UW Students Win at 2011 Chinese Speech Contest of Summer Programs

Six members of the UW-Tianjin Summer Program, through UW–Madison’s International Academic Programs (IAP), have received awards for their participation in the “2011 Chinese Speech Contest of Summer Programs” at Peking Normal University on July 31, 2011. UW-Madison students Jae Sang Lee, John Prusynski, and Mark Troianovski all received first place for their speeches in their respective categories, and as an added honor, will have their scripts printed in the prestigious Commercial Press magazine, World of Chinese.

Richard Young and Hyun Jae Nam both won second place in their categories, while Alicia Montague-Keels received third place. With six winners across the board, UW-Madison produced more finalists than any other competing program, including those from Ivy League schools and other public universities.

“The competition was fierce, especially for first place in all six categories,” says Hongming Zhang, director of UW-Tianjin.   “It is surprisingly exciting that we could get all the first places! All of our contestants got their certificates. The place winners also got medals and awards.”

There were 125 contestants from 12 programs competing for the first, second, and third place awards in six different categories: i.e. non-heritage beginner, non-heritage intermediate (this level was divided into two groups: group A and group B, due to a large number of contestants), non-heritage advanced 1 (equivalent to the 3rd year Chinese), non-heritage advanced 2, heritage intermediate, and heritage advanced.

Participants hailed from all the major North American summer programs in Beijing and Tianjin, including Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Mississippi, The Inter-University Program (IUP), Council for Educational Travel (CET), Alliance Critical Languages Scholarship Program (Alliance-CLS), Tenri University from Japan, and UW-Madison.

Zhang continues, “The success of this event reflects the high teaching standard and overall strength of our program. This result could not have been achieved without the joint efforts of our students, teachers, and program assistants. Our local instructors and teaching assistants devoted huge amounts of time and resources to work with our students. We also selected outstanding tutors among graduate students of Nankai University and Tianjin Normal University to strengthen the after-class training portion of the program.  This would have also been impossible without the hard work of our supportive colleagues in the IAP office.”

“The transition from Madison to Tianjin is nearly unnoticeable,” Zhang concludes. Students keep improving in all their aspects of language proficiency. What our students achieved in the speech contest serves as the best supporting evidence of our teaching philosophy. Without the extensive training in the past 8 weeks, it would have been impossible for our students to reach such a level of language proficiency and beat their Ivy League university peers. The success achieved by our students  is irrefutable proof that our combination approach (aka the intensive training approach) is not only the most appropriate teaching method, but also the most effective method in Chinese language education.”

UW-Madison sent nine students to compete in two categories (non-heritage intermediate and non-heritage advanced 1). And the results:

Mark Troianovski (First place at the non-heritage intermediate level of Group A)

Jae Sang Lee (First place at the non-heritage intermediate level of Group B)

John Prusynski (First place at the non-heritage advanced 1 level)

Richard Young (Second place at the non-heritage intermediate level of Group A)

Hyun Jae Nam (Second place at the non-heritage intermediate level of Group B)

Alicia Montague-keels (Third place at the non-heritage advanced 1 level)

First row from left to right: Hongming Zhang, Richard Young, Hyun Jae Nam, Alicia Montague-keels, Emily Carter, Hye Eun Choi. Second row from left to right: Mark Troianovski, John Prusynski, Jae Sang Lee and Logan Viegut.