Student Spotlight
You are here: Home / Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Graduate Amanda Thoet Turns Her German Minor to Good Use

Up one level
Graduate Amanda Thoet Turns Her German Minor to Good Use

Amanda Thoet has been using her German a lot since graduating from Penn State in May 2015 with a minor in German. She just finished her first year of her Master’s program at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Prior to attending Georgetown, Amanda completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Leipzig, Germany and also spent summer 2016 as a speechwriting intern at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. During summer 2017, Amanda is interning at the German American Chamber of Commerce in Denver, Colorado and is also participating in a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) study trip on refugee integration in Germany. She will return to University Park on 22 September to take part in the Career Booster Day sponsored by the Goethe Institute.

 

Alumna Lori Feathers (B. A. Russian 1990) Proves There Are Still Bookstores in the US

Up one level
Alumna Lori Feathers (B. A. Russian 1990) Proves There Are Still Bookstores in the US

Lori Feathers is book buyer and co-owner of Interabang Books, in independent bookstore opening July 1 in Dallas, Texas.  http://interabangbooks.com/

Since graduating from Penn State, Lori’s career path has taken unanticipated and exciting twists and turns, most of which were precipitated by her study of Russian.

Lori earned joint law and masters degrees in international relations at American University in 1993 after which she took a position at the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.  At Commerce, she traveled extensively throughout the former Soviet Union (spending time in 13 of the 15 former Soviet republics) as a member of various delegations working on US trade and investment issues in the region.  After four years at Commerce, Lori was hired as an international oil and gas attorney for Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and moved to Dallas. While at ARCO Lori negotiated with Rosneft, Lukoil, and the Georgian State Oil Company on billion-dollar oil exploration and infrastructure deals, earning lots of frequent flier miles meeting with officials in Moscow and Tbilisi. When ARCO was acquired by British Petroleum in 2000, Lori joined the Dallas law firm of Haynes and Boone as an international attorney.  Then in 2005, she was hired by independent oil and gas producer, Pioneer Natural Resources, as the Associate General Counsel for International Business. 

It was a love of Russian literature that drew Lori to study Russian at Penn State, a passion that has remained steadfast throughout her career. In recent years, she has spent much of her free time reading contemporary literature and writing reviews for publication, including many articles on works translated from Russian, Ukrainian, and other East European languages. These pursuits led to an invitation to participate as one of nine judges for the annual Best Translated Book Award and being elected by her peers to serve on the Board of the National Book Critics Circle.  So, it seemed a natural progression to take her love of literature and enthusiasm for sharing literary discoveries to the next level—owning an independent bookstore. Lori retired from law practice earlier this year to devote herself full time to literary pursuits such as making Interabang Books the best independent bookstore in the country. Twitter: @LoriFeathers

Russian major Emily Kohlman interns for US and Czech news providers

Up one level
Russian major Emily Kohlman interns for US and Czech news providers

With the help of enhancement funds from GSLL, Emily Kohlman was Calkins Scholar and journalism intern at the Beaver County Times in Beaver County, PA in the summer of 2015. She produced videos and interviewed a celebrity (Samantha Bee) who came to town to talk to Beaver County politicians and voters prior to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.  She also  reported at the Republican National Convention. Her stories from the Convention were circulated throughout the U.S. (from papers in Kansas to the Centre Daily Times in State College).

This past fall, Emily interned with the U.S. correspondent for Czech Television during the U.S. presidential election, learning about the dynamics of media in both the United States and in the Czech Republic. Emily's picture was taken at Czech Television's headquarters in Prague, where she went during a 2016 spring break trip to the Czech Republic with her honors world media systems class.

1999 Graduate Janel Galvanek Finds a Career at Berghof Foundation

Up one level
1999 Graduate Janel Galvanek Finds a Career at Berghof Foundation

After graduation from Penn State with a BA in German, Janel Galvanek received an MA in Germanistik from Georgetown University and then worked briefly at the Holocaust Museum in DC as a German-English translator and then at the German Historical Institute as an editor. But Europe was calling and she left in 2003 for Tirol, Austria where she had a Fulbright teaching scholarship for two years. She then returned to university and earned a Master’s degree in 2008 from the University of Hamburg in "Peace Research and Security Policy."

Since 2009, Janel has worked for the Berghof Foundation, a conflict transformation and peacebuilding institute, with a lot of different projects – both research and practical – all over the world in the contexts of conflict or post-conflict countries. Right now all of Janel's projects are in Africa and she travels there extensively. You can read her Berghof bio and also her most recent research report on Liberia. When not traveling for work, Janel resides in Berlin.

Janel thinks quite frequently of the role that her German major played in her life and work. And now that we have renewed contact with her, we will be thinking of Janel quite frequently as well!

'16 Graduate Devin McCoy begins her Fulbright year teaching in Germany

Up one level
'16 Graduate Devin McCoy begins her Fulbright year teaching in Germany

Devin McCoy has begun her teaching duties in English at the Hermann-Allmers-Schule in Hagen im Bremischen. She will be looking for volunteer opportunities to support Syrian refugees in Germany, and also studying her options for pursuing a masters degree studying Applied Linguistics in Germany or France in the following year.

Nicole McInteer successfully defends her dissertation for the German Ph.D.

Up one level
Nicole McInteer successfully defends her dissertation for the German Ph.D.

Nicole McInteer, Associate Dean for Admissions at Wake Forest University, successfully defended her dissertation titled: "Writing the Edge of Empire: Joseph Roth's Galicia" on October 10 2016. The dissertation compares Roth's famous novel Radetzkymarsch with other ethnographic and historical writings on the Austrian province of Galicia, such as the Kronprinzenwerk and works by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Karl Emil Franzos.

Congratulations, Niki!

Joe Embler (B. A. in Russian 1983)

Up one level
Joe Embler (B. A. in Russian 1983)

 

Alumnus Joe Embler has certainly been making good use of his language skills in the real world!

Upon graduating he served in the Marines from 1983 - 2002. In the Marines he flew helicopters and was also a Foreign Area Officer - he went to the Defense Language Institute from 1990-1991 for more Russian language training, and then to the U.S. Army Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany from 1991-1992.

Joe was a translator in the Pentagon at the Washington - Moscow Direct Communications Link from 1992-1995. Then, after more flying he went back to Garmisch in 1998 - and retired from the Marines from there in 2002. After working as a Dept of Defense civilian in Garmisch from 2003-2010, he is now back at the Defense Language Institute, working as a program manager in the Afghanistan - Pakistan 'Hands' program - coordinating distance learning for Dari and Pashto language training primarily (and learning a little Dari in the process).

Charlie Smith (Russian B. A. 2015)

Up one level
Charlie Smith (Russian B. A. 2015)

Charlie Smith is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Russian modernist and post-modernist literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago, after having graduated from Penn State with a double major in both English literature and Russian language and literature. His primary area of interest involves writers such as Yuri Olesha, Daniil Kharms, and Vladimir Mayakovsky, as well as later Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian authors, including Venedikt Yerofeev and Viktor Pelevin. He is also interested in the Acmeist movement in Russian Silver-Age poetry, and specifically in the works of Nikolai Gumilev. 

Research of Lara Schwarz (German Ph.D. candidate) in the news

Up one level
Research of Lara Schwarz (German Ph.D. candidate) in the news

The research of German Ph.D. candidate Lara Schwarz recently made headline news in the Mankato Free Press of south-central Minnesota. The article, titled "Grad Student delves into the German of New Ulm," describes Schwarz's interviews with local residents to determine the varieties of German once spoken there.

Stuart McLaughlin

Up one level
Stuart McLaughlin

Stu McLaughlin (shown here in Astana, Kazakhstan with Moldir Kulamkadyr, a 2016 year Penn State graduate) is a senior at Penn State with a major in Russian and minors in Spanish and Arabic. His linguistic interests led him to begin studying Russian in addition to his Spanish and Arabic classes. After a year spent studying Russian at Penn State, Stu spent the summer of his sophomore year enrolled in advanced language courses in Saint Petersburg; his study was supported by the FLAS fellowship.  Since then he has been an active member of the Penn State Association of Students in Russian, as well as a teaching assistant for beginner to intermediate level Russian courses. His aspirations for an international career in translation include working as a professional interpreter for dignitaries and Foreign Service work in U.S. Embassies with a specialization in Eastern European and Central Eurasian language and culture. In 2016 Stu received another FLAS fellowship and spent the summer at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, studying Russian, Kazakh, and translation theory. This fall, Stu will be continuing his studies at Penn State and begin adapting his linguistic skills towards a career in professional translation and interpretation.