Caralee Casto is a recipient of the Academic Year 2021-2022 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Click here to learn more.
Caralee was raised in the mountains of West Virginia, where she was lucky enough to be selected for the Lion’s Club Youth Exchange scholarship program, participating in a month-long homestay in Fukuoka, Japan after her senior year of high school. While abroad, Caralee fell in love with the culture and language of Japan due to the care and experiences provided by her host families. During which, Caralee quickly switched her majors to Japanese and International Affairs. She has since received bachelor’s degrees in both areas from Marshall University, as well as a certificate for Asian Studies from Kansai Gaikokugo Daigaku after a year of studying in Osaka, Japan.
Her experiences abroad inspired Caralee to continue her studies in graduate school. Caralee is now a first-year M.A. candidate for International Studies – Japan Studies through UW’s Jackson School. Caralee hopes to expand her knowledge of Japanese in order to perform meaningful research surrounding gender and sexuality in relation to policy in Japan. With advanced language skills provided by JSIS, Caralee intends to work with nonprofits or NGOs to fight discrimination against minorities in Japan. By receiving the FLAS fellowship, Caralee will be able to focus solely on her studies during her first year at University of Washington. The FLAS fellowship has been a defining factor in Caralee’s ability to attend graduate school, and for this, she is exceptionally grateful.