Daniel Mikesell ’14 continuing international education in Italy

Daniel Mikesell '14 wearing a mask in a Nanjing, China, park

When Daniel Mikesell ’14 graduated from Ripon College, he imagined himself teaching abroad in Europe. Five years later, Mikesell has taught English in China and is working toward his master’s in international affairs with a concentration in energy, resources and environment at Hopkins Nanjing Center (HNC) in Nanjing, China.

He recently published a piece examining the leadership styles and common goals of Ripon College and HNC, “Education and Leadership during a Pandemic.”

Mikesell chose to attend Ripon because it was reasonably priced compared to other liberal arts schools and it allowed him to play both soccer and basketball, which is often unheard of at large universities. At Ripon, Mikesell majored in English with minors in educational studies and leadership studies. He was involved in Student Senate, Greek life and other student organizations.

He finds the encouragement to study and experiment with fresh ideas and new people the most rewarding part of his Ripon College experience, and appreciates the outlets he had on campus to pursue his passions.

“After graduating, I taught English in several countries for about five years. My education at Ripon made it relatively easy to find good teaching jobs both in the U.S. and abroad,” Mikesell says.

At the HNC, Chinese students take a majority of English language classes, while foreign students take mostly Chinese language classes. As an undergraduate student, Mikesell did not know the Chinese language. He now spends countless hours reading, writing, listening to lectures, and participating in discussions, all in Chinese.

“The relationship between China and the U.S. is the crux of the program, and due to the concentration I chose, I’ll look very deeply into energy and climate-related issues,” he says.

“In general, I’m in constant dialogue with classmates and professors from all over the world (though mostly the U.S. and China) about a range of economic, social and political issues.”

Mikesell took a leave of absence from HNC during the spring 2020 semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic and worked remotely for Calvert Research and Management, a large investment management company. He uses his knowledge of the Chinese language, culture and business environment to help the company with a China-related project.

This fall, he will continue his studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy, HNC’s sister campus, where he will take a combination of online and in-person classes.

“I’m interested in several types of work (after graduating), including environmental, social and ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing, international climate law and political campaigns. Perhaps I’ll try all of them at some point in the future!” Mikesell says.

Dakota Marlega ’21
Waupaca, Wisconsin