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MFLL Monthly Newsletter

May 2020 Newsletter



Dr. Flavia Brizio–Skov's (Italian) book on the myth of the American West on the screen will be published by McFarland in Fall 2020. She signed a contract in January 2020, and she is now going through the final editorial phases. Dr. Flavia Brizio-Skov
Dr. Beatrice Flamenbaum

Dr. Beatrice Flamenbaum (French) published in April a review of the collection of essays edited by Gilbert Schrenck, Anne-Élisabeth Spica, and Pascale Thouvenin, “Héroïsme féminin et femmes illustres (XVIe–XVIIe Siècles): Une représentation sans fiction” in Seventeenth–Century News, Texas A&M University.

Dr. Daniel H. Magilow’s (German) chapter about contemporary trends in Holocaust cinema, “Beyond Mimetic Imperatives: The Holocaust and Film”, has been published in Wiley-Blackwell’s A Companion to the Holocaust. Prof. Magilow also published a lengthy review essay of T.S. Kord’s Lovable Crooks and Loathsome Jews: Antisemitism in German and Austrian Crime Writing Before the World Wars for Antisemitism Studies as well as a book review of the graphic novel Berlin by Jason Lutes for the American Historical Review.
Dr. Daniel H. Magilow
Dr. Susan Edmundson

Dr. John B. Romeiser’s (Emeritus Professor of French and Francophone Studies) book, The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial: A Pictorial History of the Names on the Wall, Their Service, Their Sacrifice, co–authored with Jack McCall, has been published by the University of Tennessee Press. The work was inspired by the authors’ fathers’ service in World War II, Romeiser’s association with the Normandy Scholars Program, and his 18 years on the board of the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association. He still maintains the ETVMA website, adding new entries as they come in almost daily.

Renée D’Elia-Zunino (Italian) and Laurent Zunino (French) presented on Italian and French culture and wines at the TVOS (Tennessee Viticultural and Oenological Society) in Pigeon Forge on March 13, 2020.
Their presentation was for the Harry and Lora Westcott Education Scholarship Program. The Program promotes the study of the art and science of viticulture and oenology, with a particular focus on the grape growing and the wine industry in the state of Tennessee.
Renée D'Elia-Zunino and Laurent Zunino


Seven MFLL students have received Fulbright Awards for the 2020/2021 Academic Year:

  • AJ Culpepper (Russian) will conduct individual research on Alexey Tolstoy in Samara, Russia.
  • Julia Goncalves (German/Russian) will be an English Teaching Assistant in Germany.
  • Michael Lidwin (double-major in Architecture and Italian) will be conducting research in Italy.
  • Shannon Perrone (LWB Hispanic Studies and Global Studies, with minors in Latin American & Caribbean Studies and International Ag.) will be an English Teaching Assistant in Brazil. Shannon took two upper-division Portuguese courses with Dr. Silva (Port 303 & Port 400).
  • Kristi Phillips (Russian) will be an English Teaching Assistant in Minsk, Belarus.
  • Jaime Ragos (May 2019 graduate) graduated with a dual degree in Food Science and MFLL (LWB Hispanic Studies). Jaime will be an ETA in Taiwan.
  • Shannon Warren (Secondary English education and ESL) She will be an ETA in Brazil. Shannon completed her foreign language requirements in Portuguese.

Renée D’Elia–Zunino

Renée D’Elia–Zunino (Italian) received a TLI Teaching Support Award of $2,415.00 to “gain teaching-focused professional development, supplies or services necessary in implementing innovative and effective teaching practices that will enhance the learning experiences for UTK students.”


Hannah Nelson

Hannah Nelson, a graduating senior studying Linguistics with a minor in Sociology, won an Award of Excellence (Humanities Division, College of A&S) at the first virtual Eureca that was hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research in April 2020. Hannah’s project, “Trends in Pejoration of Female-Related Terms of Abuse in English”, was mentored by Dr. Maria Gallmeier (German) and grew out of Hannah’s work in the course “Methods of Historical Linguistics” in Fall 2019. Hannah’s two languages at UTK are German and ASL. She took her lower–level German courses with Ulli Sczesni (German) and served as a peer mentor for German 212 in the first cohort of MFLL 394 students in Fall 2019. Hannah’s major areas of interest include sociolinguistics, social (in)justice issues, research, writing, and editing. She plans to eventually go on to graduate school to receive her master’s in Sociology in order to do further research and teach.


Being a MFLL Volunteer during COVID–19 — As a MFLL department we have the wonderful privilege of intercultural unity. We do not always stop and look at the fact that we, individually yet together, all bring something different and of vital importance to the foreign languages’ instruction table. In the historic era of COVID–19, we are coming together even more to support each other and our students as we struggle together in this uncharted territory of teaching online. In shifting our instructional platform from in classroom to Zoom rooms, we are showing even more so a “Volunteer” sense of collaboration amongst colleagues and staff, with a spontaneous outpouring of sharing experiences, ideas, professional and moral support as we all face this challenging, surreal time. Working in “isolation” from a digital device is forcing me to see how we are connected after all. I was never much of a social media person, and only sporadically used video chats with family members overseas. Now, with a simple click on a link, I am in a virtual classroom, and with another I am in a faculty meeting or in a voice and speech therapy session, or better yet in a Zoom pizza party for my graduating senior students. With just a click, I am interacting with the world. It can be intimidating, yet freeing, because with another simple click I am back in my solitude in the comfort of my own home. It makes me think and ponder on this whole new COVID-19 lifestyle. As educators we have the responsibilities to teach, provide guidance, assistance and support to our students, but I could have not begun to understand how to do so online without the support and encouragement of my MFLL colleagues. Therefore, I want to take the opportunity of this MFLL newsletter to extend my gratitude and link a short video from my native country to offer you all an optimistic message. Watching it renewed in me a sense of patriotic pride not just toward Italy, but toward the world. Its music encouraged me to think “victorious” thoughts over the challenges of life, and some reflections came to mind that I would like to share: We are citizens of the same home, Earth! As such we are called to work together to overcome any storm. This video shows a synchronized flight of skilled pilots forming a “patriotic” rainbow over the horizon on the ocean. The rainbow in the sky represents the promise that every storm ends. This storm is called CORONA, which in many languages has a similar word corresponding to the meaning of crown. A crown is a circular shape. A circle is the perfect shape, symbol of perfect unity. The rainbow is only half of it. We as humanity are coming together to form and complete the other half of that circle. We can bring each other assistance and hope. Together we can overcome the storm and crown the world with loving unity. Thank you fellow MFLL Volunteers for helping me see that. Francesca Follone–Montgomery (Italian).


Dan Wang invited her students from Chinese 132 to participate in the UTK campaign of Mattering and Belonging with their cover of Bill Wither’s classic “Lean on Me”, spreading the wonderful message that Vols help Vols and if anyone is in need of a friend, your peers are there for you.

Virtual Chinese Music Movie Contest — The Chinese Cultural Club organized a Virtual Chinese Music Movie Contest to keep the students engaged during the quarantine time. This contest showcased Chinese students’ language skills, talent, and creativity. This event was sponsored by the Office of Asia Engagement. Based on our panel of Judges and students voting, we are pleased to announce the winners:

  • First Place: Celine Phan (Chinese 132)
  • Second Place: Sue Choi (Chinese Minor and CCC president)
  • Third Place: Michael Chipman (Chinese 132)

Virtual Chinese Music Movie Contest
Virtual Chinese Music Movie Contest JVirtual Chinese Music Movie Contest


In spite of having the semester cut short, Dr. Millie Gimmel’s (Hispanic Studies) service–learning class was able to participate in a variety of ways to support the Hispanic community in Knoxville. Students worked in Knox County schools, the Centro Hispano, the St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the Farragut Senior Center. Students not only helped Hispanic children and adults in a variety of ways, they also helped health care providers meet the needs of their Hispanic patients and taught senior citizens Spanish language and culture. For everyone involved the experience was a rewarding one and one they will not soon forget.
Dr. Millie Gimmel

Spanish 494S: Hispanics in the United States and Knoxville; a community service practicum is open to any student with at least 15 hours of upper division Spanish and a desire to put their Spanish to work in the community. The course will take place in the fall, even with social distancing. Placements and activities will be adjusted accordingly. Interested students should contact Dr. Millie Gimmel.

Spanish 494S


Two third-year students of Italian in Dr. Brizio-Skov’s class received prestigious awards in Spring 2020:

Laurenne Trigiani won the 2020 NIAF Discovery Award. She will reconnect with her Italian roots, visiting the places where her grandparents came from. This award aims at strengthening the Italian American identity, the Italian American community and its connection with Italy including its culture and people. All trips include educational lectures, cultural attractions, service opportunities and a chance to meet with government officials, business leaders and more. The award includes all–expensed air fare and 13–day stay in one of Italy’s regions. The trip has been postponed to Summer 2021.

2020 NIAF Discovery Award

Mike Lidwin received the Fulbright Award for Italy. He is supposed to leave in October 2020 for Milan where he will work on a project on the buildings of the Expo 2015. Mike is a 5th–year student with a double major in Italian and Architecture.

News from the Italian Club: The Center for Student Engagement hosted on Wed. April 29th, 2020 its Student Recognition Organization Event. Among 500 registered student organizations at UTK, The Italian Club was nominated for an award. There were 44 organizations up for an award, and the screen shot below shows the Italian Club on the third line in the left column. Although the Italian Club did not win the award for Large Student Organization of the Year, it is very proud of this nomination!

Italian Award Nomination Italian Award Nomination

Summer activities: The Italian program remains active during the summer! The Italian Table (Tavola Italiana) resumes on May 13th and every Wednesday at 3:00pm on Zoom, and we have scheduled movie screenings. See below. Students are very excited to remain connected with their peers during the summer of COVID-19 difficulties.
Here is an excerpt of an encouraging and positive message that our student Mike Lidwin, member of the PSAC (Provost’s Student Advisory Council) and a major in Architecture and Italian, sent to the provost in occasion of the “Checking in on behalf of the Provost”:
I have not encountered many problems during the COVID transition and in fact, have felt extremely supported by my two programs — architecture and Italian. …the Italian department has leveraged COVID as an opportunity to engage with actual Italian residents by inviting them to our class Zoom sessions. I’m excited that this department has already planned a continuation of our “Italian table” discussions throughout the summer and has a lineup of Zoom meetings, film screenings, and talks with more people in Italy. As I graduate, I especially appreciate how these online Italian tables keep me connected to the program over the summer.

Italian Summer Activities


Awards I — Three students have been selected for the 2019 Outstanding Language and World Business Graduating Student Award: Mckynlea Cable, LWB-Italian, Shannon Perrone, LWB-HS, and Kristi Phillips, LW-Russian. We are very proud for the hard work these students have demonstrated not only academically, but also in representing and promoting the LWB Program.

Awards II — Our LWB students continue to be awarded very prestigious scholarships. Three LWB students have been awarded the 2019–2020 Fulbright Teaching Assistant Awards: Shannon Perrone, LWB–HS, to Brazil, Kristi Phillips, LWB–Russian, recipient to Belarus, and Jaime L. Ragos, LWB–HS, Class of 2019, to Taiwan. These students add to a total of four LWB Fulbright awardees in the last 2 years.

Awards III — In addition, Nicholas Buttram, LWB-JAPA received the 2018- 2019 Boren Scholarship to study abroad in Japan. The LWB Program now counts three Boren awardees in the last three years.

The Forum’s 16th Annual Conference, Education Abroad at a Crossroads: Actions for a Sustainable Future, originally scheduled to take place in Kansas City, was conducted on a virtual platform during April 22–24, 2020. The conference themes centered on innovative use of technology, curriculum design and global course equivalencies, global and intercultural learning, experiential learning, and effective global pedagogies. Dr. Lisa Parker (Hispanic Studies), who has been teaching the Service Learning courses in Costa Rica and Chile, partnered with Becky Ritchey, Service–Learning Academic Coordinator, from international Studies Abroad by WorldStrides to present on the subject of Global Service–Learning Online Course Development: Sustainable Models and Approaches for Study Abroad Practitioners and Faculty on April 23, 2020.


Two students of Portuguese, Shannon Warren (lower division) and Shannon Perrone (upper division) won the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship this year. Here is what they have to say about their experiences in our Portuguese program and the Fulbright application process:

Oi! I am Shannon Warren, a student at UTK completing my graduate degree in secondary English education and ESL. I transferred to UTK during my junior year. By chance, I ended up taking Portuguese classes to satisfy my foreign language requirement. I had no interest in the Portuguese language or learning about Brazil; however, over my four–semester span of learning the gorgeous language and discovering the beauty of the diverse Brazilian culture, I found myself understanding English better, genuinely wanting to participate in activities hosted by the Portuguese club and professors, developing a better sense of cultural intelligence and awareness, and feeling like I belonged to a small family within this very large campus. During my last semester of Portuguese, and my last semester as an undergrad, one of the amazing Portuguese instructors insisted that I apply for a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Brazil. She and the rest of the Portuguese department gave me their full support throughout the application process, including introducing me to native Portuguese speakers and giving me experience to enhance my resume. Today, I have a network of people supporting me and encouraging me to be the best I can be. In addition, I have the honor of being offered an opportunity to teach in Brazil as a Fulbright recipient. I never thought that Portuguese classes would provide so many open doors for me, but I was so wrong. For me, Portuguese classes at UTK changed my life.

Shannon Warren

Shannon Perrone — My experience with the Portuguese Section in MFLL has been nothing short of wonderful. Each and every one of the professors are here to help you succeed in and out of the classroom, something I have cherished since I was first introduced to the department. I started taking Portuguese my sophomore year as part of the Language World Business major (Port 400 — Portuguese for Speakers of other Romance Languages, with Dr. Silva), and fell in love with everything the language encompasses. The summer after taking my first Portuguese course I had an internship with the Latin American News Digest, where I received articles from Brazilian news outlets and translated them into English. This internship gave me a real–world glimpse into Brazilian life and culture, which led me to the desire to experience Brazil in person. I decided to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship, a program that sends recent graduates to countries all over the world to research, teach English, or pursue a master’s degree. The application process began in June 2019, and after countless essay rewrites and an on–campus interview, my application was submitted in early October. The application process for the Fulbright truly helped me figure out what I was passionate about and how I wanted to apply my passions to a future career. In the meanwhile, I signed up for Port 303 (Brazilian Civilization with Dr. Silva) in the Spring 2020. I received the Semi Finalist designation in early January which was followed by an interview with 3 Brazilian Fulbright Commission staff in mid–April. I then found out on Thursday, April 16th that I received the scholarship to Brazil! I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to teach English and research differently–abled education in Brazil for nine months beginning February 2021. I want to thank Wanessa, Dr. Silva, Gabriela, and Dr. Duke for all the bate-papos, courses, conversations, and assistance with my Fulbright application and Portuguese development. Obrigada!

Shannon Perrone



TLI Workshop: Lifelong Learning TLI Lifelong Learning Workshop — On April 16, Laurent Zunino (French) and Dr. Doug Canfield (LRC) presented on “Lifelong Learning in the Classroom” in the first virtual workshop the Office of Teaching & Learning Innovation has ever conducted. Participants were introduced to the idea of lifelong learning, its place in experiential learning at UT using MFLL as an example, and its value for students. If this subject interests you, they recommend joining UT’s Lifelong Learning Book Club.

Zoom Icon Zoom Meetings and Consultations — Even as the campus is closed, we are here to help you! We are taking requests for meetings and cosultations that are happening in Zoom. We can have hardware delivered to your mailbox, and in some cases even elsewhere as we are able. You can request a consultation at, or you can use the form below:


Virtual Vol Bootcamp: A Four-Part Series (May 11, 13, 18, and 20, 4 PM – 6 PM, Online) Get help, support, and direction for your summer online course delivery with this four-part series of workshops offered in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Teaching and Learning Innovation (TLI). This series of synchronous, online workshops will include asynchronous learning modules, small group discussions, and individual consultation focused on helping you acquire the skills necessary to deliver effective online learning experiences this summer.
Click here to register
Microsoft PowerPoint: How to Run Your Presentation Live in Zoom (Wed., May 13, 10 AM, online)This workshop is packed full of tips and tricks for presenting your PowerPoint slides seamlessly over Zoom. Turn your cursor into a laser pointer so online learners can follow your lead. Adjust the sound settings within Zoom so embedded YouTube videos will play sound through the correct audio input. You'll also learn how to get an accurate preview of what you will see versus what your students will see when you’re presenting. You'll have ample time to ask questions in this session!
Click here to register
Advanced Video Analysis in Transana (Wed., May 13, 11 AM) This webinar focuses on advanced techniques for the analysis of video and audio data. Topics will include handling multiple simultaneous media files and analyzing multiple layers in video files. You will also observe a demonstration of analytic techniques you didn’t know were even possible!
Click here to register
Online Training of the Month: "VR in The Language Classroom: Applications for Intercultural Competence" and "XR Italia" This hour-long webinar contains two presentations. In the first, Margherita Berti (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Arizona) discusses applications of virtual reality in the language classroom to foster intercultural competence. Considering issues of accessibility and ease of use, Berti describes how virtual reality, paired with students’ smartphones and Google Cardboard, can facilitate new understandings about students’ own cultures and other cultures. Practical pedagogical examples for the language classroom are also discussed. In the second presentation, Claire Lavagnino (Ph.D., UCLA) and Jan DeLozier (Ph.D. Student, UCLA) argue that the most effective foundation of language learning (speaking, reading, writing) is confidence. Their project, XR Italia, uses Extended Reality to affirm students in their abilities and allow them the chance to practice their knowledge in a low-risk, simulated virtual environment.
Click here to view


Podcast icon IPAs, A Review of the Literature, and Steps to Move Forward — In Episode 138 of the We Teach Languages Podcast, Stacey Margarita Johnson interviews Dr. Stephanie Madison, author of the recently published article entitled “Integrated Performance Assessments: A Review of the Literature and Steps to Move Forward”. If you have ever wanted to dig deeper into why IPAs work and how to make them even more practical in your language classroom, this interview and the accompanying open-access article provide a wealth of practical and research-based advice.
Click here to listen


Parlay Parlay: the future of class discussions — This app has several tools for conducting class discussions.Teachers start by choosing a discussion topic from the Parlay library which contains readings and videos to give background information (they do have these for world languages, or you can make your own) so that students come to the discussion well–prepared. Then, students submit written responses to the prompt and respond to one another in writing. Finally, the class can conduct a live roundtable discussion (even online), using Parlay to track and facilitate their participation. When the discussion is over, the teacher gets a report to see who participated and how.


This is the final MFLL Newsletter for the 2019–2020 academic year. We will resume publication in August.