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Spring 2023: Asian, African, and European Exploration

Jean Ippolito

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Jean Ippolito is a Professor and Art Historian to a very diverse body of students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. This is her second time to teach on a Semester at Sea voyage; the first was in Fall 2011.

As a first-generation college student at Arizona State University, Jean Ippolito felt a lot like Forest Gump, floating through the university without a clue, but somehow, with luck and perseverance, finding her niche. Sophomore year, she took a class called Intro to Oriental Art, and was fascinated by the cultures that inspired what she was studying. At the suggestion of one of her professors, to begin studying an Asian Language, she signed up for Japanese. Upon graduating, she was offered a job teaching English in Wakayama City, Japan, where she also took lessons in traditional Japanese painting and became fluent in the language. She then studied for her Master of Arts degree at the University of Washington specializing in Chinese and Japanese art history. She spent one semester of her graduate study at Beijing University, studying Mandarin, Chinese. Upon completion of her M. A., Jean took a position as Curator of Asian Slides and Prints at The Ohio State University, where she taught herself how to program databases for the slide collection. After three years, she entered the interdisciplinary program at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design at The Ohio State University. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research at the University of Tsukuba, in Ibaraki Prefecture. Her study involved interviewing and writing about experimental digital media artists in the Tokyo area. After completing her Ph. D., Jean Ippolito taught a combination of art history and computer art at colleges in Savannah, Georgia and Georgetown, Kentucky. In 2003, she accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. Fortunately, some of the experimental artists that she studied earlier, were now internationally recognized for their achievements, and so she began to publish articles, and a book, on the pioneering digital media artists of Japan. More recently she has written about contemporary artists of China that use digital technology in their work.

Completely committed to pursuing her career, Jean Ippolito was late in starting her own family. Although she served as a foster parent for about 20 years, she recently adopted two of her children. These are now, legally, her two children, seven and twelve years of age, and they are both of Hawaiian ancestry. Dr. Ippolito is pleased to be bringing her family with her on this voyage. Her partner, Ken Jackson, a retired engineer, will be accompanying them as caretaker and home school teacher, on the Spring 2023 voyage.