Introducing 2021 IMAS Full International Student Scholarship Winner Seth Paternostro
Seth Paternostro is a recent graduate of Princeton University, where he received an B.A. in East Asian Studies, summa cum laude. His coursework focused on Chinese language, politics, and culture. Through research projects, Seth also explored multiple topics, including eunuchs after the fall of the Qing dynasty, propaganda posters in early reform-era China, and culinary history. His senior thesis, “Tasting Communism: Comrade Cookery and the Politics of Eating in Mao’s China, 1949—1965,” challenges previous conceptualizations of socialist cuisine and probes its intersections with national identity. Lingering questions about food culture and its distinctive path in Taiwan will form the foundation for Seth’s research in the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University.
Seth’s prior experiences in East Asia include studying in Shanghai with a US Department of State National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship, two summers at Beijing Normal University for the Princeton in Beijing eight-week intensive Mandarin immersion program, a Japanese art history seminar in Kyoto, and a Princeton in Asia internship at the Beijing office of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). At the NRDC, Seth analyzed oil consumption trends, translated multi-million dollar grant proposals on energy sector reform from Mandarin to English, and established an English-training program for local staff. Outside of his studies, Seth was elected the house manager for Colonial Club, a private dining and social institution, worked as a research assistant to Professor Janet Chen, served as an executive board member of the Princeton University US-China Coalition, studied violin under the concertmaster of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and mentored incoming undergraduates as a Peer Academic Advisor.
Seth looks forward to engaging with communities on the NCCU campus and throughout Taipei. In addition to researching the changing appetites of Taiwan’s unique culinary identity, Seth is also excited to try novel flavors, embark on nature walks, and meet new friends during the next two years.