Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures


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Around the World of MFLL – Student Features

Alex Brito (with Loren Lee) organized “French Connections at UTK”

French Connections (hosted by Pi Delta Phi: The French Honors Society) was a weeklong foray into French and francophone cultures featuring specialists in the sciences, international business, and opportunities abroad.  Inspiration for the week came from Dr. Sébastien Dubreil, Associate Professor of French and Director of UT’s Language and World Business Program, who expressed interest in having a day devoted to connecting students with the greater French community.  MFLL students Alex Brito and Loren Lee decided that the project could be extended to a full week to better celebrate the many facets of world language study.  Speakers included French scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, students, professors, and governmental representatives, giving students the opportunity to understand the value of foreign language study by creating networks both locally and globally. The hope is that more students will incorporate international studies into their undergraduate experience regardless of their discipline.  Pi Delta Phi will continue the French Connections tradition next year.

Loren Lee is a senior of the Chancellor’s Honors Program majoring in English Literature and French and Francophone Studies.  As the current president of Pi Delta Phi, she has enjoyed playing a role in representing her department as well as encouraging her peers to continue language study.  After graduating this May, Loren plans to pursue a Masters in Secondary English and World Language Education here at UT.

Alex Brito is a sophomore Haslam Scholar with a concentration in French, Neuroscience, and Neurolinguistics through the College Scholars Program. As the Communications and Outreach Officer of Pi Delta Phi, Alex’s enthusiasm about French Connections came from her interest in Second Language Acquisition and the cognitive benefits that come from foreign language study.  She looks forward to studying in Paris this summer through the prestigious and highly selective Duke Neurohumanities Program.

 

Alexandra Campbell will join global company Avery Denison

Alexandra Campbell is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in French Language & Literature as well as Marketing with a collateral in Supply Chain Management. She has taken 300- and 400-level French classes since her freshman year at the University of Tennessee. Following graduation this May, she will begin a global leadership development role within the corporation of Avery Dennison, a company that acquires higher revenue globally than domestically here in the United States. This corporation was interested in Alexandra due to her knowledge in culture and language studies, which will help her better acclimate to foreign cultures of business. This year she has been doing an independent study with Dr. Mary McAlpin researching the role of women within the corporate world of France and contrasting the nature of their interactions with those of businesswomen in America. Alexandra says she “finds it fascinating how different the two cultures of business are and the different paths that women have taken in order to achieve success for women’s rights.” 

 

Kacton Devoti and Kalissa Ervin will complete internships at VW Chattanooga this summer

UT’s German program has been cultivating relationships with VW Chattanooga throughout the Spring 2015 semester—among other things, Dr. Stefanie Ohnesorg’s course on sustainability traveled to the plant to see how a “green” company does business in Tennessee. Kacton and Kalissa are the first two students to take advantage of VW’s paid summer internships for students with German language skills. Kacton, a transfer student, first fell in love with German language and culture while living with a host family during a high school exchange. His experiences there and the connections he made with his host family inspired him to pursue career options related to Germany. Kacton reports, “the funny thing is, my host mother once told me I should work for Volkswagen. But now I actually have the opportunity through this summer internship. I could not be more excited, or humbled to get this experience with such an astounding organization. UT’s German Department has put in such hard work to make this relationship with VW Chattanooga happen.” Kacton has continued to develop his German at UT and is now taking 400-level courses. 

​            Kalissa’s interest in German began in high school; instead of choosing French or Spanish, she decided to take German because she loved its complexity. She came to UT planning to minor in German and major in Biology, but she found that she wanted to take more German courses than were required for a minor, and so she switched to German, even though completing all of the necessary course work in her final two years was a challenge. She was rewarded by her success in obtaining one of the VW internships. Kacton and Kalissa are looking forward to the opportunity to gain real-life work experience that will help them achieve their goals; they both are eager to work hard and see what further opportunities open up for them as a result of their internship experiences with VW.

 

Desiree Dube wins Critical Language Scholarship

            Desiree, a junior in Russian Studies, received a prestigious Critical Language Scholarship sponsored by the US Department of State. The program’s stated goal is “broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries.” This highly competitive award will send Desiree to Kazan, Russia for two months in summer 2015.

 

Alyssa Green takes her studies of Arabic and political science to Morocco

Alyssa is a political science major and philosophy minor who hopes to add an Arabic minor to her program of study. Her Arabic professors’ personal knowledge of the language and culture of the Middle East solidified her interest in going beyond the language requirement and in connecting her study of Arabic to her major. As Alyssa puts it, after taking Dr. Drew Paul and Hassan Lachheb’s courses, “rather than just being a problem for America that had to be solved, the countries of the Middle East and North Africa began to stand out in their own right.” This new understanding led her to switch her career aspirations from a focus on domestic issues and security to international relations and diplomacy. Studying abroad is the logical next step for Alyssa to improve her proficiency in language and culture, and Morocco was the best option for her interests. She will spend the fall in Meknes studying Arabic and international relations, and she plans to visit more Arabic countries—and also learn Persian—when she attends graduate school.

 

Catherine Greer has presented research at conferences across the Southeast

         Catherine, a PhD student concentrating in German, has been developing an active research agenda based on her interests in twentieth-century German culture and music. In November she presented a paper titled “Brundibár and Spiritual Resistance: Redeeming the Past through Consoling Stories” at a conference in Florida sponsored by the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University, and in February she participated in the Southeastern German Studies Workshop, presenting a paper titled “Jonny spielt auf: Blackface in the Weimar Republic.” With fellow PhD student Joy Hancock, Catherine formed a panel titled “Exploring the Range: Musical Forms and Political Provocation on German and American Theater Stages” at the Society for Ethnomusicology Southeastern/Carribean Region, which was held at UT in March. Dr. Maria Stehle (Associate Professor of German) led the panel. A paper Catherine submitted to the Student Research Contest in Music at UT won second place; she will continue the research project begun in this paper this May, travling to Prague and Terezin on a Fellowship from the Rafael Schächter Institute for Arts and Humanities. She will also present a paper this fall at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society.

 

Carol Miselem, 2015 Outstanding Graduate in French and Francophone Studies

Carol pursued a double major in French and aerospace engineering. She has studied French for 10 years and did a semester abroad in Nantes. Carol’s interest in the importance of global-mindedness in engineering and science is long-standing; she worked with Dr. Sébastien Dubreil to develop this interest into a thesis project titled “History and Analysis of French Contributions to Space Exploration,” which traces the events that lead to the creation of the European Space Agency and analyzes France’s current international partnerships in the realm of space exploration. After graduation, she will be working at NASA mission control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as a flight controller for the International Space Station. Carol says that “after doing a thesis on space exploration, it feels a little surreal knowing that I’m about to become a part of it all!”  

 

Kelsey Ray pursues a career as a translator

Kelsey, a member of the College Scholars Program, has developed a program of study in comparative literature, linguistics, and translation, allowing her to explore many of the languages offered in MFLL alongside courses in English and linguistics. Her emphasis on German and Russian led her to study abroad in Marburg, Germany in spring 2014, and she also taught English in Ryazan, Russia, for six weeks in summer 2013. She has enriched her language skills with the study of not only Russian and German literature, but Arabic as well. In fall 2014 she received a grant from a generous donor to MFLL, Melissa Field (who is a professional translator) to attend the American Translator’s Association Conference, and she will pursue translation as a career after she graduates this spring. She will be applying to volunteer at an online news agency called Watching America, which translates articles about the United States from other languages into English—the site’s tagline is “Discover What the World Thinks of U.S.” Kelsey plans to attend graduate school eventually, but before that she has plans to live in Pune, India, where she will work on her language skills and focus on freelance translation.  

 

Paige Scrivener awarded Prestigious Boren Scholarship

Paige Scrivener, a student of Chinese in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures, has been awarded the nationally competitive 2015 National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Scholarship. This scholarship will enable Paige to spend up to a year in China to continue her studies in Chinese language and culture. She is presently the departmental student ambassador to the Confucius Institute and a previous Critical Languages Scholarship recipient.

 

Paige Winter teaches Italian in Knox County after school programs

Paige is a junior in the Biochemistry and Cellular Molecular Biology Department who is minoring in Italian. Once a week, for her practical internship, she goes to Farragut Primary School to teach an hour-long lesson to students in the after school care program. These lessons consist of an interactive presentation, student activities, and the preparation of an Italian related food. Each lesson is based on a specific aspect of Italian culture (holidays, cuisine, daily life, etc.) and incorporates related vocabulary. Paige is in the process of expanding her program to other languages in MFLL and to other primary schools, hoping to allow other upper-level language students to participate in internships like hers. She is passionate about teaching others the value of learning and appreciating different languages and cultures and she looks forward to implementing her program next year.

 

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