Bridging Scholarships Spring 2017 Recipients

DECEMBER 15, 2016 – Twenty-five undergraduate students from colleges and universities across the United States have been named recipients of Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan. The winners will receive awards of $2,500 to assist with their expenses while they study in Japan in Spring 2016. Since 1999, 1,750 scholarships have been awarded by the US-Japan Bridging Foundation.

The Japan-US Friendship Commission, an independent federal agency promoting mutual understanding between the United States and Japan, initiated the Bridging Project scholarship program and established a 501(c)(3) private foundation, the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation (, to accept contributions. The goal of the Bridging Project is to promote study abroad in Japan by larger numbers of American undergraduate students. The scholarship program is administered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, which promotes education in Japanese language, literature, and culture.

Contributors to date for the 2016-2017 scholarships include Ronald and Maria Anderson, The Bridging Scholars Alumni Scholarship Fund; The Freeman Foundation; Aflac Japan, AIG Holdings KK, Estee Lauder K.K., Exxon Mobil G.K., the Robert Grondine Memorial Scholarship Fund, Harry and Yumiko Hill, Ichigo Asset Management, the Japan Foundation, Edward Lincoln, Lockheed Martin Global, Inc., Deanna Marcum, Mission Value Partners, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Morgan Stanley Japan, Robert and Janette Noddin, Oak Lawn Marketing, ORIX USA Corporation, T.J. Pempel, Susan Pharr and Robert Mitchell, Thierry and Yasko Porte, Roche Family Foundation, David Sneider, George and Brad Takei, Temple University-Japan Campus, Toyota Motor North America, and the U.S.-Japan Council TOODACHI Initiative.

Bridging Scholars hail from a variety of schools–public and private, large universities and small colleges–in 20 states. Their majors range from neurobiology to English literature, but they share a common interest in Japan, its society, and its language and culture. Their destinations also vary, from giant campuses in Tokyo to small colleges in rural Japan. A list of the recipients, their schools, their destination programs, and their majors can be found below.

Applications will be accepted until April 11, 2017, for the next group of Bridging Scholarships, for study in Japan beginning in Fall 2017. For information on the scholarships and to access application form, visit the Bridging Project online at

For information on the Bridging Foundation, visit

Recipients of Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan
Spring 2017

Natalie BOROWSKI / Northwestern State University of Louisiana / Ritsumeikan University /
John FALKENKLOUS / University of Maryland / Waseda University / international business
Mercedes FARIAS / Indiana University / Nanzan University / political science & international
    studies (Freeman Foundation Bridging Scholar)
Shirley GABBER / Dartmouth College (NH) / Keio University / marketing
Myliyah HANNA / University of Virginia / Waseda University / biology and Japanese
Cayli HIRATA / University of Hawaii / Keio University / marketing
Takezo IGUCHI / University of Hawaii / Keio University / travel industry management
    (Freeman Foundation Bridging Scholar)
Mason JOHANEK / Gonzaga University (WA) / Akita International University / international relations
    & business
Shana LEWIS / University of Memphis (TN) / Tokyo International University / sociology
Kelsey MAKA / Illinois Wesleyan University / Sophia University (CIEE) / international studies & vocal
Kathleen MILLER / University of Maryland / Keio University / Japanese
Yuki MINAMI / University of Tennessee / Waseda University / world business & language
Erina NIWA / University of California, Berkeley / Hitotsubashi University / political economy
Taryn OBORNY / Kansas State University / Kansai Gaidai / English & pre-law
Roman PALVANOV / University of Wisconsin, Madison / University of Kyushu / materials science
Gabriel ROBINSON / Washington State University / Nihon University / mechanical engineering
    (Lockheed Martin Bridging Scholar)
MarieClaire SBRAGIA / George Washington University (DC) / Nanzan University (IES) / international
Victoria SMITH / St. Michael's College (VT) / Kansai Gaidai / international relations
Natalie SOLA OSORIO / University of Puerto Rico / Toyo University (ISEP) / art and technology &
Ashley SOLIS / Cottey College (MO) / Kansai Gaidai / international business
Joshua STRICKFADEN / University of California, Los Angeles / International Christian University /
    East Asian studies & economics
Jessica SUN / Massachusetts Institute of Technology / University of Tokyo / materials science
Colin TIMMERMAN / Drake University (IA) / Kwansei Gakuin / political science
Nghi TRUONG / University of Texas, Austin / Sophia University / microbiology
Solana WARNER / Ursinus College (PA) / Akita International University / English