Equipped to Lead and Succeed

Meet Thomas Flippin '16

Peace Corps Volunteer

The Japanese studies graduate talks about basketball, Mongolia, music, and Shakespeare.

Thomas Flippin

What attracted you to USF?
I came to USF to play varsity baseball, but that ultimately didn’t work out. If anything, I fell more in love with USF as I prioritized my classwork and student activities. I am especially grateful to Professor Nagata for a fulfilling experience at USF.

Why did you choose Japanese studies as a major? What did you like most about it?
I had taken Japanese classes in high school and wanted to keep studying the language and culture. I spoke with Professor Nagata shortly before attending USF and that's what sold me. I especially enjoyed studying abroad at Sophia University, even if for just a short time. Professor Nagata has many connections which have helped me along my career path.

What are you doing now?
I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia, where I teach English and lead small community development projects.

How did your USF education prepare you to do your work?
I think my time studying with Professor Nagata not only deepened my relationship with Japan, but also opened me up to the broader East Asian sphere. I earned my MA from Columbia University in East Asian languages and cultures, lived in Japan for three years, and am now working in Mongolia. I think Professor Nagata and her colleagues instilled ideals of worldliness in me, for which I am thankful.

What advice do you have for current USF students?
My advice would be to take advantage of on-campus activities as much as possible. Whether it was DJing for KUSF or acting in a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, USF offered many amazing activities and I’m happy to have participated in them.