Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures

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Major Events & Program Updates

Third Annual MFLL Soccer Tournament

On April 8, the Third Annual MFLL Soccer Tournament took place at the Regal Soccer Stadium on the UT campus. Approximately 132 students from the 9 languages taught at the department played in 8 teams: Arabic / Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. In addition, close to 150 students and about 22 faculty attended the tournament to cheer and support their language team. Each team played two games, and then the Spanish and French teams played the final game. The trophy went for the second year in a row to the French team (Allez les Bleus!).

According to one student this event brings together the department and provides a way for the students and the teachers to connect in their respective language programs but also across the MFLL department.  For another student the event was special “because it brought many of the Spanish students together through both winning games and the love of the language.” The students had a fun evening and the only complaint was that they would like to have played more than two games.

In some classes the students learned vocabulary related to soccer and sports, and cheering or soccer songs. One student made a YouTube video about the tournament as a project for one of his journalism classes. The event attracted media coverage from Channel 8, the News Sentinel, and the student news paper, the Daily Beacon; and was a great success due to the teamwork of lecturers, undergraduate and graduate students and different merchant sponsors of the Knoxville area.

Tolstoy Festival launches “Great Author” Series

On April 23rd and 24th, MFLL put on a Leo Tolstoy festival with help from Knox County Public Library.  This festival was the first in a series of "great author" festivals that MFLL and the English Department are creating on campus and in the city. The purpose of the festivals is to raise awareness of and celebrate the world's greatest literary figures from all ages (especially the past). There will be two of these per year: next fall there will be a Goethe Festival, and in spring 2016 a Herman Melville festival. In creating this series, we wanted to provide a venue for our community to come together and appreciate the role of great literature in the progress of our society and culture.  As Russian professor Stephen Blackwell wrote for the KCPL's publicity release, "I've initiated this Great Author Festival Series because the world's greatest authors have tried to teach us so many things; we need to keep returning to them and re-engaging with their intense generosity of spirit."

The Tolstoy Festival included talks by visiting scholar Dr. Michael Denner of Stetson University, UT faculty (including MFLL’s Dr. Daniel Magilow and Dr. Sarah Eldridge), and undergraduates; a staged reading of selections from Tolstoy's and his wife's letters and diaries; and a public reading of Tolstoy's works by two of UT's creative writing professors, novelists Margaret Lazarus Dean and Michael Knight.  There were also film screenings at the UT library, as well as a book discussion group on Anna Karenina hosted by Knox County Public Library and facilitated by UT Russian major Erika Knowles.

Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships Sends 3 Students to Spanish-Speaking Countries

            The Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships has awarded Exploration Grants to seven students enabling them to travel during the summer to do preliminary research for future opportunities. Three of these students, Taylor Cox, Miranda Gottlieb, and Sara Stein, will be traveling to Guatemala, Chile, and Peru, respectively. The purpose of the ONSF Exploration Grant program is to support current UT undergraduate students in their efforts to plan for, research, and establish connections for nationally competitive scholarship opportunities, including, but not limited to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, post-graduate funding programs in the U.K. and Ireland like the British Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes, the DAAD programs, the Whitaker Biomedical Fellowships program, the Schwarzman Scholars Program, and other recognized national scholarship opportunities that support post-graduate experiences. The ONSF Exploration Grant Program is generously supported by UT’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Research and Engagement, Student Success, the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Marco Institute, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Africana Studies, Global Studies, and the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships.

MFLL Hosts Poetry Contest at International House

The MFLL Poetry Contest was great fun! It took place Wednesday, September 24th at the International House. Twenty-six students from French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian did a great job reciting beautiful and challenging poems. Thank you to all who participated. And the winners were, in order of placement: in French, Mara Caoile, Lydia Walker, and Xiaoyi (Nina) Li; in German, Reiamari Guevarra, Jesse Farber-Eger, Taylor Stevenson; in Italian, William Shelton, Tim Farren, Juliette McGhee; in Spanish, Jenna Rae Davis, Mary Green. Jenny Pan.

Portuguese Holds Poetry Recitation Contest


Portuguese Poetry Recitation Contest

Portuguese had its first poetry recitation contest in April. This was a great opportunity for students to practice the language, and discover the beauty of poetry. They recited poems by three great Brazilian poets: Cecília Meireles, Cora Coralina,  and Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Three judges, Dr. Alvaro Ayo, Dr. Fatima Bouchert, and Ghislaine Miller, listened for rhythm, intonation, and interpretation of the poems. The students who took part in the contest said the hardest part was to be in front of a crowd and perform; the ones who attended the event enjoyed seeing their classmates who were courageous enough to venture into unfamiliar territory.  The event also had an interactive game intended to break the ice and refresh some poetry-related concepts. All in all, it was a fun experience that gave everybody a chance to revisit the power of poetry, and its ability to bring people together. Some Brazilian students also participated, giving our students one more chance to interact with native speakers of Portuguese. The winners in each category were: Port 123/112: Nadira Octavia; Port 212: Victoria Wells; 430: Mark Hipshire; Brazilian: Lenise Köner. 


Language and World Business Places Students in Local and International Internships

The LWB program has had a very successful spring semester placing students in internships. Laura C. Lauder, LWB-Japanese, was selected by DeRoyal Industries in Powell, TN to work alongside their marketing group. This is a new and promising partnership with a local, yet internationally renowned manufacturer of medical devices and health care products. Three LWB- Spanish students, Jonathan M. Pulley, Kathryn LeForce and Shelby L. Moses, completed or will be finishing their local internships with Windham Tennessee, Camp Hollymont and Centro Hispano, respectively. Three LWB students will be doing internships abroad this summer: Sandra R. McKinney with Bake250, a strategic marketing group in Barcelona, Spain, and Michelle R. Johnson and Alexandra Pitzer with AbbottAgra Farm in Longué-Jumelles, France. LWB encourages all students to intern with companies and organizations that will challenge their language and business skills in preparation for the ever-increasing and competitive global market and is pleased to have served as a liaison to position students with well-recognized and established companies and organizations, as well as smaller enterprises that offer the opportunity for hands-on experiences. LWB is committed to strengthening these bonds and will continue to pursue further venues to place our students in key positions.



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