Erin Reilly wins Liu Family Distinguished Achievement Award in Asian Studies and Robert D. Nuner Language Award

Author: Jennifer Lechtanski

Erin Reilly '24 by Christine Cox. Modified by Jenn Lechtanski for web.

Erin Reilly, a history and Chinese major from Madison, Connecticut, received the 2024 Liu Family Distinguished Achievement Award in Asian Studies during a graduation ceremony on May 17 that honored students earning degrees from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC).

The EALC presents the Liu Family Distinguished Achievement Award in Asian Studies each year to the student whose character and undergraduate work best exemplify commitment, diligence, and imagination in studying Asia.

Reilly also received this year's Robert D. Nuner Language Award, granted to a graduating senior in the College of Arts and Letters majoring in any classical or modern foreign language who has earned the highest cumulative grade point average. Reilly received a perfect 4.0 score in her Chinese major and a 3.99 cumulative grade point average.

“In light of her unwavering dedication, steadfast diligence, and unbridled passion demonstrated throughout her tenure at Notre Dame, it is with great confidence that we regard Erin as one of the most exemplary students in the storied history of our Chinese Program. Her exceptional achievements and tireless commitment serve as a testament to her remarkable character and academic excellence.”


— Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Beyond stellar coursework, Reilly actively participated in various events organized by the Chinese Language Program, including the Chinese Speech Contest, where she earned first prize in the advanced group in 2023 and performed with the Chinese Singing Club.

Her interest in Chinese language and culture also led her to explore Chinese history. In 2021, Reilly authored a research paper titled "The Lives of Li Si and Wei Qing: Insights into the Qin-Han Dynasties" as part of the Digital Empires history course by Liu faculty fellow Liang Cai, associate professor of history. The depth and analysis of her research won three prestigious awards in May of 2022: the Monsignor Francis A. O'Brien Award from the Department of History for superior research rooted in primary sources, first place in the Sophomore, Junior, or Senior Category for the Library Research Award, and the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship Award.

In summer 2023, Reilly was awarded a Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns Summer Fellowship and taught English to Catholic school students in Bangkok, Phop Phra, and Mae Ramat, Thailand, ranging from kindergarten to grade 12 for the anti-human trafficking organization Talitha Kum Thailand. Her passion for language, education, and service was recently recognized with a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship award in Taiwan. Reilly will serve as an English educator and cultural ambassador for the United States during the 2024–2025 school year with future plans to study international law.