You are here: Home / News / News


GSLL Salutes its May Graduates!

17 of our undergraduate majors received their Bachelor's degrees at the Penn State May commencement.

Russian major Brian Zdancewicz (to right of banner in photo) was honored as Student Marshal for the Department, accompanied by Dr. Irina Mikalien, Senior Lecturer in Russian, as Faculty Marshal (to left of banner). In addition, Dr. Sabine Doran (in center of right-hand panel), Associate Professor of German, was chosen as Faculty Marshal for Global and International Studies, accompanying Student Marshal Ava Doery.

We congratulate all our:

Anna Blyth Katrina Hartman
Ian Cameron Daniel Kiefer
Jacob Cordell Maria Kravets
Jack DiMidio Robert Vorhees
Kendra Hepler Brian Zdancewicz
Justin Kilner
John Kozorra
Megan Krause
Hannah Lasure
Mark Milutonovic
Kelly Morrow
Olivia Raub


Congratulations also go to three graduate students who received their Ph.D.s in May: Katherine Anderson; Liese Sippel; and Adam Toth.

Zertifikat Deutsch examination administered to German majors at Penn State

On March 18, two examiners from the Goethe Institute in New York, Steffi Krause and Andrea Pfeil, visited the University Park campus to administer the Zertifikat Deutsch exam to seven German majors and one German graduate student. (Four of the test-takers are shown at right completing the listening portion of the exam.) The ZD exam, which tests all four skills in German, is recognized everywhere in the world as a certification of German skills, and is a foundational document for employment with a German company or university study.

Katherine Anderson defends dissertation on contemporary authors who adopt German as their literary language

On 15 March, Katherine Anderson successfully defended her dissertation for the German Ph.D., "Foreign Writing Agency: Maria Cecilia Barbetta & Abbas Khider Rewriting Identity after Trauma in German as a Foreign Language." Ms. Anderson compares the two authors on the basis of the traumatic events that underlie their writing, and of their working through trauma through the adoption of German as a language and through the use of a variety of distancing techniques. Congratulations, Kate!

Mallory Bubar (German Ph.D.) Awarded the Milton B. Dolinger Fellowship in World War II Era Studies

Mallory Bubar has been awarded the Milton B. Dolinger Fellowship in World War II Era Studies for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Fellowship will allow Mallory to work full-time on her dissertation, which is focused on representations of children in Holocaust literature and archives. Congratulations, Mallory!

GSLL to Celebrate 25th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence and 25 years of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University


The Woskob Family Foundation, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence and 25 years of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA on Tuesday April 4, 2017. The event will also mark 25 years of cooperation in Forestry and Agricultural Sciences with the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences (NULES) in Kyiv, Ukraine.  The Rector and representatives of NULES will be in attendance at the daylong series of events.


The schedule for the day includes the following:

v  At 3:00PM there will be a book launching of Helen Woskob’s memoirs Freedom and Beyond: My Journey from Ukraine to a New Life in America as well as Professor Michael Naydan’s novel about the city of Lviv Seven Signs of the Lion at the Hintz Alumni Center on the Penn State University Park campus. Actor Michael Bernosky will provide dramatic readings from both books.

v  At 4:00PM Dr. Markian Dobczansky (PhD in history from Stanford University and Jacyk Fellow at the University of Toronto) will present a lecture “The Legacy of Soviet State-Building: A Historical Primer on the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict” at the Hintz Alumni Center.

v  At 5:00PM Dean Susan Welch of the College of Liberal Arts and Dean Richard Roush of the College of Agricultural Sciences will open the reception at the Hintz Alumni Center.

v  At 5:15PM to 7:00PM a reception sponsored by the Woskob Family of State College at the Hintz Alumni Center in honor of the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian independence as well as a commemoration of 25 years of Ukrainian studies in Liberal Arts and Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. There will also be an exhibit of woodcarvings by Ukrainian artist Serhiy Karpenko during the reception. 

v  At 7:30PM the Ukrainian world music group DakhaBrakha (pictured at right) will perform in Schwab Auditorium. The performance is sponsored by The Woskob Family Foundation at Penn State.


Dr. Markian Dobczansky studied Soviet, East European, and Imperial Russian history at Stanford University. The topic of his dissertation was “From Soviet Heartland to Ukrainian Borderland: Searching for Identity in Kharkiv, 1943-2004.” His academic interests include Soviet history, nationalism, Russian-Ukrainian relations, and urban history.


DakhaBraka is a world-renowned group from Ukraine whose music is described as “ethnochaos.” They create a world of unexpected music at the intersection of folklore and theater. Using traditional music from various regions of Ukraine as a starting point, the quartet incorporates rhythms from around the planet to create a bright, fierce, and unforgettable sound. For information on tickets call 814-863-0255 or go to or for additional information.


Serhiy Karpenko is a Ukrainian artist who was born in the town of Koziatyn in the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine. Originally educated as a physical education teacher, he has been a woodcarver since 1993. He has exhibited throughout Ukraine and the US. His woodcarvings are known for extraordinary detailed and refined technique as well as for the presentation of traditional Ukrainian historical themes in the unique bas-relief wood medium. 

German Day 2017 set for 5 April at the HUB

The Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Penn State University will be hosting middle school and high school German students at University Park for German Day 2017. It will be a fun-filled day of German language activities, including a poster and movie competition, a spelling bee, poetry recitation, German trivia game, and presentation of a one-act play by fifth-semester PSU students. Students will also have the opportunity to practice their German (and earn prizes!), learn more about studying German at Penn State, visit a German language or culture class, and get a tour of campus.


The event is co-sponsored by the School for Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the Center for Global Studies, the Center for Language Studies, the Program in Linguistics, and AFS-USA.

For further information, visit the event website.

Adam Toth Defends Dissertation on Orientalist Writings of Franz Kafka

On 28 February 2017, Adam Toth successfully defended his dissertation for the Ph.D. in German under the direction of Drs. Bettina Brandt and Daniel Purdy. Adam's dissertation, titled "Kafka’s Mei Lanfangs: Race Theory, Performativity, and the Undoing of German Orientalisms," analyzed Orientalist writings of Franz Kafka as deconstructions of 19th-century German race theory.

Liese Sippel Wins Graduate Student Teaching Award

Lieselotte Sippel has won the 2017 Denise Haunani Solomon Teaching Award for Graduate Students. She has proven to be a highly effective teacher at all levels of German language, from 1st through 5th semester and beyond. Learners praise her organization, helpfulness, and clever tricks for memorization such as color-coding the genders of nouns. Many name her as the best professor they have had at Penn State.

Congratulations, Liese!

German Professor Emeritus Gerhard Strasser featured on an episode of Codebreaker

Dr. Gerhard F. Strasser's internationally recognized expertise in cryptography brought him a transatlantic telephone call from NPR Marketplace. NPR conducted a 31-minute interview at the end of November 2016, which was edited and inserted as a feature in the  Marketplace Codebreaker series:  On Dec. 21, 2016, it was turned into a kind of dialogue on Vergennes' method.  Broadcast Episode No. 6, "Cryptography," can be accessed at . 

Summer Internships Available in Pforzheim, Germany

The German program announces a new summer 2017 internship possibility for this summer in Pforzheim, Germany, for students who have completed four semesters or more of German and who also have a background in either business or engineering. This program may be of special interest to Engineering and Business students who are also minoring or majoring in German. Students will receive 3 credits of German language (GER X99) and 6 credits of GER 495. Some or all of these credits may be applied toward a German major or minor depending upon what courses students have or have not already taken.

Further information can be found at the Global Programs website. Interested students should also contact .