photo of Francis Commercon in Beijing

Francis Commerçon

2018 BS in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and Biological Sciences. Minor in Chinese. 2017 Truman Scholarship recipient. 2018 Fulbright scholar.

Francis was an Honors student and a Boettcher Foundation Scholar. He earned a double major and a minor in Chinese during his academic career at CSU. Armed with years of Chinese study from high school, Francis took upper level Chinese language courses at CSU. After Francis received his minor in Chinese, he volunteered to lead Fourth Year Chinese Group Study to assist other Chinese learners. Francis was also active in the Chinese Club events. He participated in the famous Chinese Club Dragon Dance many times and wrapped hundreds of dumplings for the annual Chinese Club graduation parties including his own. In his own words, here is how Chinese language changed his life.

Today I hiked through a forest park in Beijing with an old friend, chatting about botany and biology as we encountered fascinating plants and watched birds. I am living and studying at Tsinghua University for the semester, and although I devoted my four years at CSU to biology and conservation biology, I am thrilled to focus on intensively studying Mandarin for the next four months. This language, for me, is a window into the other side of the world, into the world of more than 1.3 billion people and a society that is changing the face of the planet almost everywhere one looks. I wish to devote myself to creating a harmonious relationship between people and nature in the most threatened and precious ecosystems in the world, so for me, Chinese is a crucial skill. Fellow Chinese learners put their skill to use in inexhaustible ways, including business, economics, foreign policy, etc. I have used my Mandarin to delve into modern issues in conservation biology and ethnic minority culture in southern Yunnan province. But for me, the language has not only revealed stunning opportunities to make a lasting positive impact in the world, it has also let me find a second home, a community of friends on the other side of the planet, and a new source of wisdom—a new perspective on life. In so many ways, learning another language broadens one’s depth and breadth of thought, and to this end, Mandarin does not disappoint.