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2019 Student Marshal Celeste Belknap (Russian B.A.) Receives the Paul Axt Prize

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2019 Student Marshal Celeste Belknap (Russian B.A.) Receives the Paul Axt Prize

Celeste Belknap, the 2019 Student Marshal of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, has won the Paul Axt Award. Celeste is graduating with a double major in Russian and Violin Performance and a minor in Psychology.  The Paul Axt Award is conferred by the Schreyer Honors College to the graduating senior who best exemplifies breadth and depth of intellectual achievement. It is thus one of the most prestigious awards for undergraduate intellectual achievement at Penn State.

Celeste has won many other awards. Her paper on Pushkin and 20th-century Soviet composer Dmitry Shostakovich earned her the 2018-19 Marjorie Jane Brewster Memorial Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship given by the Penn State School of Music.  This scholarship supports one year of graduate study at any accredited institution of higher learning or conservatory of the student’s choice.  Celeste will spend the coming year as an M.A. student at Penn State’s School of Music after spending the summer in Moscow, where she will be conducting archival research.

Celeste's thesis adviser was Dr. Adrian Wanner. She has chosen Dr. Irina Mikaelian as her Faculty Marshal.

German Major Marta Millar on her internship for Eucor and the University of Freiburg

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German Major Marta Millar on her internship for Eucor and the University of Freiburg

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.”

2018 Student Marshal Neil Shook Neil Shook receives a USTA Teaching Assistantship to Austria

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2018 Student Marshal Neil Shook Neil Shook receives a USTA Teaching Assistantship to Austria

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!

 

Lori Feathers (B. A. Russian 1990) Honored as GSLL Distinguished Alumna

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Lori Feathers (B. A. Russian 1990) Honored as GSLL Distinguished Alumna

Lori Feathers was honored as our Distnguished Alumna at the Department Awards Ceremony on 17 April. Her visit to Penn State University Park included reconnecting with her very first Russian teacher, Irene Hurd, who still teaches the language at the Altoona campus.

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

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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

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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

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'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.

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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)

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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)

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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.