Casey Brienza ’03, an Asian studies and English major, has received an External Research Studentship, a prestigious scholarship that will fully fund her doctoral studies at Trinity College, Cambridge University. She will be researching the transnational publishing of Japanese comics.
After graduating from MHC in three years, Brienza won a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Korea for a year. When she returned to the States, she began writing freelance about manga, and witnessed the “explosive growth” of the U.S. market for manga, which she believed would be of tremendous interest in academia. She earned an M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University in December 2008.
Brienza has had a lifelong interest in comics of all sorts, but had read only a few manga titles in English translation before coming to Mount Holyoke. Her serious interest in manga took hold when she began studying Japanese her first year. “I realized that prose with an accompanying visual context could help me study the language,” she said. She credits Mount Holyoke with teaching her “how to intellectually bridge Eastern and Western cultures as well as disparate academic disciplines.”
Naoko Nemoto, associate professor and chair of Asian studies, described Brienza as an “excellent student.” “What amazed me was her ability to learn the language quickly and accurately and to adopt new knowledge into her own speech/writing smoothly,” said Nemoto. “She seemed to be able to observe the world she was in objectively and analytically. I am extremely happy for her.”