those from the rest of the world, as Director of Outreach. She managed the division by collaborating with politicians, CEOs, and academic leaders to help GCC forge strategic partnerships. She also worked to secure sponsorships and donations and organize the 2015 World Fair, which brought together a delegation of international university students on Yale University’s campus to discuss themes like impact investing and environmental sustainability in China.

Allison never considered Harvard’s vast pool of funding opportunities until she applied for a grant to travel to Myanmar for six weeks during J-term. There, she conducted a research project for the Harvard Asia Center on young Burmese adults and how they perceive the nation of China and their views on the political future of the nation. The interviews gathered from this research will form the foundation for her senior thesis. Fascinated by political developments in Myanmar, Allison co-founded Harvard Undergraduate Students for Myanmar (HUSM) with a friend in her dorm originally from Yangon. The student-run organization centers on raising awareness about the nation of Myanmar. During the short lifespan of the organization, the team has organized a photo exhibition, a traditional Myanmar Water Festival on campus, and a panel featuring a dialogue with Burmese refugees. The EAS concentration has allowed Allison to broaden her interests to include completely new fields and research methodologies, which she plans to use for her senior thesis. Allison anticipates pursuing either a law degree or a PhD after graduating, and hopes to someday spend an extended time living in Yangon!

Henry Li

Class of 2016

Leverett House

Henry Li is a joint-concentrator in Hist and Lit (America field) and EAS (Chinese language track). His studies focus on examining exchanges between the United States and China, an area that he feels personally connected to. Henry was born in Liaoning, China, grew up in Portland, Oregon, and is interested in contributing scholarship towards mutual relations between both countries. His current projects include summer research on the broad forces shaping American journalism in China today and how these influence specific newspapers like the New York Times, and conducting interviews that contextualize American and Chinese news media. He hopes to pursue research and career opportunities in academia after graduating. 

On campus, Henry is involved with Harvard College Faith and Action, the Harvard Ichthus, the Writing and Public Service Initiative of the Writing Program, and is a Student Mental Health Liaison. He has also spent two summers abroad, in large part thanks to EAS. After receiving a Harvard China Fund grant to teach English and travel the country, Henry returned to China for the first time in fifteen years in 2014. Since then, he has received Fairbank and Fung research grants for China to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Henry names the Chinese literature courses taught by Professor David Der-wei Wang as some of his favorite classes he’s taken as an undergraduate. He is currently preparing to write his senior thesis on the work of Amy Tan.

Josh Bean

Class of 2016

Mather House

Joshua Bean is a senior pursuing a joint concentration in Music and EAS (Chinese Language Track) and a secondary field in Economics. His interest in the People's Republic of China arose while watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he has been learning about the country ever since. In fact, Josh celebrated the past three Fourth of July's in China. His favorite EAS class at Harvard was a graduate seminar taught by Jie Li, titled, “Media Cultures in the People's Republic of China.” His final paper for the class, "'I Am the Wife of Mao Tse-Tung': Jiang Qing as Excess," examined Jiang Qing's political legacy in the American and Chinese contexts, and her iconic representation in John Adam's 1987 opera, Nixon in China. His senior thesis, advised by Professor Anne Shreffler of the Music Department and Jie Li of EAS, is an elaboration on this topic, specifically exploring the ways in which Mao's ideology and Jiang Qing's gendered legacy were originally received and subsequently re-imagined in American media.

​During his time at Harvard, Josh has proctored for the Freshman Arts Program, conducted pit bands for on-campus theater productions, and sung with the Harvard University Choir, the Harvard Krokodiloes, and Harvard VoxJazz. Law school or music school might be on the horizon, but more immediately, Josh hopes to find a post-grad job that will support living independently. He is particularly fascinated by modern Chinese political history, and is interested in the burgeoning field of media studies and the very relevant practice of media and entertainment law. His favorite contemporary Chinese singer is Coco Zhao. He considers his participation in Harvard-Beijing Academy's summer immersion program a critical step in his language learning process, and hopes to use his developing Chinese language skills in his future pursuits.