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Student News

Graduate Students Develop and Publish New Journal

On April 15, 2016, students published the first issue of Vernacular: New Connections in Language, Literature, & Culture, a journal organized by the graduate students of MFLL. It is dedicated to sharing current academic investigations and creative works of graduate students in comparable disciplines from universities across the globe. The first issue was edited by Haley L. Osborne (Editor-in-Chief) and Melanie LaFoy (Associate Editor) and is available at For the second issue, which will appear in spring 2017, Nicholas Portugal will be taking over as Editor-in-Chief with Catherine Greer as Associate Editor.

Mark Hipshire Pursuing Master's Degree in Europe

Mark Hipshire, a French major, will begin the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment, and Society. It is a two-year master's degree program created by a consortium comprised of the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban, Scotland, the University of Crete in Crete, Greece, and the University of Nantes in Nantes, France. Mark will spend at least one semester at each location. The program is designed to address the major scientific, technological, and social obstacles facing the aquaculture industry and to promote sustainable development of aqua-farming.

Erika Knowles Presented at the Midwest Slavics Conference

Erika Knowles, a Russian major and philosophy minor, presented at the Midwest Slavics Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Her paper, called "The Silent Role of Christ in 'The Grand Inquisitor': Praise without Praise," examines the structure of a chapter from The Brothers Karamazov, which she links to a tradition found in religious philosophy and to Dostoevsky's emphasis on the idea of freedom in his works. This is an early step in her plan to pursue a doctorate Russian in the future.

Rachel Floyd and Houston McClure Teaching English in Lille, France

Rachel Floyd and Houston McClure, who are both graduating in May 2016 with a master's degree in French, will spend next year in Lille, France at the University of Lille 3. There they will teach English to students enrolled in the French university.

Xylina Marshall Participating in VoluntarItaly

Xylina Marshall, a major in Italian and World Business, will participate in the program VoluntarItaly for the summer of 2016. VoluntarItaly is sponsored by the Michigan chapter of the worldwide organization— the Dante Alighieri Society. VoluntarItaly is a program that recruits students studying Italian to serve as counselors at church-run summer camps. She will spend part of June and July assisting with the recreational and educational activities of the camps while living in an Italian household. She is excited to have an opportunity to practice her language skills and become more familiar with Northern Italian culture. 

Matthew Blair Admitted to Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh

Matthew Blair, a French major, will pursue a master's degree and doctorate in French at the University of Pittsburgh, with concentrations in medieval studies as well as gender and sexuality studies. He began studying Latin in high school and then moved into French when he entered UT. He also spent a semester abroad in Grenoble, France.

Brooke Tybush and Rachel Floyd Develop Language Learning Video Game

Brooke Tybush and Rachel Floyd, both master's degree students in the French program, spearheaded the creation of a video game designed to support French learning at the elementary level. Working with professors in the French and Graphic Design departments, they created a story narrative and then assembled a team of undergraduate students who researched French culture, designed the artwork, and coded the game, learning French in the process. They developed a working model of the game for the fall semester of 2015 and it has since been tested by students in French classes. They and their faculty collaborators, Cary Staples (professor of graphic design in the School of Art) and Sébastian Dubriel (professor of French in MFLL) have been invited to present this project at the CALICO conference in May 2016.

Randi Paige Winter Applies Italian Language and Culture in Healthcare Research

Randi Paige Winter, a biochemistry & cellular and molecular biology major and Italian minor, will attend Quillen College of Medicine in the fall of 2016. While at UT she studied abroad in Urbino, Italy, and conducted an internship with a local elementary school to teach young children about Italian language and culture. She is president of the Italian Club, where she hosts weekly meetings with fellow members and faculty to collectively plan volunteer projects, campus events, and community outreach programs. She wrote her honors thesis on the differences between Italian and US healthcare systems, with the goal of showing what the United States can learn from the Italian model and using that knowledge to shape domestic healthcare policies.

Joanna Merkel Accepts Tenure-track Faculty Position in Edmonton, Alberta

Joanna Merkel, a doctoral student in French, has accepted a tenure-track position in French at Concordia University of Edmonton, where she will teach three courses per semester and work on developing international programs between Canada and France. Originally from Strasbourg, France, she came to UT after a one-year stint at Lincoln University as a Fulbright Foreign Language Assistant. During her time here she has participated in many departmental events, presented at three conferences and published one article.

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