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German and Slavic Co-Hosts Poetry Without Borders 2016

Presented by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, "Poetry Without Borders" was held at 6 p.m. on November 8 in Foster Auditorium.

"Poetry Without Borders" is an annual, student-run literature reading forum where students and faculty present poetry from different languages and cultures to the audience.

Moderated this year by Ines Martin, a Ph.D. candidate in German Applied Linguistics and Language Science, a total of 30 participants took turns reciting their chosen poems — in the poem’s original language — in front of a crowd. A variety of Slavic and Germanic languages were among the selections.

In the background of each reading, a PowerPoint was presented showing the poem in the original language alongside an English translation for the audience to interpret the poem.

Some participants recited poems written by published poets, while John Henry Riccardi recited a poem he wrote himself in German titled "Arbeit."

Proficiency Exam in Russian to be given September 28 and November 2

The Proficiency Examination in Russian, which can give successful candidates from 4 to 12 credits on their transcripts and fulfill part or all of their language requirement (if any), will be administered on 28 September and 02 November from 10:00-12:00 in 235 Burrowes Bldg. on the University Park campus. For more details, please contact <ixm12@psu.edu>.

New Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees with School of International Affairs

Penn State undergraduate students majoring in German or Russian can now earn a master's degree in International Affairs with only one additional year of study beyond their bachelor's through the integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program offered by the School of International Affairs (SIA) and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Penn State. Those interested should write to for further information.

Samuel Frederick Promoted to Associate Professor

Samuel Frederick Promoted to Associate Professor

Samuel Frederick

Dr. Samuel Frederick has received tenure and been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of German. Congratulations, Sam!

Dr. Frederick has written on various topics in German literature from the Early Modern period to the present with a primary focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially the Swiss and Austrian traditions. His areas of expertise include narratology and the history of the novel; philosophical approaches to literature and film; thing theory; lyric poetry; experimental fiction; international modernism; and the narrative prose of Biedermeier and Poetic Realism. In his teaching and research he aims to bring together close reading with rigorous theoretical and philosophical inquiry.

German Certificate Available at Behrend Campus

The 15-credit German Studies Certificate offered at Penn State Behrend is designed for students who wish to specialize in interdisciplinary German Studies by acquiring advanced German language skills and taking courses in culture, film, history, literature, music, or politics of the German-speaking countries. In-depth knowledge of the German-speaking countries prepares students for a global workforce and careers in international business, engineering, finance, politics, or the sciences. Those interested in the certificate may contact Dr. Eva Kuttenberg, Associate Professor of German (euk1@psu.edu).

German Graduate Studies Win Fellowships for Dissertation Research

Three German Ph.D. candidates have recently won fellowships to help them complete their dissertation research.

  • Lauren Brooks has received $4000 from the American Friends of Marbach Award for the purpose of visiting the German Literary Archive in Marbach to uncover reviews and adaptations of the work of Franz Kafka. Her dissertation analyzes humor in Kafka, its roots in Yiddish theater, and its parallels and influences in contemporary American culture.

  • Hyoun-A Joo received dissertation support from the College of Liberal Arts and a Career Development Award from the Center of Global Studies for $2000 that will enable her to conduct research in Germany. Her dissertation investigates the acquisition of case and past tense marking in German as a second language by Koreans who immigrated to Germany in the 70s. More specifically, Hyoun-A is interested in how a second language develops naturally, i.e. not directed by formal instruction but by living and working in the host community.

  • Ines Martin received the Watz Dissertation Fellowship Award in conjunction with the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Award. Her dissertation project, Improving novice learners’ L2 pronunciation in distance and face- to-face learning environments, investigates a new method of homework-based pronunciation instruction in second language German on-campus and online classrooms. 

Congratulations to these scholars!

Burrowes Building (Department Home) Rededicated

Burrowes Building has been home to Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures since it first opened in 1939 -- except for the last two years, when a major renovation was undertaken. Spring 2016 was our first semester semester of operating in the renovated Burrowes, and the return of classes to our seminar rooms (see photo). April 16 brought a rededication of the building with remarks by Dean Susan Welch (photo), President Eric Barron, Provost Nick Jones, and other dignitaries, followed by tours of the new facilities, including of the German/Slavic Seminar Room with displays of graduate and faculty research.

More on the Burrowes Bldg. renovation and rededication...

Vadim Astrakhan Concert at the Russian Tea Hour

Vadim Astrakhan Concert at the Russian Tea Hour

Vadim Astrakhan performs under the image of Ostrosky

Since he arrived in the US as a Russian immigrant in 1991, Vadim Astrakhan has been honing his skills in translating the works of singer-songwriter Vladimir Ostrosky into English and performing them. On April 1st, he entertained the Russian Tea Hour with a multimedia performance of Ostrosky that was equal parts entertainment and education, mostly in English, but ending with some of Ostrosky's original Russian lyrics.

Department Announces 2015-2016 Awards for German and Russian Majors

The following students have been selected for special honors this year:

GERMAN AWARDEES

Department Marshal

Anna Bahnfleth

Lucretia Simmons Award for Outstanding German Major 

Joseph Vais

Stanley R. Townsend Award for Outstanding German Major 

Rowan Crisp

SLAVIC AWARDEES

Julianne and David Vaughan Scholarship for Russian Study

Brian Zdancewicz, Robert Voorhees, Stuart McLaughlin

Joseph Paternost Award in Russian in the College of the Liberal Arts

Vance Holthenrichs 

Sigmund S. Birkenmayer Memorial Award 

Katrina Hartman

William and Anna Naydan Award for Excellence in Ukrainian Studies

Daniel Kiefer

Congratulations to all these students, and to this year's inductees into Delta Phi Alpa German Honor Society and the Dobro Slovo Honor Society!

Anna Bahnfleth Selected as Departmental Marshal for 2016 Spring Commencement

Congratulations go to Anna Bahnfleth, who will graduate in May with a German major and International Studies minor, for being chosen as our departmental marshal due to her superior academic performance and citizenship. Ms. Bahnfleth perfected her German especially during a study-abroad semester at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg. Her future plans include graduate study in German/English translation.