German Graduate Alumni

Lauren Brooks

  • PhD, German Literature and Culture, 2018
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of German, Highpoint University

Lauren Brooks is currently a Teaching Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. Dr. Brooks received her PhD in German Studies from the Pennsylvania State University in 2018 with a dissertation titled, “Kafka goes to New York: Reading Kafka in Seinfeld’s America.” Her research focuses on the Kafka’s absurdist treatment of authority and respect across his corpus by analyzing his humor through the U.S. situation comedy Seinfeld. For the past nine years, she has taught a range of German language curriculum from Novice to Advanced, including writing-intensive, conversation, and literature and cultural studies courses. Dr. Brooks also spent close to seven years working and living in the city of Bremen, Germany. She loves to talk about her experiences in Bremen, so when you see her, ask her about her time there! Dr. Brooks enjoys cooking, traveling, and playing with her three cats. In her free time, she also runs and teaches LesMills group fitness classes. Fun Fact: Dr. Brooks starred in a German reality cooking show titled Das perfekte Dinner. There are so many things one can do with a foreign language!

Josh Brown

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2011
  • Associate Professor of German, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Josh Brown (PhD, German and Linguistics, 2011) is associate professor of German at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He researches heritage languages in the United States and has authored articles on the Amish, Hutterites, and Somali refugees. In addition, he has published articles on proficiency and assessment for language learning classrooms. With Simon Bronner, he co-edited Pennsylvania German Studies: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (Johns Hopkins University Press). In 2014, Brown received the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award from the American Association of Teachers of German. He has been Joseph Horner Fellow at the German Historical Institute and Kreider Fellow at Elizabethtown College. He serves as editor of H-Transnational German Studies at Michigan State University and newsletter editor for the Society for German-American Studies. Brown is currently on the board of directors for the Friends of the Max Kade Institute at UW-Madison. His professional website is:

Imke Brust

  • PhD, German Literature and Culture, 2011
  • Associate Professor and Chair of German, Harverford College

Dr. Brust’s current research project Reunification versus Reconciliation examines the role of literature and film in developing alternative public spheres in post-wall Germany and post-apartheid South Africa. Her scholarly essays engage issues of gender and race, and investigate the images of, and the tensions between, nation and state in contemporary literature, film, and visual culture.

Dr. Brust’s research and teaching interests focus on 20th and 21st German literature, film, and theater, nationalism, (post-) colonialism, globalization, European and African Studies.

Alison Eisel Hendricks

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2014
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Communicative disorders and Sciences, University at Buffalo

Alison Eisel Hendricks completed her PhD in 2014 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the University at Buffalo. Prior to her current position she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Hendricks’ directs the UB Language Learning Lab (BuffaLLLo) which conducts research on language acquisition in school-age children with and without language impairments such as Developmental Language Disorder. Dr. Hendricks’ research focuses on how children learn language from the input they hear, with a particular focus on how children who are exposed to different quantities and types of input acquire language. One line of research focuses on how bilingual children with language impairments acquire language. A second line of research focuses on acquisition of morphosyntax by children who hear Non-mainstream American English dialects, such as African American English. The goal of this research is to better understand the underlying process of language acquisition as well as to improve the identification of Developmental Language Disorder in children who speak Non-mainstream dialects.

Nick Henry

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2015
  • Assistant Professor of Second Language Studies, Department of Germanic Studies, UT Austin

After graduating in 2015, Nick joined the Baylor faculty as a Lecturer in German, where he taught in the German and Linguistics programs. In August 2018, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor of Second Language Studies in the Department of Germanic Studies. He teaches German and Linguistics courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and heads the Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Lab. His primary research focus is the interaction between second language pedagogy and sentence processing. This research centers on describing how learners process sentences and understanding the effectiveness of psycholinguistically motivated instructional techniques. He has most recently conducted studies on the acquisition of the accusative case in German, the effects of prosody in the development of a second language grammar, the acquisition of grammatical gender, and the effectiveness of Processing Instruction.

Hyoun-A Joo

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2018
  • Assistant Professor of German, Georgia Tech

Hyoun-A Joo is currently an Assistant Professor of German at Georgia Tech. She completed her Magister Artium degree in German literature and a teaching certification for German as a foreign language at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Dr. Joo taught German in Seoul, South Korea, and Berlin before coming to the U.S. for her doctorate degree. She earned her Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State University in German Applied Linguistics and Language Science.

For her dissertation, she interviewed first generation Korean immigrants in Germany to learn more about how they came to (former West) Germany and how they acquired German. The particular linguistic phenomenon she investigated was the acquisition of the asymmetric verb placement in German. Dr. Joo is interested in further exploring the intersection between language acquisition, migration, and identity.

Ines Martin

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2018
  • Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures Department, United States Naval Academy

Ines Martin is Assistant Professor of German in the Languages and Cultures Department. Her research in the field of Applied Linguistics addresses the gap between second language research findings and foreign language teaching practice with the goal to facilitate instructed Second Language Acquisition for both learners and instructors. As part of her research agenda, Dr. Martin has developed a computer-assisted method of pronunciation instruction that allows on-campus­­ learners—but also distance or online students—to improve their pronunciation of German.  Her current research focuses on the role of internal and external motivation in improving language learners’ pronunciation and explores whether peer-feedback on pronunciation is beneficial in foreign language classrooms. To support her scholarly work, Dr. Martin has received several grants (e.g., a Max Kade Fellowship or a Language Learning Dissertation Support Grant) and her research findings have been published in leading refereed journals in her field (e.g., Foreign Language Annals).

Janice McGregor

  • PhD, German Applied Linguistics, 2012
  • Assistant Professor of German, Department of German Studies, University of Arizona

Janice completed her PhD in German Applied Linguistics at Penn State in 2012. From 2012-2018, Janice worked as an assistant professor of German at Kansas State University, serving as German language program coordinator and teaching in the MA in Second Language Acquisition. Starting Fall 2018, Janice joins the Department of German Studies at the University of Arizona as an assistant professor of German, where she'll teach undergraduate and MA courses in German as well as graduate courses in the Joint PhD in Transcultural Studies and the interdisciplinary PhD program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT).

In her research, Janice examines language and intercultural learning by taking an interactionally grounded approach to the examination of how learners, teachers, and researchers deploy their multilingual resources in interaction with others, especially in contexts of study abroad. She is also interested in how they collaboratively negotiate their identities and beliefs about language learning/teaching in interaction.

Niki McInteer

  • PhD, German Literature and Culture, 2016
  • Associate Dean of Admissions, Wake Forest, University

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.

Juliane Schicker

  • PhD, German Literature and Culture, 2015
  • Assistant Professor of German, Carleton College

I grew up in East Germany (when it was still the German Democratic Republic) and earned a teaching certification for Secondary Education for German and English from the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg (Germany) in 2008. After that, I spent 18 months teaching German to students at Texas Tech University, while also getting a Master in German and a Minor in Linguistics. I enjoyed English-speaking academia and teaching college-age students and decided to get my PhD at the Pennsylvania State University in 2015 with my dissertation "The Concert Hall as Heterotopia: Sounds and Sights of Resistance in the Leipzig Gewandhaus 1970-1989." I also received the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award at Penn State. From then on, I kept spending my time with questions of artistic expressions of social change, musical engagement with socio-political issues, and the reception history of art in the GDR. My interdisciplinary research focuses on East German music, architecture, and the fine arts during the 1970s and 1980s. I have published on works of the band Rammstein, contemporary HipHop artists, and Gustav Mahler, and have been working on projects about the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the reception of Mahler in East Germany, and Rammstein's new song "Deutschland." My next project will move from classical to popular music and trace the work of female rock musicians in the GDR.

Lara Schwarz

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2019
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Linguistics, Technische Universität (TU) Dortmund

My research interests include language contact, heritage languages, modeling linguistic processing, language attrition, and the gradience of the (morpho)syntax-semantics interface.

Lieselotte Sippel

  • PhD, German and Linguistics, 2017
  • Lector of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University

Before joining Yale’s German Department in 2018, Liese Sippel taught all levels of German language classes at New York University, The Pennsylvania State University, Middlebury College, and the Goethe-Institut. Her research interests include instructed second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy.

Adam Toth

  • PhD, German Literature and Culture, 2017
  • Visiting Assistant Professor Roanoke College

Nina Vyatkina

  • PhD, German Applied Linguistics, 2007
  • Professor, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Kansas

Nina Vyatkina graduated with a PhD in German, Applied Linguistics option, in 2007 and immediately started working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013 and to Professor beginning August 2018. She has also been serving as department chair since 2016. She has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate German and Applied Linguistics courses and directed several dissertations. Prof. Vyatkina’s research interests include instructed second language acquisition, corpus-based language learning and teaching, and learner corpus research. Her articles on these topics have appeared in leading Applied Linguistics journals. She is a co-recipient of the 2009 Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education.  She serves on the Executive Board of the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) and the Editorial Boards of Language Learning & Technology and International Journal of Learner Corpus Research. Prof. Vyatkina gave twelve invited talks in seven countries beyond the US, and she has been collaborating on international projects with German scholars from the University of Tübingen and Humboldt-University in Berlin, where she spent the 2014 fall semester as a U.S. Fulbright scholar.

German Undergraduate Alumni

Lori Feathers

  • Lawyer

Lori Feathers (1990) is a lawyer and a bookstore owner.

Janel Galvanek

  • BA in German
  • MA in Germanistik from Georgetown University
  • Master’s degree from the University of Hamburg

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!

Vance Holthenrichs

  • Double Major in Russian and German

Vance Holthenrichs (2018) double majored in Russian and German. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics at the University of Indiana Bloomington.

Devin McCoy

  • Teaching English at the Hermann-Allmers-Schule

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.

Marta Millar

  • Triple major in German, History, and International Politics

Marta Millar (triple major in German, History, and International Politics) is completing an internship at the German Consulate in New York City during the summer of 2018. She reflects on her experience:

"Interning in the liaison office for the University of Freiburg and Eucor has been a truly wonderful experience, and I have learned a lot through the many opportunities I have been exposed to while here at the German consulate general in New York. I have enjoyed using and improving my German skills in the work environment, as well as reconnecting with Uni-Freiburg, where I previously studied abroad. My work here has included promoting areas of research focus at Eucor such as precision medicine through event organization, and alumni development for Uni-Freiburg here in the United States. It was exciting to have the chance to get to know many Freiburg alumni, and even meet with and interview several impressive alumni for spotlights on Uni-Freiburg’s website. Most of all, I have enjoyed the up-close experience of fostering German-American relations and discovering the multitude of organizations here in the United States that focus on furthering this transatlantic partnership, because it has made me realize how many doors studying German has opened up in my future.”

Neil Shook

  • Double Major in Math and German
  • 2018 Student Marshal

Neil Shook, who will graduate in May 2018 with a double major in Math and German and a minor in Linguistics, has received a USTA Teaching Assistantship to teach English in Weiz, Austria, starting in Fall 2018. Neil will also serve as the Departmental Marshal for the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at May graduation. Congratulations, Neil!

Slavic Alumni

Celeste Belknap

  • Double major in Russian and Violin Performance
  • 2019 Student Marshal

Celeste Belknap (2019) graduated with a double major in Russian and Violin Performance and a minor in Psychology. Currently, she is an M.A. student at Penn State’s School of Music.

David Cooper, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor

Dr. David Cooper received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Jason Cornelius

  • Major in Aerospace Engineering
  • Minor in Russan

Jason Cornelius (2018) graduated with a major in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Russian. Currently, he is continuing his studies in Aerospace Engineering and Russian as a Ph.D. at Penn State.

Joe Embler

  • Program Manager
  • B.A. in Russian

Joe Embler (1983) graduated with a B.A. in Russian. In 1983-2002, he served honorably in the Marine Corps. Upon his retirement, he worked at the U.S. Army Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany, and now he works at the Defense Language Institute as a program manager in the Afghanistan-Pakistan 'Hands' Program, coordinating distance learning initiatives.

Lori Feathers

  • Lawyer

Lori Feathers (1990) is a lawyer and a bookstore owner.

Tracey Follis

  • Stewardess

Tracey Follis (1992) works as a stewardess in airline industry now!

Felix Friedman

  • Business

Felix Friedman (1995) works in business on Wall St.

Andrew Fronheiser

  • Major in Russian
  • Air Force ROTC

Andrew Fronheiser (2019) studied Russian at Penn State as an Air Force ROTC student. Upon graduation, he was commission by the Air Force and is currently training to be an Intel Officer in the United States Air Force in San Angelo, Texas.

Sarah Harpending

  • Partnerships and Grants Officer

Sarah Harpending (1993) is a Partnerships and Grants Officer at Collateral Repair Project in Amman, Jordan.

Vance Holthenrichs

  • Double Major in Russian and German

Vance Holthenrichs (2018) double majored in Russian and German. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics at the University of Indiana Bloomington.

Oksana Hosieva

  • Ph.D. candidate

Oksana Husieva is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas.

Irene Hurd

  • Lecturer in Russian, Penn State Altoona

Irene Hurd (1970) is a Russian instructor at PSU, Altoona campus.

Roman Ivashkiv, Ph.D.

  • Lecturer in Slavic Languages
  • Language Program Coordinator

Dr. Roman Ivashkiv received his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta and is currently a lecturer in Slavic languages and literatures and language program coordinator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nicholas Karakos

  • Director of Shared Services

Nicholas Karakos (2006) received a degree from the the law school at PSU and is now a Director of Shared Services Bellevue, WA.

Daniel Keifer

  • Major in Russian

Daniel Keifer (2017) graduated with a major in Russian and spent a year in Bulgaria on a Fulbright. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in History at the Georgetown University. His thesis project focuses on labor relations within the energy industries of the Former Soviet Union.

Emily Kohlman

  • Major in Russian

Emily Kohlman (2018) was a Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar and graduated with a double major in Journalism and Russian. Upon graduation, she spent a year in Czech Republic on a Fulbright teaching English.

Oksana Lushchevska, Ph.D.

  • Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas

Oksana Lushchevska received her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia Oksana Husieva is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas.

Tammy Marpoe

  • Insurance Coordinator

Tammy Marpoe (1995) went to Temple University Law School after PSU and is currently an Insurance Coordinator at The Ophthalmology and Surgical Institute of Central Pennsylvania.

Stuart McLaughlin

  • Double Major in Russian and Spanish

Stuart McLaughlin (2017) double majored in Russian and Spanish. After graduation, he spent a year in Azerbaijan on a Fulbright. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Slavic and Central Asian Studies at Stanford University. His thesis deals with the modern-day political influence of the newly independent Turkic states and how the concept of identity connected to native languages and educational policy changes.

Joseph Nakpil

  • Double Major in Russian and Comparative Literature

Joseph Nakpil (2015) graduated with a double major in Comparative Literature and Russian. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD at The University of Southern California in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Jennifer Neumyer

  • Director of Public Library

Jennifer Neumyer (1993) was a director of public library in MD Dr.

Natalia Nigay

  • Double Major in Russian and Aerospace Engineering

Natalia Nigay (2018) graduated with a double major in Russian and Aerospace Engineering. Currently, she is pursuing an M.A. degree in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State.

Maureen Gramaglia Passey

  • Primary Patent Examiner

Maureen Gramaglia Passey (2001) is a Primary Patent Examiner at USPTO Seattle, WA.

Jeffrey Daniel Pawola

  • Client Solutions Manager

Jeffrey Daniel Pawola (2013) is Client Solutions Manager.

Mykola Polyuha, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor

Dr. Mykola Polyuha received his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario and is an Associate Professor at Bloomsburg State University.

Erika Pugh

  • Analyst - BDT Capital Partners
  • Double Major in Finance and Russian

Erika Pugh (2019) graduated as a Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar with degrees in Finance and Russian. Currently, she is an Analyst in the Investment Professionals Division of BDT & Company / BDT Capital Partners, based in Chicago, IL.

Dr. Madhury Ray

  • Senior Analyst at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Madhury Ray (2004) has received a Fulbright and participated in the Orange Revolution in Kyiv upon graduating from PSU. After that, she received a doctorate in medicine and worked as an emergency room surgeon at UCLA hospital. Recently she also received a degree in health/hospital administration from Harvard and is now Senior Analyst at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Angelique Reynolds

  • TOEFL instructor

Angelique Reynolds (2004) is a TOEFL instructor last at the University of Indiana.

Kristina Shigaeva

  • Account Executive

Kristina Shigaeva (2012) has received an MA at Emerson College and is now working as an Account Executive at Civilian in San Diego.

Charlie Smith

  • B.A. in Russian

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.

Alexander Sukhovatitsyn

  • Director of Social Security Office

Alexander Sukhovatitsyn (2008) is the director of social security office in State College.

Svetlana Sukhovatitsyn (2011) is working in D.C. for a non-profit.

Christopher Summa

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science

Christopher Summa (1993) is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of New Orleans.

Oksana Tatsyak

  • Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto

Oksana Tatsyak is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto.

Olha Tytarenko, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Teaching Professor

Dr. Olha Tytarenko received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and is now an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Nebraska.

Olesia Wallo, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Olesia Wallo received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas.

Sophie Wisniewski

  • Retired

Dr. Sophie Wisniewski (1974) is a retired university president and administrator.

Ana Alicia Wondoloski

  • Senior Grants Officer

Ana Alicia Wondoloski (2011) is a Senior Grants Officer National Endowment for Democracy.

Brian Zdancevicz

  • Double Major in Russian and Linguistics

Brian Zdancevicz (2017) double majored in Russian and Linguistics and was our GSLL Marshal. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Slavic Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

James Zevchak

  • Nuclear Power Plant Inspector

James Zevchak (1996) is a nuclear power plant inspector.