Tingting Qin started her journey at Missouri State in 2008 as an exchange student.
She came here to improve her English and advance her career.
Prior to coming to Springfield, Qin volunteered at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a liaison and interpreter for the Finnish sailing team. That experience inspired her to go abroad and meet different people from around the world.
“I realized that my passion was in bridging the cultural gap among people and doing translation and interpretation.”
She went back to China to finish her degree. She then returned to Missouri State in 2010 to pursue her MBA.
Qin met her husband Kellen Lutz, an international business major, at MSU. His father, Dr. David Lutz, was a longtime professor in the psychology department.
Tingting and Kellen have been married eight years and have a toddler. They live in Kansas City, Missouri, and both work for her company, Tingbridge Chinese Language Services. The couple loves to explore national parks in their spare time.
What does it feel like to be recognized for this award?
It’s quite an honor. There are so many exceptional students who graduate from Missouri State. It is humbling to have been singled out as one of those persons.
My life growing up was very different from American students. My parents and I shared a two-bedroom apartment with three other family members.
Starting in kindergarten, I would walk to school, buy a roll for breakfast from a street vendor, and continue to my school in Qingdao, a city of 10 million people.
At that time, I had no concept of living in a different country or ultimately becoming an independent businesswoman. I am grateful for the many opportunities I had at MSU to grow as a person and a scholar.
You are certified as an interpreter for both health care and court. Those are complex fields with their own languages. How did you become proficient in both?
I was an English major. As I prepared to become a translator/ interpreter, I was really paying attention to learning a little bit of everything. Basically, that’s a requirement to be a good translator/interpreter.
As I was getting started with my business, I researched the American market and realized that medical and legal are two major fields in the translation/interpretation industry, so I started to study the terminologies and get my certifications.
Those certification exams are very demanding, especially the court exam. I’m currently the only certified Mandarin court interpreter in Missouri.
What motivates you?
I would like to create a better life for my family. At the same time, to improve myself and contribute to the community.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
To start a business here, you have to overcome a lot of challenges as someone who’s not native to this country. I had to navigate through a different system to really learn the language and culture, and how people do business here.
That’s why, after I got my MBA, I decided to work for Kroger as an assistant store manager. I wanted to get a management position in a Fortune 500 company so I could learn the best practices in the business field, improve my leadership skills and know how to interact with people with different backgrounds. I think that the experience really helped me.
How do you think Missouri State helped you succeed?
The funding I received from the graduate assistantship in the China programs office was very valuable and fundamental to me being able to come to MSU. I gained a lot of confidence through my work, classroom and internship experiences.
I also received excellent mentoring from professors, staff and other professionals who had faith in me and were always there to help.
I cannot overstate the importance of feeling connected to the university. I am grateful that MSU has a global vision that focuses on diversity, inclusiveness and a goal of success for every student.