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).
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!
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.
Christine Gardner successfully defended her dissertation, "The Production of Read and Conversational Speech by L1 and L2 Speakers of German," in the Spring 2016 semester and received her Ph.D. in May. Her dissertation investigates, through the lens of word duration, how L2 German speakers produce the different speech styles of read and conversational speech. Shortening or lengthening words depending on various contexts is a strong indicator of native competency in a language.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Joseph Nakpil (class of 2015) finished his undergraduate degree with a double major in Comparative Literature and Russian.He studied abroad several times (including to the Republic of Georgia and the Czech Republic), and studied many languages (including Chinese and Turkish), but eventually found Russian to be his mainstay. He is currently pursuing his PhD at The University of Southern California in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.