Department ofGermanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures



October 3, 2023

Sydney McQuiggan, who graduated with a B.A. in German in August 2023, and Megan Wadas, a current Ph.D. student in German linguistics/applied linguistics, were selected to participate in the Fulbright U.S. Teaching Assistant Program for 2023-2024. As part of this program, they will teach English in Austrian secondary schools. Megan will live and teach in Feldkirch, located in the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg. Sydney will live and teach in Gmünd, located near the German border in the province of Lower Austria. Both Sydney and Megan recently completed their orientation week and will begin teaching soon! Congratulations to Sydney and Megan for receiving these competitive awards and we wish them a rewarding year abroad!




September 25, 2023

On Thursday, September 14, the screening of a unique Ukrainian documentary film A Rising Fury (2022, Ukraine) took place at The State Theatre, University Park, followed by a master class on filming in hostile environments for the students in Film and Media Studies, Bellisario College (class of Catharine Axley). The State Theatre distributed 123 tickets (free for sponsoring departments), and the audience fitting 544 seats appeared half full, at least from the stage: a remarkable success considering the modest advertising campaign.

A Rising Fury documents nine years of Russia’s war against Ukraine, from the Revolution of Dignity on the Maidan Square of Independence in Kyiv in 2013-2014, Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea and part of Donbas in 2014, up to and including Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, with several trips to the front lines. The film director Lesya Kalynska (US-Ukraine) and producer T. J. Collins (US) were present during the Q&A session. The film was co-produced by Jonathan Borge Lie (Norway) and co-directed by Ruslan Batytsky (Ukraine).

The film was selected for 11 international festivals and received multiple awards, the latest being “Best Documentary,” “Best Film Director, and “Top Jury Award” at the Melbourn International Film Festival in Australia.

Left to right: Yelena Zotova, Lesya Kalynska, T. J. Collins, and State College Mayor Ezra Nanes opening the screening of A Rising Fury at The                                                                                        State Theatre, University Park, September 14, 2023. Photo credit: Yuliya Ladygina.

The proceeds from the ticket sales and direct donations are being split between two Ukrainian charities that make a difference: Dignitas Fund (Litai initiative) to help rehabilitate the wounded Ukrainian defenders, and Save Ukraine Foundation, to help return kidnapped Ukrainian children from Russia and accommodate the Ukrainian families affected by Russia’s war.

State College Mayor Ezra Nanes delivered an address to the audience before the screening, calling on them to stand firmly with Ukraine in its fight for freedom and democracy.

The filmmakers also attended Dr. Snyder’s talk on the Dilemmas of Democracy at The State Theatre on Monday, September 18, and engaged in a brief conversation with him. Both Snyder and Kalynska travelled from Ukraine just a few days ago and wore vyshyvankas, the embroidered Ukrainian national shorts, to the event. “I held back tears when [Dr. Snyder] spoke about Ukraine’s existential battle,” Kalynska reported.  








This screening and film workshop was spearheaded by Dr. Yelena Zotova, GSLL, and sponsored by the Woskob Endowement for Ukrainian Studies, The Penn State Ukrainian Society, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Film and Media Studies, Bellisario College of Communication, Department of Journalism, Bellisario College of Communications, Humanities Institute, the Center for Global Studies, and Global and International Studies Program. The filmmakers thank Dr. Michael Naydan, Dr. Carrie Jackson, Dr. Maura Shea, Dr. Yulia Ladygina, Dr. Catherine Axley, Dr. John Affleck, Dr. John Christman, Dr. Krista Brune, Dr. Kaitlin Lovejoy, the student President of the Penn State Ukrainian Society Ihor Latsanych, GSLL staff William Whitesmith, and many more people who made this event possible.

Students readily provided their feedback, oral and written, to the film and class, commenting on what they have learned. Prior to watching the film, many students did not know that Crimea and Donbas were parts of Ukraine, and that the war lasts almost ten years by now. As one student put it, the experience of watching the film was “tough but real.”

Kalynska and Collins greatly enjoyed their stay at the University Park, finding the campus beautiful and the overall atmosphere inspiring. They were pleased to meet with multiple faculty members and students for meals, discussions, and brainstorming sessions. The topic that came up the most was that of the future: the future of Ukraine, the United States, and the world. “They asked how to stop Russia, how to stop this war.” Kalynska said. The filmmakers emphasized the importance of communicating with the Penn State students “as they are the people who will decide the world’s future.”


                                                                                 The filmmakers of A Rising Fury admire the Penn State campus pond. Photo credit: Lesya Kalynska


April 10, 2023

April 18, 2023

Perspectives on Ukraine. Reception at 3 dots on April 18, 5-8pm. Enjoy free Ukrainian food and mocktails! Learn more about the war in Ukraine and engage with the community through an exhibit of student videos and other projects about current events in Ukraine.
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April 10, 2023

April 17, 2023

Please join us for the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures for our annual awards ceremony. In person in the Garden Room at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on April 17 at 3:30pm. We will recognize undergraduate and graduate student awardees for the Spring Semester as well as our two Alumni Award winnters Jaz Azari (Class of 2006) and Carey Barnes (Class of 1982).
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July 28, 2022


The book is available at the publisher’s website:–9781509556380

It is also available at Amazon and other Internet booksellers and will soon be available in local booktores:

The list of current reviews includes:

The Sydney Morning Herald (July 5, 2022):

The Washington Post (July 15, 2022):

The Guardian (June 26, 2022):

The Irish Times (July 3, 2022):

The Week (July 8, 2022):

Kirkus Review (July 25, 2022):

Press Reader (June 30, 2022):;

Diplomatic Courier (July 2, 2022): The

Times (UK July 5, 2022):


April 22, 2022

In person at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

April 25, 2022

4:00 pm

Alumni Award: Carolyn Mudrinich Weiss (Class of 1981)

“The importance of learning a language for your career”

Carolyn Mudrinich Weiss has been a chief financial and investment officer at foundations for the past 15 years. She leads teams responsible for investments, finance, taxation, and technology. She has built investment and technology platforms for foundations with sophisticated needs, with assets under management ranging from $200 million to $4 billion. Early in her career, Carolyn was a vice president at Deutsche Bank and senior manager at KPMG and worked in both New York City and Germany for both firms. Carolyn holds a B.A. in German from Penn State.

GSLL 2022 Awards Ceremony Program_04.25.22

March 2, 2022

The Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the Pennsylvania State University condemns Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine. We insist on the preservation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the safety of its inhabitants. We resoundingly reject the false accusations and historical distortions that the Russian government and its media have used to justify the war against Ukraine. Russia’s flagrant violations of international law and human rights must be rebuked. We are profoundly troubled that by invading Ukraine Russia has placed the world in a precarious condition that threatens to escalate globally so that the stability and security of all nations is now under threat. We urge all concerned citizens of the world to petition their government representatives to rebuke Russia’s assault on a sovereign democracy and to aid the Ukrainian people in their hour of need. We are committed to educating future generations about Ukrainian and Russian languages, literatures, and cultures, so that they may understand the vital role that the national cultures of Eastern Europe play in the modern world. Please join the department in speaking out publicly.


Катедра германських та слав’янських мов та літератур Пенсільванського державного універитету засуджує неспровоковану російську війну Росiї проти України. Ми наполягаємо на збереженні суверенітету України та безпеки її мешканців. Ми категорично відкидаємо брехливі звинувачення та спотворювання історії, що їх застосовано російським урядом та ЗМІ для виправдання війни проти України. Кричучому порушенню Росiєю міжнародного права та порушенню прав людини має бути дано відсіч. Ми глибоко занепокоєні тим, що в наслідок вторгнення в Україну Росія поставила увесь світ під загрозу глобального конфлікту і наразила на небезпеку стабільність і безпеку всіх народiв землі. Ми закликаємо усiх небайдужих громадян світу звернутися з петиціями до представників своїх урядів із закликом засудити російський напад на суверенну демократію та допомогти українцям у цей скрутний для них час. Ми залишаємось віддані нашій справі підготовки майбутніх поколінь фахівців у галузі слов’янських та, насамперед, української та російської мов, літератур та культур й вихованню в них розуміння важливої ролі, яку культура Східної Європи відіграє в сучасному світі. Закликаємо вас долучитися до нашої катедри, щоб відкрито висловити ваш протест.


Кафедра германских и славянских языков Пенсильванского государственного университета осуждает неспровоцированную войну России против Украины. Мы настаиваем на сохранении суверенитета Украины и безопасности её жителей. Мы категорически отвергаем ложные обвинения и искажения истории, используемые российским правительством и СМИ для оправдания войны против Украины. Вопиющему нарушению Россией международного права и прав человека должен быть дан отпор. Мы глубоко обеспокоены тем, что, вторгнувшись в Украину, Россия поставила весь мир под угрозу глобального конфликта и подвергла опасности стабильность и безопасность всех народов земли. Мы призываем всех неравнодушных граждан мира обращаться с петициями к своим правительствам, требуя осудить российское нападение на суверенную демократию и поддержать украинцев в это тяжелое для них время. Мы остаемся преданы нашему делу подготовки будущих поколений специалистов в области славянских и, прежде всего, украинского и русского языков, литератур и культур и воспитанию в них понимания важнейшей роли, которую культура Восточной Европы играет в современном мире. Призываем вас присоединиться к нашей кафедре и открыто выразить ваш протест.


Die Abteilung für germanische and slavische Sprachen und Literaturen an der staatlichen Universität von Pennsylvanien verurteilt Russlands grundlosen Krieg gegen die Ukraine.  Wir bestehen auf der Bewahrung der ukrainischen Souveränität und der Sicherheit der ukrainischen Bevölkerung.  Wir verurteilen ausdrücklich die falschen Anschuldigungen und Geschichtsklitterungen, mit denen die russische Regierung und ihre Medien den Krieg gegen die Ukraine rechtfertigen.  Russlands flagrante Verletzung von internationalem Recht und Menschenrechten muss zurückgewiesen werden.  Wir sind tief besorgt darüber, dass Russland mit der Invasion der Ukraine die Welt in eine prekäre Lage gebracht hat, die durch eine drohende globale Eskalation die Stabilität und Sicherheit aller Nationen gefährdet.  Wir rufen alle besorgten Bürger der Welt dazu auf, ihre Regierungsvertreter zu ersuchen, Russlands Angriff auf eine souveräne Demokratie zu verurteilen und den Menschen in der Ukraine in dieser schweren Stunde zu Hilfe zu kommen.  Wir verpflichten uns dazu, die kommenden Generationen in ukrainischer und russischer Sprache, Literatur und Kultur auszubilden, damit sie die bedeutende Rolle der nationalen Kulturen Osteuropas in der modernen Welt verstehen.  Schließen Sie sich bitte unserem öffentlichen Aufruf an.



March 2, 2022

A World in View facilitated by Daniel Purdy (Penn State) and presented by Jürgen Overhoff (German Green Candidate and Professor, University of Muenster)

Professor Jürgen Overhoff will compare German and American environmental policy today while showing that worry about the impact humans have on nature has long been part of Pennsylvania history. Benjamin Franklin, the founding father, was very concerned about the dangers of man-made climate change and was focused on sustainability. As a scientist, he cultivated a deep understanding of natural processes and warned that it humans interfered with the natural world, we had to be “very circumspect lest we do more harm than Good.” His concerns can form the basis for American and German environmental policy as we face the risks of modern science in the Anthropocene.

Please note: Registration for events in this series is required and, given the topics and speakers, we anticipate interest to be high. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged for all. Schreyer Scholar attendees will receive a complimentary electronic gift card; to be eligible, Scholars must pre-register in advance). Link to RSVP:

Event Contact

Sarah Lyall-Combs