Kate Jasenski is an alumna of the 2016 Summer and 2017-18 Academic Year Chinese programs in Xi’an and Kaohsiung. Kate was recently named as a 2024 Rangel Fellowship recipient. The Rangel Graduate Fellowship is a program that aims to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The Rangel Program selects outstanding Rangel Fellows annually in a highly competitive nationwide process and supports them through two years of graduate study and professional development activities to prepare for a career as Foreign Service Officers. ​

Kate’s interest in Chinese began during her first year of high school, when she volunteered in China with a group of Chinese adoptees. This experience encouraged her towards a career in foreign affairs. During her sophomore year, her school had a Chinese teacher through the TCLP program. Kate notes that, “Through TCLP, I was able to jump-start my Chinese language learning. Outside of class, I self-studied a lot and was always looking for more ways to practice the language. That’s also when I knew that, to take my Chinese to the next level, I had to go abroad, leading me to NSLI-Y.”​

After her NSLI-Y programs, Kate attended American University to study International Affairs, with a focus on East Asia/China. After graduation, Kate participated in CLS Chinese. She also lived in Korea and worked with a professor to publish research on Chinese political and economic influence in Latin America. She then taught English in Korea through Fulbright, and volunteered with the North Korean defector community and local orphanages. After Fulbright, Kate joined the International Visitor Leadership Program team at American Councils for International Education. She currently works in Representative Linda Sanchez’s office. This fall, she'll start a Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University, focusing on political and economic development and data analytics.​

Kate believes that NSLI-Y was foundational for her academic and professional career, as NSLI-Y broadened her perspective regarding Chinese and Taiwanese political and cultural identity. Even after the program, as she took classes on East Asian history, politics, and culture in college. Kate is also grateful for the NSLI-Y alumni community, as “being part of the NSLI-Y alumni community has introduced me to so many friends and connections. As I’ve moved up through various State Department programs as a participant and administrator, I’m aways excited to meet other NSLI-Y alumni, and I think a lot of people in the international relations space appreciate that I’ve been involved in this field since high school.” ​

Kate reflects that her interest in policy and her future career plans have been influenced by her personal ​experiences. “As a Chinese adoptee and product of China’s One Child Policy, I’ve always known how policy directly affects people’s lives. I had the opportunity to visit China in high school and volunteer at an orphanage alongside other adoptees. From then on, I knew that my future career needed to include both China and the US, which then led me to studying Chinese and international relations as a career. As a Foreign Service Officer, I hope to use my personal, academic, and professional background to create more inclusive and sustainable policies. I am most interested in being a political officer. Beyond China and East Asia, I would love to learn more about and be posted in Central or Southeast Asia.”​