The Robert M. Immerman Professional Fellows Program

The Robert M. Immerman Professional Fellows Program of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute provides East Asia focused mid-career professionals with a one-of-a-kind research and learning community at one of the world’s most prestigious universities and within a dynamic city.

Since its inception over 20 years ago, the program has attracted Professional Fellows from the fields of government, media, non-profit and business. While at the Institute, Fellows become informed with the latest research on East Asia, and develop their respective research areas and interests with Columbia University scholars and faculty. They can pursue their research not only within the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) but at other schools such as Business, Law, and Journalism, as well.

As an integral part of the Institute, Professional Fellows play an active role in the Institute sponsored policy forums, brown bag lectures, and other special events. They are also encouraged to participate in the rich programming offered at Columbia University as well as pursue other professional interests across the campus.

Located in one of New York City’s most historic neighborhoods, Morningside Heights, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University offers all the amenities of a college town along with a vibrant urban environment. The campus is also in close proximity to the United Nations diplomatic community and New York’s financial center. This backdrop in combination with Columbia’s distinguished academic and research institutions creates a perfect learning environment for Professional Fellows to reflect on their careers, exchange perspectives and acquire new skills and contacts.

Under the Professional Fellows Program, prospective candidates can enroll in one of the following two categories: Professional Fellow or Professional Associate. In both categories, the Institute offers enrollment for one or two semesters.

Professional Fellow 

  • Opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of Columbia’s distinguished experts in the participant’s field of research

  • Access to various University libraries and other facilities

  • Option to audit courses throughout the University with the permission of the course instructor

  • Opportunity to publicize the results of their research

  • Office space (shared)

  • Office services (mailbox, telephone and access to a photocopier, fax machine and computer)

Professional Associate

An Institute Associate is an inexpensive alternative to the Professional Fellows Program. Associates enjoy all the benefits of a Professional Fellow except office space and telephone access.

Please click here for a list of Current Professional Fellows and Professional Associates

Professional Fellow: $15,000 per semester

Professional Associate: $10,000 per semester

In addition, all accepted applicants must submit a $500 processing fee

Please Note: Professional Fellows and Professional Associates are responsible for their own travel, living expenses, and health insurance.

Those interested in applying to the Professional Fellows Program, please send (email, fax or postal mail) the following materials to the address listed below:

  • Application Download Application

  • Current Curriculum Vitae in English and in Native Language

  • Research Proposal (2-3 double spaced pages)

  • Financial support/guarantee statement from applicant’s employer or personal bank statement indicating his/her ability to cover living expenses as well as program fees*

  • TOEFL test results or equivalent measurement of English language ability

  • Headshot photograph

  • Two letters of recommendation or two references

  • Copy of the 1st page of the applicant’s passport

  • Statement on how the applicant heard of the program

* In addition to program fees, please note that the U.S. Department of State requires financial proof of $2800 per month for yourself to cover living expenses. If your family intends to accompany you, an additional $1,000 per month for your spouse and $500 per month per child is required.


*We ask applicants to send in their documents at least 6 months before their scheduled arrival date in order to allow for adequate time to review.  

  • To begin research on January 1st (Spring Semester) applications must be submitted by September 1 of the preceding year.

  • To begin research on September 1st (Fall Semester) applications must be submitted by April 1 of that year.

WARNING: The Weatherhead East Asian Institute has no contact or relationships with any third-party brokers claiming the ability to provide guaranteed acceptance into this program, or any other program at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Admission to the program is based solely on individual merit and supporting documents provided by the applicant. Any claims and fee charges otherwise by a third party are fraudulent.


American Language Program (ALP)

For those who wish to improve their written or spoken English language skills, courses are available during the summer and academic year through Columbia’s American Language Program.  For more information, go to

Lifelong friendships, professional contacts, and common connections with other Professional Fellow alumni are among the most powerful benefits of the program.  Our alumni network consists of members from many different organizations in a variety of fields including the following:

  • Asahi Shimbun

  • Bank of Japan

  • CommonWealth Magazine

  • Constitutional Court of Korea

  • Korean Broadcasting Systems (KBS)

  • Shanghai Media Group

  • Tokyo Broadcasting Systems (TBS)

  • United Nations



Aya Matsuo Kodera

  • Professional Fellow, January 1, 2023 – June 30, 2023
  • Manager, Corporate Planning & Coordination Dept., Marubeni America Corporation
  • Faculty Sponsor: Gerald Curtis
  • Research Interest: Human Capital Management for Japanese Companies: A Key to Surviving the New Era of Work   
  • Contact Info: [email protected]



Yun-Hsin Shih

  • Professional Associate, August 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023
  • Sub- Division Chief, Public Works Department, Taipei City Government
  • Faculty Sponsor: Gerald Curtis
  • Research Interest: Prioritizing Corruption Complaints Using Big Data
  • Contact Information: [email protected]

Sangmi An

  • Professional Associate, August 1, 2022 – August 1, 2023
  • Staff Reporter, The Korea Economic Daily
  • Faculty Sponsor: Gerald Curtis
  • Research Interest: ESG investment by global finance: Opportunities in the Korean capital market. 
  • Contact Information: [email protected]


Mizuho Morioka

  • Professional Associate, September 1, 2022 – August 1, 2023
  • Staff Writer, The Asahi Shimbun
  • Faculty Sponsor: Gerald Curtis
  • Research Interest: How can newspapers remain viable?
  • Contact Info: [email protected]