News: Japanese Studies Spring 2016

Gender, Race, and Nation in the Glass of Fashion

2016 Nic photoCongratulations to Nic Querolo (’16), who has been awarded the 2016 MLL Book Prize in Japanese and recently defended his Honors Thesis, earning High Honors! Titled “Reconstructing a National Silhouette: Avant-Garde Fashion and Perceptions of the Japanese Body,” Nic’s thesis focuses on the avant-garde Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and her label Commes des Garcon, examining how fashion as an industry and as artistic production responds to issues of gender and national heritage. His committee included Professors Tomoko Hamada-Connolly, from Anthropology; Jennifer Putzi, from the English Department and Women’s Studies Program; and Michael Cronin, from Japanese Studies. The topic reflects Nic’s interest in fashion as both a business and an art: he graduates this spring with one major in Finance and Business Administration and another major in Japanese Studies, self-designed and administered through the Charles Center. Nic’s engagement with Japan has developed over several years; he spent the spring semester of his sophomore year in the W&M study-abroad program at Keio University in Tokyo and he returned to Tokyo last summer with the support of a Charles Center Honors Fellowship.  Learn more about his research by watching the video below.  Best of luck, Nic!

Graduates 2015-2016

C.J. Aftergut ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

imageThe Hispanic Studies faculty had a profound impact on my W&M experience, always encouraging me to extend my learning beyond the classroom. Through summer study abroad in Cádiz and individual research on the body of work of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, I made the most of my Hispanic Studies education. Profesora Stock’s Mapping Cuba class greatly impacted my Hispanic Studies experience, and is one of the most valuable courses I took in my time at W&M. As part of the class, we met and interviewed Oneida González, a Cuban filmmaker who I have since had the pleasure of meeting again during a visit to the U.S. We also translated our interview with Oneida and subtitled one of her short films, two very unique projects that are among my most important educational experiences as a W&M student.

In an effort to keep up with my Spanish, I will be interning for two months at the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. over the summer. In January 2017, I plan to enter the field of public accounting as a member of the tax staff of Ernst & Young in McLean, VA. I can only hope that EY will provide me with an opportunity to use my Spanish, as the Spanish language has always been and will always be one of my true passions.

News News: German Studies Spring 2016

In Deutschland wohnen! W&M grads from different disciplines decide to live, work, and study in Germany

Erin Duffin (German Studies, 2014)

duffinErin writes:

“After graduating from William & Mary in 2014, I moved to Stuttgart, Germany to be an au pair for a family there. I spent about a year in Baden-Württemberg getting to know the Schwaben (Swabians, the people who come from the area around Stuttgart), before moving to Berlin in July, 2015. Here in Berlin, I work as a freelance copy writer and editor. I live in a little garden house, called a Schrebergarten, with my roommate, who was previously my host when I studied at the Universität Potsdam in Summer 2013.

At the moment, I don’t have any hard and fast plans for the future besides staying in Berlin (which is very Berlin-ish, to be honest). I’m enjoying living the Berlin life, and getting to know people from all over the world (although most of my friends are either from England or moved to Berlin from Stuttgart, funnily enough).

I love living in Germany. I get along very well with Germans, and I feel very much at home here. Their way of life is perfect for me. It can be challenging at times, because there can be a bit of a cultural divide, and dealing with the bureaucracy is never easy. But it’s all worth it when you know you have lifelong friends here, and enjoy where you live and what you do.

For anyone thinking of moving to Europe, I say… give it a try! No one says you have to stay here forever, so just give it a year, and see what you think. In my case, one year has now turned into two… and I don’t see myself leaving any time soon. Living in Europe is such a wonderful experience. You get to meet people from all over the world, there’s always something happening, and traveling to other European countries is a breeze. So if you want to try something completely new, and are looking for a grand new adventure, give it a shot! You have absolutely nothing to lose.”

Tilghman Goldsborough (Philosophy, 2013)

goldsboroSince graduating in 2013, Tilghman Goldsborough has been busy pursuing a variety of jobs, first in his hometown of Richmond, Va. and now in Germany, and he has plans to start graduate school in Germany soon. A Philosophy major, Tilghman became interested in Germany after taking part in the W&M Potsdam Program the summer after graduation. For almost a year now, he has been living as an au pair with a family in the suburbs of Stuttgart, tutoring the children and helping them improve their English. He has also had some of his poems published in an on-line literary magazine! After finishing his year with the family, he plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in American Studies at a German university. He says that, while the language still presents some challenges, he really likes the honesty of the Germans because you usually know where you stand with people there. He has regular contact with two other W&M graduates, one of whom lives in Stuttgart and studies at the University of Tubingen, and the other lives in Berlin. His advice to W&M graduates who might be thinking of moving to Germany is to “treat it like you’re moving anywhere new where you don’t really know anyone (or the language).” He suggests having a plan (and staying on top of the visa rules and regulations) but also staying open to opportunities that come up. Finally, Tilghman says to have fun and meet people. Living abroad “can be persistently low-key terrifying, but make the most of whatever it is you’re doing; the world is your oyster, und so weiter.”

Lisa Laird (European Studies and German Studies, ’13)

lairdLisa checked in with us halfway into her Fulbright ETA:

“I have been working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for eight months now and am beginning to find a comfortable spot on the scale of exciting foreigner to part of the woodwork. This year has been a fantastic lesson in creativity and spontaneity, jumping between the roles of living dictionary, private tutor, leading a crusade on proper comma usage, and running entire classes by myself. This week, I’ve been holding mock American Presidential elections in my 8th grade classes. A sample of 59 thirteen-year-olds would elect Hillary Clinton, who came in five points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Cruz followed with 13% of the vote and Trump (a name received by much laughter and jeering in the classroom) tied with write-ins for Turkey’s perhaps-not-so-humanitarian President Erdoğan—two votes each.

To compliment my 15-hour workweeks, I have been offering private tutoring and editing sessions, volunteering at the local animal shelter, and taking advantage of many travel opportunities such a central location offers. Should anyone have the opportunity, I highly recommend enjoying fika and kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) on a snowy winter’s day in Sweden.

It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over. After a short summer divided between Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and the United States, I’ll be heading back to Europe in the autumn to start a year-long MSc in European Politics at the London School of Economics. In order to stay active academically, I am partaking in a MOOC on the upcoming Scottish and Welsh elections run by the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University—a fantastic course for any devolution nerds!”

Graduates 2015-2016

Christina Alcorta ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies and International Relations

alcortaMy name is Christina Alcorta and I’m an International Relations and Hispanic Studies double major. I knew coming into college that I wanted to continue my Spanish classes because I have family members in Argentina that I wanted to be able to communicate and visit with. I was expecting more grammar and vocabulary lessons but I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the intense, cultural focus of the Hispanic Studies program. During my time at the College I have been able to discuss and analyze gender relations along the Mexico-Texas border, learn about the various culinary traditions and their significance throughout regions of Spain, and during my final semester I was able to study one of the most formative events in Spanish history, the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regimen. Through the Hispanic Studies program at William and Mary I have been able to study abroad in Cadiz, Spain, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. These classes and experiences have been a defining part of my time at William and Mary. I hope that I can continue to add to them post-graduation.

Graduates 2015-2016

Karen Alvarez ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

alvarezOne of the best experiences of my life was studying abroad. I was fortunate enough to study at Science Po Lille where they were so welcoming. Lille became my home away from home. While I have studied French since the 7th grade my French exponentially improved during the six months as I took French classes in France. Through study abroad I was able to travel to make friends and connections from a myriad of countries. I now have a better view on the world and other cultures that will serve me well as I hope to work in diverse school environments.

Two of my favorite classes at William and Mary were taught by Magali Compan. She challenged me to work hard and I can honestly say my writing improved thanks to her class. I loved learning about the problems faced by francophone areas all around the world. Another amazing class opportunity I had was to do an independent study. This semester I was able to work on French graphic novels. Graphic novels have always been my favorite medium so when Michael Leruth suggested I look at Raid Sattouf I was excited to channel my love for graphic novels and further my knowledge on the French and Francophone world.

As far as post graduate plans go, I plan to move to Boston, Massachusetts and attend Northeastern University in the fall. I am going to be pursing a masters in science for Applied Educational Psychology and a certification in school psychology. I am excited to use what I learned at William and Mary as well as my language skills to be able to reach out to people of different cultures and backgrounds.

Graduates 2015-2016

Nadeem Bohsali ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

bohsaliAs a Freshman, I had no intention to major or minor in French – I was simply taking classes at my own leisure to make my science-heavy course load a little bit more tolerable. I enjoyed classes so much that I decided to minor, then major in French. My favorite class was Prof. Rabalais’ course on francophone cultures of North America. I would say my favorite experience with the department was studying abroad in Montpellier with Prof. Leruth, and Prof. Compan.

Graduates 2015-2016

Beatrice Chessman ’16 Senior Profile: German Studies

chessmanGerman Literature class was the first time I explored a topic for a paper that I was truly excited about. I realized I could connect the text to a theme in the world of visual arts. Suddenly I felt that I had important thoughts and I wanted to get them down on paper. Since then I’ve enjoyed analyzing German literature and film, whilst expanding my language skills. I traveled abroad to Potsdam where I stayed with a wonderful host family who I still keep in touch with. I could not help but study abroad a second time in Vienna, where I spoke German almost exclusively and could speak proficiently for the first time.

I am doing a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship somewhere in Germany for 10 months. Afterward I will return to the United States to get my Masters in Fine Arts in painting.

Graduates 2015-2016

Abby Conners ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

conners_aFirst of all, I really enjoyed each of the French courses that I took at William & Mary. I learned a lot not only about French & Francophone language and culture, but also about larger applicable ideas outside of the class context. Both of the courses that I took with Magali Compan stressed thinking outside of preconceived notions about people or places — which is an exceptionally useful and important tool to have as a critical thinking adult. If I learned nothing else, it is to be wary of binary systems. I am also overwhelmingly appreciative of the push I received from the department to study abroad in Paris with IFE — which was both challenging but immensely rewarding. I learned more than I would have imagined, found a home outside of my own hometown and Williamsburg, and solidified my personal and professional interests. A French & Francophone Studies major is a lot more than speaking French and reading Baudelaire. It very much molded me into the individual, in both a personal and academic sense, that I am today!

I am tentatively working for Abt Associates in the field of international development, specifically within international health in Bethesda, Maryland. The project that I will be a part of works to protect individuals within twelve countries in Africa from malaria through Indoor Residual Spraying — a preventative measure. I will work on the accounting and finance side of the operation, assisting a larger team with logistics and work of that nature. I am both excited and incredibly fortunate to have found a job working in an international capacity right out of the gate!

Graduates 2015-2016

Gillie Cuda ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies and International Relations

In late summer of 2012 after already completing the dreaded online, I was notified that I had been awarded a scholarship to study in Chongqing, China for a full academic year. I spent the next month hurriedly figuring out my plane flight, how to defer admission at WM for a year, and obtaining a visa. I spent my first year of college at Chongqing University where I studied Chinese language and culture and learnt so much more!

When I came “back” to William and Mary, I took Chinese culture classes which I loved, especially Tang Laoshi’s Chinese Literature and Chinese Poetry classes. The Chinese cosmological view and so much of the culture really came through in those two classes, and I could actually connect what I learnt there and relate it to what I experienced in China. I knew I wanted to live in the Chinese language house my second year here, so I applied for it and was assured I would be living there. However, due to a Residence Life Housing Office error, I ended up in the Italian House! The Casa Italiana was great, and I was so happy to chat with the house tutor Veronica Fantini at random hours of the night, as well as cook with her. In the Spring, I made one of the best decisions of my time here and took Professoressa Boyle’s Italian 103. She was a great teacher and reminded me of my love of all languages. I was excited to take Italian and happy that I could start talking with my grandparents in Italian, although I later learned they don’t speak “that grammatical, high-class, standard Italian.” Needless to say, under the guidance of the great Boyle, I took Italian 203 in the Fall and LOVED IT! I also took Professor Calvin Hui’s Chinese Senior Seminar on Shanzhai or Fake culture in China which was amazing. Finally, I have to thank Dr. Lu who I wish had arrived here sooner, but at least I got to take one Chinese Cinema class with her. She is great!

I will be learning how to drive, hopefully going to some language schools like Svenska Skolan to learn languages not offered at W&M, working at Aldi’s or Costco, my two absolute favorite stores, all while biting my nails and applying for jobs with the government. I will also work part time with the National Language Service Corps as a translator and interpreter.

Graduates 2015-2016

Aida-Stephanie Dohou ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

imageI have truly enjoyed all of the Hispanic Studies Classes I have taken throughout the years, especially the classes that have challenged me the most because they were outside of my comfort zone such as my two senior seminars “Dictatorship Cultures” and “Franco and his Ghosts”, as well as “Urban Images” with Professor Longo. Majoring in Hispanic Studies has opened up so many opportunities that I didn’t even know were available. In “Mapping Cuba: Culture and Identity” with Professor Stock, I got the chance to translate passages of the book of a Cuban cinematographer, Oneida Gonzalez, and add English subtitles to a film she directed. I am also so lucky to have been able to study abroad in Cadiz (Summer 2015) and Seville, Spain (Fall 2015). They were such great experiences that I will never forget. This summer I plan on volunteering as a Medical Interpreter for migrant farmers in the Eastern Shore, an opportunity that came about from a Medical Interpretation class I took with Professor Arries this semester that I am very excited about. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had as a result, and the experiences to come.

Graduates 2015-2016

Ryan Durazo ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

durazoI can barely begin to describe the impact the Hispanic Studies major has had on my life; even the friendships I have today wouldn’t have been possible without my time in the Casa Hispánica. I’ll always remember the classes that brought to life the stories of the Spanish speaking world, classes like Prof. Greenia’s “Hispanic Folktales” and Prof. Longo’s “Cien años de soledad”. The major also undeniably prepared me to make the most out of the La Plata, Argentina exchange program. I know so much of the meaning behind powerful interactions with former political prisoners, indigenous leaders, and student activists would have been inaccessible without my comfort with cross-cultural communication.

It is my current goal to make the most of my cross-cultural communication skills by working towards a career in immigration law. I plan to work for a few years in the non-profit sector or a legal position before attending law school; I’m not quite ready yet to face the prospect of all my classes being taught in English.

Graduates 2015-2016

Skyy Eshleman ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

eshlemanI have always loved learning languages and this was the main reason that I enrolled in Chinese 101. As I continued to take more classes in the Chinese department, I began to love the language more and more. All of the professors are extremely helpful and truly want to see your Chinese improve and see you succeed in the future. Being able to study Mandarin at Qinghua University in the summer of 2014 was an opportunity that I will always appreciate. I was able to focus on just language classes and this really helped to improve my vocabulary and confidence in speaking Chinese. I also met many new friends who had the same interests as me and was able to live with a number of them the following fall in the Chinese House. Living in the Chinese House was a lot of fun and there was a strong sense of community among the residents. After I graduate I hope to continue studying Chinese, hopefully in China!

Graduates 2015-2016

Claire Etheridge ’16 Senior Profile: German Studies

etheridgeMy experience with the German Department has been an amazing part of my undergraduate career. I started at William and Mary as an International Relations major, but as I fulfilled my language requirement with German I discovered amazing classes with inspiring professors, fascinating discussions, and opportunities to improve my writing and interpretation skills. I decided to double major and was able to focus on my interest areas, especially on a spring break German Department trip to Switzerland and Germany to study Early Modern Jewish life. My senior seminar was with a professor I had taken many courses with and other seniors I knew well, which helped us have amazing discussions and a really personalized experience characteristic of my time in the William and Mary Modern Languages Department.

After graduation, I will move to Charlotte, North Carolina and start work as a Business Associate at Red Ventures, a marketing and advertising firm which is expanding internationally.

Graduates 2015-2016

Naomi Feliz ’16 Senior Profiles: French and Francophone Studies

felizThe French and Francophone Studies Department was, as the French say, génial!

Graduates 2015-2016

Lauren Fernandez ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

imageThe most important thing the Hispanic Studies Department taught me is that education is about more than grades. I was a transfer student and I took two classes in Hispanic Studies my first semester at William & Mary, with Professor Root and Professor Cate-Arries. The classes were both challenging compared to anything I had taken before and I felt so behind that I never wanted to speak and was embarrassed to go to class. I visited both professors in office hours. Professor Cate-Arries told me to say a something every day, even if I had to write it down before I said it or was worried that it wasn’t insightful enough. She was sure it would be. Professor Root told me not to worry about my letter grades because if I learned a lot but got a C on every assignment, she would be happy. Knowledge, rather than grade percentage, should be my goal. My Hispanic Studies classes never stopped being a challenge but I learned to take more risks and focus more on my progress and successes than my failures. I loved taking classes in Hispanic Studies and never thought I would be a major in the department but the credits started adding up and, in part due to some light pressure from Rio, here we are. I am a better student and a better person because of the endless support and invaluable advice the faculty of the Hispanic Studies Department have given me since my first semester at William & Mary.
I have no certain plans yet for after graduation but I am currently waiting to hear back from the Spanish Department of Education regarding placement in the auxiliares program to be an English language teaching assistant in Spanish public schools.

Graduates 2015-2016

Matthew Ferry ’16 Student Profile: Russian Studies (RPSS)

ferryMy adventure through RPSS began my freshman year in a fantastic course on Russian Myths and Legends. I was fascinated by the richness of a culture that Rocky and Bullwinkle had always taught me was foreign and taboo, and I soon realized that if I hoped to learn any more about it I would need to do so in its native language. In the next year I dove headlong into the 100-level Russian courses and, in one the best decisions of my college career, I chose to pursue the six-week summer study abroad trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow. I decided the best way for me to learn this deeply dissimilar language and unfamiliar culture was to take away all of my other concerns and focus all my efforts on this singular task. To put it simply, I wanted to know if I could do it. Two years later, I still remember how good I felt overhearing an Italian student, Pietro, whispering to my host mother as I passed by the kitchen of her St. Petersburg apartment. “He speaks so fast!” Liudmila smiled so proudly I could almost hear it from my bedroom.

As a major in Physics and Economics, plenty of people have asked me what my experience in Russian has to do with the rest of my studies. Personally, I found these subjects most relevant in exploring the grammar of the Russian language. If you view all the grammatical structures you know as your formulas and the vocabulary as variables, the problem of applying them to convey a message to your audience is a lot closer to Physics than you might think. You make simplifying assumptions and choose the most direct path afforded to you by the tools that you know how to use. Building a sentence in Russian is a lot like building a spaceship. You never really know what it does until you launch it, but built correctly, it is beautiful to see it fly.

Graduates 2015-2016

Emma Hall Kessel ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies and History

kesselAs a double major in Hispanic Studies and History, I’ve enjoyed my last three years at the College after transferring my freshman year. This past summer, I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and during the fall 2015 semester I studied abroad in Seville, Spain. I’ve been honored to take incredible classes with the amazing professors in both the Hispanic Studies and Italian departments, and I have fallen in love with Hispanic Studies as a discipline. I will be so sad to leave the College, but I have learned so much during these three short years that I will take with me going forward!

Graduates 2015-2016

Stephanie Heredia ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

imageI came to William and Mary with plans on majoring in English and Philosophy. When registering for Fall classes, I didn’t get all of the classes I wanted because I was a freshman of course and needed a class to fulfill the 12 credit requirement. All the classes were pretty much taken except for a couple and I chose Professor Greenia’s Advanced Grammar & Composition class because that was the only one I thought I could somewhat survive in. It was all serendipitous. After the first day of class I knew that I made the right decision and it’s been a great adventure since then. When studying abroad in Spain, I was constantly reminded again of how fortunate I was to be studying Hispanic Studies. I was reading articles for my research paper at the La Caleta beach in the middle of June and an elderly couple next to me asked me what had to be so important that I had to bring my laptop to the beach. I told them about my research on religious popular culture and they started sharing their opinions and experiences about it while also sharing their snacks with me and introducing me to their family. Hispanic Studies has a beating heart and I’m so thankful for having been a part of it.

During the summer I will be working as a junior fellow in the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress and in the Fall I will be starting the MA program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese ​at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Graduates 2015-2016

Joanna Hernandez ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

Joanna Hernandez Professional PicThe Hispanic Studies Department gave a voice to my reality. All my life I’d experienced my Latin-ness outside academia and had rarely studied it beyond my own experience. I entered my first Hispanic Studies class at William & Mary and immediately knew it was the perfect department for me. I felt consistently empowered as I studied the culture and language of my heart in a setting that valued it beyond a personal background and brought it into the light of academia. I was also challenged to my core during a trip to the Mexican-American Border with Professor Arries and Professor Fisher. I realized that the pain and complexity of the issues we studied was something I couldn’t feel more connected to and never wanted to stop working with. I feel so proud to represent the William & Mary Hispanic Studies Department beyond Campus and share the knowledge that has inspired me daily. I am more confident and better prepared for the world because of the education I received through the incredibly talented faculty who dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to their field and their students. ¡Muchísimas gracias a todos! El regalo del conocimiento no tiene precio.

After graduation I will be working as one of the Coro Pittsburgh Fellows in Public Affairs. The Coro Fellowship uses leadership and public service experience in the real world to “train change makers.” I will be working in different sectors with non-profits, businesses, and the government during four cycles. Coro’s purpose is to give young leaders the skills to self/system intervene in the complex dynamics of an organization or community. I look forward to whatever may come after the 9-month program!

Graduates 2015-2016

Hannah Hoff ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

Paris- LouvreI loved studying abroad in Montpellier, France during the spring semester of my junior year. It was an amazing to not only travel all over France, but also to live with a French family. My French got so much better, and being immersed in French culture really helped us understand the country! It was fun to see all of the things I have learned about come to life!

I am moving to my hometown of Atlanta, GA, where I will be working and taking classes. My other major is Public Health, and I am currently deciding between Master’s programs to pursue (Physician’s Assistant or Master’s of Public Health). Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll know which!

Graduates 2015-2016

Chantal Houglan ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

houglanUnder the guidance of Professor Cate-Arries, I engaged in a research project in Cádiz, Spain during the summer of 2013. My research focused on a Cádiz-based fashion festival’s function as a cultural escape valve during a worrisome economic crisis. My research demonstrated how fashion functions as much more than just a showcase for material possessions, but rather offers a world of symbolism and representational value of one’s identity. More recently, during my senior year I have completed an honors thesis under the Hispanic Studies Department with continued guidance from Professor Cate-Arries. My senior honors thesis, “Salvador Dalí, Surrealism, and the Luxury Fashion Industry,” was inspired in part by my previous field work with the Cádiz summer study program. Within this work I study Dalí’s influence and relevance in the fashion world up to the present day when the artist’s legacy and influence on the fashion industry transcends his death in 1989. The work I have conducted on my honors thesis has been stressful, however, it has truly been my most rewarding experience at William & Mary.

Upon completion of my schooling at William & Mary, I will move to New York City and work as a merchandising/buying intern for the E-commerce based luxury fashion company Moda Operandi. I hope to one day become a buyer for a large luxury department store.

Graduates 2015-2016

Alex Jimenez de Alcantara ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

jimenez_aStudying abroad in Montpellier, France my sophomore year of college was an unforgettable experience in my life. It was a dream come true to be able to study and travel to cities in France, like Nice, Avignon, Marseille, Lyon, and Paris. I will always be grateful to the Department of Modern Languages at William and Mary for giving me this incredible opportunity. In addition to study abroad, I also have the Department of Modern Languages to thank for my favorite class of my entire academic career. During my junior year, I took a course on French art throughout the different periods of history with Professor Michael Leruth. It was fascinating to learn all about painters like Delacroix, Courbet, and Degas, and how their masterpieces reflected the social and political values of the times in which they lived.

After graduation, I plan on applying to Seminary for the Catholic Priesthood. If I am accepted and one day become a priest, I hope to make best use of the valuable French education that I received at William and Mary.

Graduates 2015-2016

Jacob Keohane ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

keohaneI became a Chinese major almost by accident. Although I arrived here intending to put my days of studying Chinese behind me, I went on the W&M at Tsinghua University summer abroad program my sophomore year as a sort of last hurrah. Surprisingly, I found those seven weeks weren’t enough, and went abroad again for an entire semester. Upon my return I discovered that, due to a lack of credits, if I wanted to complete my Linguistics major I would have to quit studying Chinese. The choice was clear– I changed my major.
In the past, one of my primary annoyances with studying foreign languages has been the banal topics covered in textbooks and dialogue exercises: what did you do last summer? What kind of foods do you like? Etc. So, it’s been extremely gratifying this last year to actually use my Chinese in class to discuss much weightier topics: the meaning of life, the nature of man, and the like. What’s more, I’ve finally been able to study Chinese poetry in the original. Previously, I’d only ever read it in translation, a rather inadequate practice, to say the least.
Although my time at college has come to an end, my studies of Chinese certainly have not. This summer, I will be in beautiful Suzhou, studying Chinese under the auspices of the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship. I’m also a candidate for a year-long scholarship sponsored by the Confucius Institute, beginning almost immediately thereafter. What happens after that will be anyone’s guess, but no matter what I do, I’m sure there will be a place for literature.

Graduates 2015-2016

Maddie Lewis ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

lewisI had a great experience in the French Department. All of the professors I was lucky enough to take classes with were fantastic. Not only were they knowledgeable about their subject matter, they were also passionate about teaching. I have learned many valuable skills from them that will help me go on to be a great French teacher. I’d like to particularly thank Professor Compan. Her classes were fantastic and showed me a whole new side of Francophone literature and culture I fell in love with. In addition to these classes I had a great time studying abroad with the API program in Grenoble spring of 2015. I know that William and Mary has prepared me for a great future and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

Graduates 2015-2016

Max Lipkin ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies

lipkinI was a student of Chinese and Japanese, taking four years of Chinese language courses and three years of Japanese. My favorite electives have been Professor Tang’s Chinese poetry, Professor Kitamura’s East Asian Cinema, and Professor Cronin’s Japanese Pop Culture. I lived in the Chinese language house for my sophomore and junior years, and loved the sense of community built around good food and great cultural experiences. I studied abroad at Tsinghua University the summer before my sophomore year, and at Kanazawa University the winter of my senior year.

After graduation, I will be working as a consultant in IBM’s Consulting by Degrees program in Washington D.C. I hope to use the language skills and cultural literacy fostered by the Modern Languages and Literatures department in my work, and someday work abroad.

Graduates 2015-2016

Matt Longabaugh ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

imageMy favorite classes were both of my senior seminars, global issues in poetry, with Teresa Longo, and dictatorship cultures, with Silvia Tandeciarz. I’d like to thank both of them for showing me perspectives I could not have otherwise studied. I also highly enjoyed introduction to philosophy, which I took at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. I studied in La Plata, Argentina, the spring of 2015 and in Cádiz, Spain, the summer of the most recent FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2014.

After a quick vacation in Europe, where I hope to visit the countries of some of my friends I’ve made here at WM and abroad, I will be interning at the Democratic National Convention, then working for the Bernie campaign if it’s still going. In the meantime I will be applying for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award so that I can return to Argentina to teach english and study at university there.

Graduates 2015-2016

Carly Machlan ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

MACHLAN_CARLY-photoMy hands-down favorite experience as a Hispanic Studies major was studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain during the fall of 2014. Not only did my Spanish abilities improve exponentially, but I experienced life as a Sevilliana for four months, spoiled by the love of my host parents, the ecstasy of churros, and the absolute beauty that is Andalucía. Some of my favorite classes from my career at William and Mary include Creative Writing Spanish Poetry (HISP 330) with Professor Tandeciarz, where I learned to read with meaning and write with a purpose, and Teaching English Abroad (MDLL 348) with Professor Kulick, which gave me amazing insight into my native language and the complexities we take for granted when speaking English on a day-to-day basis.

Next year I plan to be in South Korea, teaching English in a public school through the EPIK (English Program in Korea) program. While there I hope to learn the language and culture with which I’ve been fascinated for a very long time. After Korea…who knows? I have a second major in Kinesiology with a concentration in Public Health, so I would love to work in an international field related to global health or nutrition.

Graduates 2015-2016

Emily McLenigan ’16 Senior Profile: French and International Relations

mcleniganEmily McLenigan is an International Relations and French major from Clifton, VA. She has immensely enjoyed her time in the Modern Languages Department at W&M and her favorite memories range from making new friends and savoring the results of their culinary exploits at the French House to researching the geography of the Tour de France for Michael Leruth’s class on French culture. Emily intends to spend the summer of 2016 traveling and relaxing with friends and family, and in the fall she will begin working as an analyst for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Springfield, VA.

Graduates 2015-2016

Benjamin Neville ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

neville_bSome of my best experiences in the Chinese Languages and Literatures department were writing research papers. I took Dr. Yanfang Tang’s Chinese poetry class in the spring semester of 2015, and Dr. Calvin Hui’s Senior Seminar on Shanzhai Culture in the fall of 2016. Both of these professors allowed and encouraged me to research things that interested me, and then helped my tie my interests into the theme of the class. I enjoyed reading and revising these research papers so much, and I am very grateful for Dr. Hui and Dr. Tang’s advice as I built my arguments.

When I had spare time, I loved going to the Chinese and Japanese language houses – trying new foods and making new friends. And borrowing books!

After graduation I plan to return for a masters in accounting at W&M next year. I can’t wait to come back! I’m not sure what I will do after that – rack up another masters in East Asian studies, work abroad, or maybe just live in Flushing and commute to the city – anything is possible!

Graduates 2015-2016

Gregory Packer Jr. ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies & International Relations

packer_gI have been taking Spanish classes since I was in the 7th grade (I was living in Seoul Korea at the time). So it was a natural progression for me to double major in Hispanic Studies and International Relations. I have really enjoyed many of my Department of Modern Languages classes but two of them that stand out for me are Hispanic Studies Film Cinema with Professor Buck and reading Cien años de soledad with Professor Longo. As a military kid who lived in Germany and South Korea and travelled to 28 countries on 5 continents (Antarctica and South America are the only 2 continents I haven’t visited), I got to see a lot of the world and experience many different cultures. But nothing compares to my time studying abroad in Cadiz, Spain during the summer of 2014. That study abroad experience was especially exciting because it was during the World Cup and the Spanish team was one of the favorites. It was a great experience that I will always remember.

I’ve been accepted to several Law schools in the Washington D.C. area. However, I am still trying to decide if I will start law school in the Fall or whether I will work for a year or two first to gain some work experience to help me decide which area of the law I want to focus on. I am also looking at several employment opportunities with the Federal Government and with private companies in D.C.

Graduates 2015-2016

Isabel Perrin ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

Isabel.PerrinMy name is Isabel Perrin and I am a Chinese major here at the college! I had a bit of a crazy life growing up overseas in Asia and South America but my time in Beijing was especially influential. Studying Chinese with Su Laoshi and Zhou Laoshi has been incredibly rewarding, 谢谢您! Not to mention all of the fascinating culture courses I’ve taken with Professor Calvin Hui, who has encouraged me to study and explore my passions, and has inspired me to reach for new heights – having the opportunity to write my senior thesis on the growing wine industry in China was an unbelievable experience, 谢谢您! After graduation, I am thrilled to be pursuing my passion for food and the restaurant industry while moving up to New York City to work for Baltz & Co, a restaurant PR firm.

Graduates 2015-2016

Gilbert Pitcher ’16 Senior Profile: German Studies and Russian Studies

imageI declared my German Studies major shortly after transferring to William & Mary my sophomore year. Around the same time, I decided to pick up a second language, so I started taking Russian courses. I had a number of Russian friends growing up, and the language and culture had always interested me. I spent my junior year studying German linguistics in Münster, Germany. It was an exciting time; hanging out with a mix of Germans, Russians, Latvians, and Brazilians gave me ample opportunity to work on my language skills. Returning to William & Mary for my senior year, I finished my German major while deepening my interest in Russian. Next year I’ll be moving to the Moscow suburb of Dolgoprudny to teach English. I’ve very much enjoyed my time with both the German and Russian departments, and I’m excited to see where the language skills I’ve fostered at William & Mary will take me.

Graduates 2015-2016

Nic Querolo ’16 Student Profile: Japanese Studies

queroloNic Querolo has taken courses in the Japanese department throughout his time at the College. He studied language and international business abroad at Keio University in Tokyo during the spring semester of his sophomore year. Upon returning, he began the process of creating his own major in Japanese through the Charles Center since it is currently only offered as a minor. For a capstone project, Nic wrote an honors thesis with the assistance of faculty advisor Michael Cronin on the work of Japanese Fashion Avant-Garde fashion designers. He was able to go back to Toyko to conduct his research thanks to a grant from the Charles Center. Nic is currently in the third round of interviews at NHK and hopes to be starting work at the DC Bureau in the summer as an economic associate producer.

Graduates 2015-2016

Marshall Richards ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

richards_mThe most important experience I had with Chinese was in the six months I spent studying abroad in Beijing. Not only did I learn more than I ever could have in the US, I had experiences that I may never have had the opportunity to otherwise. Were it not for the guidance of professors in William and Mary’s Chinese department, I would never have hiked on the Great Wall of China, studied at Tsinghua University, or eaten biang biang mian. After studying abroad I decided to major in Chinese and I hope to return to China to work in the future.

My current plan is to move to Washington, DC to continue the job hunt.

Graduates 2015-2016

Diana Ruiz ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

ruizMy most memorable and important education experience was when I studied abroad in Montpellier my Junior year. It was a very challenging but truly rewarding experience. Living with a host family forced me to speak French constantly and it really helped me improve my language skills. I was also able to travel throughout France to learn about the different regions and their cultures. Studying abroad was an excellent learning opportunity that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn a different language.

After graduation I will be working for Teach For America in Memphis Tennessee teaching English as a Second Language. I’m excited to start my post-grad career in a different part of the country, exploring a different region of the United States.

Graduates 2015-2016

Julie Seeley-Hall ’16 Senior Profile: Russian Studies (RPSS)

imageMy time in the Russian department at William and Mary has been fun and rewarding. I’ve enjoyed improving my Russian both in class and in the St. Petersburg study abroad program. More than an academic program, the Russian department has been a welcoming community. From guest lectures to Maslenitsa at the Russian house, it is always fun to see both students and professors outside of class. Studying Russian has always inspired me to learn more, and pushed me out of my comfort zone to and into many rewarding experiences. Next year I’ll be following in the footsteps of recent graduate Rianna Jansen and teaching English at the International Education Centre in Moscow. I never could have done it without the support and inspiration of the Russian department. Спасибо вам огромное!​

Graduates 2015-2016

Jillian Sequiera ’16 Senior Profile: Italian Studies and Government

sequieraJillian Sequiera is a Government and Italian Studies double major who recently received Highest Honors for her thesis “Antifascist Graffiti: Crime or Contribution?” Jillian is an editor at the Writing Resources Center, a writer for the Law Street Media blog and a TA for the Italian department. Her favorite courses as an undergrad were Terrorism & Insurgency (Government) and Shoah in Italy (Italian). After graduation, Jillian will be working at International Seminar Design, Inc. as the Program Manager for Italian tours.

Graduates 2015-2016

Spencer Small ’16 Senior Profile: Russian Studies (RPSS)

imageAs a graduating senior with a degree in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, and a minor in History, the world is truly my oyster. Immediately after graduating I ship off to Russia to study at Lobachevskii State University of Nizhnii Novgorod (Нижегородский государственный университет имени Н. И. Лобачевского) with the Critical Language Scholarship. Afterwards I will apply for PhD programs in Russian/Slavic studies. ​

Graduates 2015-2016

Jacqui Sorg ’16 Senior Profile: German Studies and Linguistics

JacquiMy foray into German Studies at William & Mary has been fast-paced and thoroughly rewarding: after my first year I enrolled in the six-week summer abroad program in Potsdam where I tested into the more advanced course and subsequently went on to more advanced literary courses in the following semesters despite beginning to study German at university. I found equal traction in the considerable scope of Linguistics (from social to psychological to theoretical). It was immediately evident that I enjoyed discussing socio-linguistics but my real ambitions were sparked in syntax and phonology which appealed to the early ich-laut challenge: How does one say ‘tschechisches streichholzschächtelchen’? The invaluable time I’ve spent at the College of William & Mary is defined not just by the academic material but also by the community of engaged faculty and enthusiastic classmates and teammates. Such an environment so fully outfitted to tackle the challenge of the ever curious mind, it has been a beautiful chapter of my life and has sketched an inspired picture of where my next steps lead.

Graduates 2015-2016

Genevieve Spuhler ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

Study Abroad (GS)The most important educational experience I had was without a doubt my study abroad experience. I spent the fall semester my junior year (Fall 2014) in Sevilla, España with the William & Mary program. While the classes I took in Spanish were very manageable, the homestay experience was definitely the most impactful. When you have to communicate your needs and preferences in another language and live on a completely different schedule you understand the culture in a whole new way. Also, Sevilla is such a vibrant and unique city that getting to live there was such an experience…the travel didn’t hurt either. In addition, when taking Spanish classes back at The College I felt that I was able to place them in a broader context after having spent four months in a Spanish speaking country. More adventures abroad are soon to come!

In my postgraduate life I will be working for Aon, an insurance broker, in New York City. I’m originally from Long Island so I’m very excited to be heading back up North. I interned with the company last summer and in my final presentation I emphasized the importance of being bilingual in our current day and age, a talking point with which many of my mentors agreed.

Graduates 2015-2016

Tori Taggart ’16 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

taggartOne of my favorite experiences in Modern Languages was studying abroad in Montpellier during summer 2014. Even though it was only a month, I had a wonderful time and learned a lot from the grammar course at Paul-Valéry and my projet de recherche. I loved staying with my host family, getting to know and cooking with them. I’ll never forget exploring France, enjoying les estivals by Place de la Comédie, and going to festival les déferlantes!

After graduation, I will be job-searching!

Graduates 2015-2016

Arianna Talaie ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies and Government

talaieArianna Talaie majored in Government and Hispanic Studies during her time here at the College, combining her two passions of foreign policy and languages. Her interests in globalization, diplomacy and transnational migration led her to walk 75 miles of the Camino de Santiago route across northern Spain during the summer of 2014 to advance research on liberalized global migration policies. The following winter, she moved to La Plata, Argentina to pursue a human rights program for sixth months. Arianna simultaneously enrolled in the School of Law and Judicial Sciences at La Universidad Nacional de La Plata while interning at the Committee Against Torture (Comité contra la Tortura) at the Commission for Memory (Comisión Provincial por la Memoria), analyzing denouncements from prisoners in the province of Buenos Aires and working to produce a yearly report on torture within jails. On campus, she served as international site leader for the student-run Bridges to Community trip to the rural provinces of Nicaragua, where she helped build houses for underserved families, and has upheld her role as Editor-in-Chief of the Monitor, Journal for International Studies since April of 2015. Arianna has since gone on to intern for the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C. and has presented her data on Latin American international relations methodologies in Nagoya, Japan to Ph.D. candidates and professors there.

Graduates 2015-2016

Juliet Waters ’16 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

watersAll the teachers in the Hispanic Studies department have made important impressions on me through their individual interests I have been able to learn about such wide variety of cultural issues. My most notable educational experience was going abroad to Cadiz, Spain last summer. The classes I took there were amazing at challenging me to become a better Spanish speaker, listener and citizen of the world. Also the research that I did with Professor Cate-Arries has impacted my academic career in so many positive ways, mostly because I never thought I would be able to perform interviews in Spanish or write a 10-12 page research paper, but I proved myself wrong!

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2016

Alumni Video Profile: Kevin Lonabaugh

Fall 2014 News News: Italian Studies

Introducing Italian Professor Monica Seger

Professor Monica Seger is our new faculty member in Italian Studies. In this interview, Professor Seger talks about her research, courses she’s teaching, and how her passion for the environment breathes life into both.

Fall 2014 News News: German Studies

Prof. Bruce Campbell Discusses His New German Detective Fiction Book

campbell01In 2014, Prof. Bruce Campbell came out with a new book which he co-edited and wrote an article for. The volume, titled Detectives, Dystopias, and Poplit: Studies in Modern German Genre Fiction, is a study of what Prof. Campbell describes as denigrated genres of popular fiction. Below is his discussion about the production of the book and why you should pay more attention to the genres of detective fiction, science fiction, and other popular fiction if you really want to know about German society and culture.

Fall 2014 News News: French & Francophone Studies

French Prof. Magali Compan’s Students Speak Out About New Course

In the Fall semester 2014, Prof. Magali Compan taught a new course in the French section, a Freshman seminar entitled “Francophone Women Writers”. The course examined texts by women from around the Francophone World (Mauritius Island, France, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Reunion Island, Sénégal, Tahiti, Algeria). During the course of the semester, students examined how women from different cultures and countries narrate their lives through literature and film. The texts they explored reveal vital insights into the history, culture, social realities, and politics of francophone cultures. While the course theme centered on questions of gender, the texts they explored also raise important issues of race, social class, religion, colonialism and post-colonialism. This class, which was taught exclusively in French, offered the opportunity to discuss in large and smaller groups literature and theoretical texts. In this video her students share some thoughts about the Freshmen seminar.

Fall 2014 News News: Chinese Studies

Visiting Professor of Chinese Jennifer Lee on Teaching and Research

Professor Jennifer Lee arrived at William and Mary in the Fall and has jumped into her duties in the Chinese program. Below is an interview with Prof. Lee about her teaching, research, and life at the College.

Fall 2014 News News: Arabic Studies

Iron Chef Katsuya Fukushima Cooks for the Arabic House

Chef Katsuya Fukushima, owner of Washington, DC ramen restaurant Daikaya and two-time winner of Iron Chef America came to William and Mary in the Fall to teach a class on Arabic cooking. Chef Fukushima cooked for students of Prof. Stephen Sheehi in the Arabic House, taught them about Arabic cooking and then answered some questions about his career and experiences as a cook. Watch the interview and some highlights from the cooking demonstration below:

Photo Album Spring 2014 More

2014 Russian Language Olympics (Photo Album)

Graduates 2013-2014

Sierra Barnes ’14 Senior Profile: German Studies

IMG_0750As someone who had studied German all through high school and absolutely loved it, the decision to major in German Studies seemed logical. I didn’t know it then, but that was the best worst-informed decision I have yet made.

Studying modern languages gave me the opportunity to go overseas, study in Germany, and now possibly to go to Lithuania and Austria over the summer to research and teach English. Between German and Russian, which I picked up sophomore year here, I discovered entirely new movements of literature and philosophy that I hadn’t even heard of (and certainly would not have been able to pronounce!), and having access to those other languages has proved invaluable to my study of history.

Studying a foreign language is about 95% gruelling work and 5% glowing epiphany, but as much as memorizing endless charts of verb conjugations and noun endings makes you want to eat a pint of ice cream and cry on the floor, it’s all worth it once you pick up a copy of Goethe’s Faust and read it in the original German. Learning German, and now Russian as well, has taught me more than just a jumble of funny sounds, but a whole new perspective on the world. There’s a theory that the language you speak affects the way you think. I believe it.

Graduates 2013-2014

Michaela Beane ’14 Senior Profile: French & Francophone Studies

Senior Bio Pic BeaneAfter graduating high school from the American School of Paris, Michaela entered William & Mary with a love for the French language and planned to pursue a minor in the field. Once here, her experiences in the Modern Languages department not only convinced her to pursue a major in French and Francophone Studies, but they took her academics back to France. Michaela spent the Spring of 2013 attending L’Université Lumière in Lyon, France with a focus in cross-cultural studies. Michaela plans to begin work at the State Department in the Fall of 2014 where she hopes to not only put what she’s learned here to use, but eventually call France her home again. In addition to a major in French and Francophone Studies, Michaela is pursuing a degree in Psychology and has spent her time at the College juggling both disciplines.

Graduates 2013-2014

Brooke Carr ’14 Senior Profile: French & Francophone Studies

carrBrooke Carr is a French and Psychology double major.  After taking her first French courses at William and Mary, she decided to pursue a major because of the faculty that was so invested in the students and she found that she was passionate about the French language and culture.  Her first semester senior year, she was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Montpellier, France.  The experience of living in the French culture and being immersed in the language was by far her favorite experience as  a French major at William and Mary.  After graduation, Brooke hopes to eventually attend psychology graduate school and obtain a Master of Arts in Counseling.  While she is not sure where she will ultimately end up, she is certain that her experience as a French major will prove to be a very valuable tool in her future.

Graduates 2013-2014

Mariama Cooper ’14 Senior Profile: French & Francophone Studies

cooperFor the past nine years, French has been a major part of my life (no pun intended). A Francophile at heart, the language and culture appeal to me in such a way that I often wish they were my own. Being a French major has helped me refine my lingual skills and made me even more appreciative of the language that I love. I could not have chosen a better major or a better department in which to study. Originally set on majoring in Business, the close-knit community of the French Department turned out to be far more suited to my personality. I have gained so much inspiration from my professors and peers and been awarded the privileges of living in the French House and studying abroad for a semester in France. I will leave the College with fond memories of my time as a French major and take with me a valuable lesson for life: Be unafraid to pursue your passion, for this invariably leads to happiness and success.

Graduates 2013-2014

Antonio Douglas ’14 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

douglasMy name is Antonio Douglas, a Chinese Major, Process Management and Consulting Minor, and Senior at The College of William and Mary. As graduation looms ever closer, it is funny to think how my Chinese experience started simply as s bid for more credits Freshman year. Nonetheless, four years later I find myself with strong intent to both live and teach in China the year following my graduation from William and Mary. Being a Chinese major has not only illuminated the rich culture and history of China, but has reinvigorated by belief in language’s ability to build relationships across borders. My friend groups and activities look much different now than they ever did back home in Atlanta, and most of this diversity is due to my interest in Chinese. However, no matter how varied my friend group has become or what languages we all speak, our desire to fellowship and be a genuine part of each other’s lives is consistent no matter where we’re from. I believe that this experience has only been made possible due to my time as Chinese Major at William and Mary. I thank God for the Chinese Department Professors and students, who have all contributed to my continual growth as an individual. Should I blessed to be able continue my life’s journey in China, I now have an unyielding confidence in my language skills thanks that will continue to allow me to develop relationships with those I might not have otherwise been able to meet.

Graduates 2013-2014

Erin Duffin ’14 Senior Profile: German Studies

duffinI have always loved languages, but never had a chance to study German until college. I started taking German Fall of freshman year, partly because my dad speaks it, but also on a whim just to see what it was all about. Somehow I ended up being an accidental major. Definitely the best experience I’ve had from studying German was attending the Potsdam Study Abroad Program over Summer 2013. While there, I lived in Berlin with a couple who have become great friends of mine, and was able to visit awesome sights throughout Berlin and Potsdam with fellow William & Mary-ers. I was able to use my newfound language skills, while making great friends.

Studying a language has been a great experience. How cool is it to be able to speak to people in another language? Through this department I have met so many wonderful people and learned so much about myself. After graduation, I will be attending the Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico to become a certified yoga teacher. After that, I’ll be utilizing my language skills by moving to Stuttgart, Germany as an Au Pair. I can’t thank the German Department enough for these wonderful opportunities.

Graduates 2013-2014

Brittney Gordon ’14 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

gordonI will be graduating with a double major in Hispanic Studies and Accounting with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. I knew I was a Hispanic Studies major at heart since high school, when I became fascinated with the Spanish language and culture. Upon entering William & Mary, I was deeply involved with the Latin American Student Union and became empathetic of the Latino community on campus and abroad. As I took Hispanic Studies classes, I fell more in love with the subject. With the guidance and support of my wonderful professors, I learned to be critical and academically skeptical of information and historical accounts, as they may be censored, incomplete, or representative of only one perspective, leaving out a multitude of other viewpoints and marginalized voices. Because of this, I have grown not only academically, but also personally in becoming a conscious citizen of the world and appreciating worldviews different from my own. For this, I will be forever grateful.

Highlights from my experience include studying abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica where I studied at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica alongside local students who soon became my good friends, and completing my practicum during a winter break trip to Cuba with the Mason School of Business, where I conducted interviews with locals, community leaders, academics, and government officials to develop a business plan for a sustainable, social-entrepreneurial business based in Havana.

After graduation I will be taking the Certified Public Accounting exam and will begin working in the audit practice of Ernst & Young. One day I aspire to found my own socially-conscious business addressing issues in Latin America.

News News: French & Francophone Studies

2014 William & Mary French & Francophone Film Festival

The William and Mary French and Francophone Film Festival brings every year award-winning french language films. The program starts this year on Friday January 31 and will run until February 28. For more details about the program,  consult the festival website ( You can also watch the trailer:

Graduates 2013-2014

Sara Rock ’14 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies

student for confucious instituteSara is a senior with a double major in International Relations and Chinese at the College of William & Mary. She is a Research Fellow at the Center for Geospatial Analysis and spent the past summer as an AidData Summer Fellow working at Kathmandu University in Nepal. She taught AidData methodology and geographic information software to faculty and students while at the university. Sara has previously studied at Qinghua University in Beijing, China and hopes to spend a year in China after graduation before attending graduate school for Development Studies.


Video Interview: Study Abroad in St. Petersburg 2013 Recap

In this interview with Prof Fred Corney, we find out about the research projects our students tackled during the William & Mary Study Abroad in St. Petersburg program in the Summer of 2013. Fred discusses some of the interesting projects and gives his own perspective on the real importance of this research component in our study abroad programs


Interview: New Chinese Faculty Members Calvin Hui and Lunpeng Ma

This year, we are excited to have two new faculty in the Chinese program: Calvin Hui and Lunpeng Ma. Calvin Hui (PhD in Literature, Duke University, May 2013) is Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies. His research focuses on modern Chinese humanities (film, media, literature), critical theory, cultural studies, with an emphasis on Marxist theory, gender and sexuality studies, and post-colonial and ethnic studies. Lunpeng Ma is Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies. He defended his dissertation on post WWII Chinese cinema in the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory at Stony Brook University in August 2013.

Interviewer: How do you feel teaching in the Chinese Program at William and Mary?

Hui_Calvin1Calvin: I really enjoy teaching at William and Mary. It’s such a wonderful liberal arts college where students can grow as scholars. I am impressed with W&M students – they are intelligent, diligent, curious, and passionate about intellectual work. It’s such a pleasure to work with them. I also feel lucky to be able to join the Modern Languages and Literatures department and the Chinese program. My colleagues are doing very exciting literary and cultural studies work. I respect them because they are good scholars and good teachers.

Lunpeng_Ma1Lunpeng: I feel so thrilled to teach in such a dynamic, engaging liberal arts university. The class size is relatively small, the teaching atmosphere is easy-going and fun, and there are more conversations and debates between the professor and students. I am impressed by my students’ hard-working, thought-provoking questions, and avid interest in learning every aspect of China. Another fascinating facet is the cordiality of the faculty members, which makes me feel like a family.

Interviewer: What are you teaching this semester? Tell me about your courses?

Hui_Calvin1Calvin: I am teaching two courses this fall semester. The first one is called “Fashion, Media, and Consumer Culture in (Post-)Socialist China,” a senior thesis seminar for Chinese majors. This course looks at fashion in relation to design, consumption, production, and disposal in the Chinese media landscape. By the end of the course, students have to produce a research paper and present their work in the Chinese major forum. I am already working with them on their final year projects. From the Chinese qipao to the first lady’s fashion, from romantic love and the first kiss to competitive dating shows, from the communist revolutionary to the migrant worker, we are looking at the radical transformations of China from the socialist to the post-socialist and neo-liberal eras. I hope you feel excited about their projects as much as I am! The second course is called “Introduction to Chinese Cultural Studies.” This course focuses on Maoism (political economy, class, and ideology), gender and sexuality (woman and queer cultures), and trans-nationalism (ethnicity and language). Like the way they sample Cantonese dim sum, students can have a taste of the most cutting-edge research in modern Chinese humanities.

Lunpeng_Ma1Lunpeng: I am currently teaching two classes, three sections. One is on Chinese Popular Culture, and the other Freshman Seminar (Country and City: Modern China in Transformation). The first class takes a generic approach to examine popular literature, Mandopop, mass films, and fashion. The seminar grapples with the drastic procedure in which China transforms from a rural country to a modern nation-state, a key issue that has been represented in various genres and, in particular, embodied in Shanghai’s urbanization.

Interviewer: Tell me about your current project?

Hui_Calvin1Calvin: My book manuscript is called “The People’s Republic of Capitalism: The Making of the New Middle Class in Post-Socialist China.” This project attends to the cultural dimension of the emergence of the new middle class in China’ encounter with global capitalism during the past thirty/forty years. The first part investigates the constitution of the Chinese middle class subjectivity. The second part engages with fashion and cinema to examine the ideology of Chinese consumer culture. The third part looks at the repressed underside of consumption: the migrant worker and garbage.

Lunpeng_Ma1Lunpeng: My dissertation “Advantageously Adverse: Chinese Cinemas in Transition, 1945-1951,” explores “the second golden age” of Chinese cinema on which no English monograph yet exists. Departing from the misconception “Chinese-language” cinema, I employ a locale-specific and regionally-connected approach to examine Chinese cinemas in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Manchuria. Departing from the scholarship on Shanghai cinema in the 30s, not only do I address the adversities facing postwar Chinese cinemas from a socio-historical perspective, I also reveal the uniqueness of individual cinema and their interconnectedness within and beyond national boundary.

Interviewer: Tell me about your future project?

Hui_Calvin1Calvin: My next project is concerned with the cultures of U.S.-China trans-nationalism, which attempt to theorize and historicize the trans-pacific cultural exchange between the U.S. and China from Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 to the global rise of China today. This project explores the ongoing dynamics of the most important international relation in the early 21st century.

Lunpeng_Ma1Lunpeng: I am currently working on a paper in an anthology American and Chinese-Language Cinemas: Examining Cultural Flows to be published by Routledgein 2014. The essay, entitled “Reading Hollywood in Postwar Shanghai: From The Metro News to Western Movie Pictorial” explores the consumption of Hollywood, in print culture rather than in big screen, in postwar Shanghai. It reveals the drastic change of consuming attitude and habit: from embracing everything Hollywood to “Hollywood in Chinese eyes,”and to eventually a wholesale riddance of Hollywood for Soviet Union films.

Interviewer: Anything else?

Lunpeng: So far so good.

Calvin: I’d like to inverse the interviewer and interviewee relationship. Can I interview you now?

Photo Album

Potsdam 2010

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2013 More

Japanese Program Graduation News

1) MLL Book Prize in Japanese

The prize is awarded to a student who has shown overall excellence in Japanese studies. This student is often an East Asian Studies major. This year’s award goes to Soyoung Kim.

Photo soyoung-kim (1)Soyoung Kim was born and raised in South Korea. She started learning Japanese in high school, and continued her study at William & Mary by taking four years of language classes. Since she loves to watch Japanese movies and listen to J-pop, she really enjoyed studying the language. In her senior year, she also took a Japanese-English translation class with Professor Knighton. Although she had been learning Japanese and watching Japanese movies, it was her first time doing translation. She learned how to be a creative translator in the class even though neither Japanese nor English was her mother tongue. Soyoung majored in International Relations and is very interested in the Asia-Pacific region After graduation, she is going back to South Korea to look for work enhancing relations among the Asia-Pacific countries. She expects her experience at the College and her Japanese skills to be very helpful in achieving her future goals. The Japanese section wishes Soyoung luck as she moves forward and congratulates her on this well-deserved award.

2) Kinyo Prize for Excellence in Japanese

This prize was established through the generous support of Mr. Kazuo Nakamura of Kinyo Virginia, Inc. This prize is given annually to recognize the hard work and achievements of the top students at each level of our Japanese program. Each student receives a $100 award.

First Year Japanese: Kyung Rae Kim

Second Year Japanese: Hanzhang Zhao

Third Year Japanese: Andrew Runge

Fourth Year Japanese: Soyoung Kim


Award Winner Bios

Kyung Rae Kim has done an excellent job in all aspects of the class throughout the year.  He always pays close attention to the details and easily adapts to new situations in a non-native language.  He is very goal-oriented and always seek to achieve results at a higher level.

Hanzhang Zhao’s Japanese proficiency has improved significantly this year so that she is able to talk with the instructor in a natural context. In addition, she always did a superb job on the oral presentations and other speaking activities, and they were well-received by her classmates.

Spring 2013 More

Laura Faircloth, Graduating Senior on Arabic Studies

Laura Faircloth“As a graduating senior, I have really enjoyed studying Arabic during my time here at the college.  As difficult as it was, the support of my professors and the camaraderie with my classmates made studying Arabic a little easier, and definitely more fun.  It was also really cool to see how much I learned; four years ago I was illiterate and completely confused by Arabic, but now I and many of my classmates can have intelligent discussions about complex political discussions without lapsing into English. One of the best parts of learning Arabic was studying abroad in Jordan, where I used Arabic regularly in daily life. My host mother even told everyone that I spoke Arabic, which made me really happy.”

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2013

W&M Alum, Chris Bubb, Passes Top Level on Japanese Language Test

Hi, everyone. I’m Chris Bubb, a 2010 graduate of the College and former W&M Japanese student. Recently, I was excited to have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test top level N1 exam. Below I share some of my experiences with the Japanese language at W&M and post-graduation, as well as suggestions for improving your Japanese ability.

On the road 2009
On the road 2009

Japanese Study at W&M

When it came time to choose a foreign language to take at the College, Japanese caught my eye as something that had become available for me to formally study for the first time, as it wasn’t offered at my high school. Being part of one of the first real generations of “gamers,” I knew of the existence of Japan from a very young age. I had even gone so far as to independently study kana while dabbling in a bit of Japanese grammar when I was in middle and high school. I enrolled in Japanese 101 at W&M, and in summer of 2009, spent a few weeks studying at a university in Osaka, Japan. This trip was a huge influence on my Japanese language study, and allowed me to make quite a few friends (from Japan and elsewhere) whom I stay in close contact with to this day. And I think that’s really a huge part in developing proficiency in Japanese, or any language for that matter: using it to communicate with other people. I know it may sound obvious, but actually physically communicating is really something that I cannot stress enough.

Working in Japan

My elementary school class
My elementary school class

In August of 2010, I moved to Japan to teach English. This was quite possibly the most exciting experience of my life. This is where foreign language goes from being a worksheet that you need to finish for class tomorrow to being the only way you’re going to get paid. The “moment of truth” came when I made my first trip to the post office in the tiny, one-road town that I lived in when I first moved here. The need to communicate to simply survive in this new setting was enough motivation to try to develop fluency in Japanese while living here. Not to mention that an overwhelming percentage of the population of Japan speaks Japanese exclusively, so getting along with coworkers and those outside of work requires a certain level of Japanese proficiency as well. You would not believe how much friendlier people are when they discover that you can communicate in their language. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling for everyone involved, and something I hope everyone gets a chance to experience.

Improving Your Japanese

A drawing by one of my students
A drawing by one of my students

As a student at W&M, I was able to create a solid foundation for my Japanese ability, and as an English instructor living and working in Japan, I was able to put it into practice daily with my friends and coworkers and develop that ability further. What I suggest that you do is use Japanese like your life depends on it. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking Japanese and speak with them all the time, every day if you can. Take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The mistakes you make in your classes and conversations will correct themselves in time. The important thing is that you were able to use Japanese to communicate with another individual. This is where your proficiency will ultimately come from. Unfortunately, there is no “eureka!” moment, no moment of epiphany, so you may not notice a change in your own ability right away, but keep at it. Use what you learned in class over and over and over. Unlike scientists and mathematicians, linguists don’t have the luxury of going to their notes in the middle of a conversation. That’s why you need to use your Japanese at every opportunity.

In my case, when I would speak Japanese, I had to first think in English, translate it to Japanese, and then physically say the Japanese words. This takes quite a while, especially in the middle of a conversation. But what if you were to skip that second step? This is huge. I can’t say when it happened, but there was a day when I woke up and realized that I needed to begin thinking in Japanese if I was going to get any better at speaking it. Now, I know I said there was no “eureka!” moment, but this isn’t something that I was able to do overnight. This is something that you yourself must actively do every single day. And this may sound crazy, but one of the best ways to get yourself to think in Japanese is to communicate with yourself in Japanese.

Try phrases like: 「えーっと、日本語(にほんご)宿題(しゅくだい)(なん)だったっけ?」(Uh, what was the Japanese homework again?) or

「はぁ、(つか)れたぁ、ちょっとだけ昼寝(ひるね)しようかなぁ」(Whew, I’m exhausted, I should take a little nap).

This will make speaking with others in Japanese more natural because, for you, Japanese never stops! You can also do this a bit more proactively. Just find a clip from a Japanese TV show or song that you enjoy (they’re all over the internet), listen for a phrase that you know and just say it over and over aloud to yourself. Write it down to remember it if you have to. It doesn’t even have to be overly difficult; I personally watched a ton of children’s television programs when I first moved to Japan simply because I knew I could understand them. I ended up repeating things so often that I would be teased by the Japanese-speakers whom I was with. But that’s okay! Your room for growth in Japanese all depends on how much work you are willing to put into it both in and outside of the classroom. That doesn’t mean, however, that the “work” you put in can’t be enjoyable. For as embarrassing as speaking to yourself or even talking with your classmates in Japanese may seem, I can guarantee that any amount of experience you get communicating in the language will benefit your Japanese ability in the long run. Your professors are giving you all the tools you need; it’s your turn to use those tools and build on your Japanese language skills. You’re all capable of doing great things with Japanese!


Chris Bubb (W&M 2010)

News News: German Studies Spring 2013

(Ful-)Brightening Students’ Futures in German Studies at W&M

Brandon De Graaf, recipient of the Austrian Government English Teaching Assistantship, administered by the Fulbright Commission, with Professor Rob Leventhal at the MLL Graduation Ceremony
Brandon De Graaf, recipient of the Austrian Government English Teaching Assistantship, administered by the Fulbright Commission, with Professor Rob Leventhal at the MLL Graduation Ceremony

Students of the German Studies Program at William and Mary have had remarkable success in winning major international fellowships over the last decade. This year, Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13) and Libby Hennemuth (Hispanic Studies and Government, ’13) were awarded the highly prestigious Fulbright ETA Fellowship to Germany, and Brandon De Graaf (German Studies and History, ’13) received an Austrian Government Teaching Assistantship, which is administered by the Fulbright Commission. In addition, Evan French is the first student at the College to be awarded a DAAD RISE Scholarship for a paid internship in software engineering in Hamburg, Germany, and Emma Paynter (Government and International Relations, ‘13) also received a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany.

Evan French, recipient of the prestigious DAAD RISE Internship, will be in Hamburg interning for a software firm. DAAD is the German Foreign Academic Exchange Service.
Evan French, recipient of the prestigious DAAD RISE Internship, will be in Hamburg interning for a software firm. DAAD is the German Foreign Academic Exchange Service.

These are the kinds of events which can change a student’s life, and they represent an immense personal and professional advantage for them as well as great publicity for the College. Since 1999, some 30 German Studies students at the College have been awarded Fulbright German or Austrian ETA or Research fellowships, or other major international awards of similar standing.

The German Studies students must naturally get the greatest credit here, and they are an extraordinary group. But the German Studies Section works very hard to prepare them for these types of opportunities and put them in a position where they can make their qualities known. Since 1999, the German Studies section has had a conscious, deliberate and sustained policy of preparing students to compete for these fellowships. To be sure, German Studies does not do it alone, and Lisa Grimes and the Charles Center, in particular, deserve a great deal of credit for their great support of German Studies.

William & Mary is one of the best colleges in North America, but few people know it is also one of the best places for German Studies. This is one of the many areas where William and Mary excels, without great fanfare and with only extremely moderate resources.

Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13), recipient of one of three Fulbright ETAs to Germany this year
Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13), recipient of one of three Fulbright ETAs to Germany this year


List of Major Fellowships in German Studies


  • Judd Peverall — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Brandon Travis De Graaf — Austrian Government Teaching Assistantship
  • Libby Hennmemuth — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Emma Paynter — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Grace Brennan
Grace Brennan


  • Grace Brennan — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Sarah Salino-Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Monica LoBue — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Claire Chapman — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Ariana Berger — CBYX Scholarship in Germany for 2011-2012
    Continuing on with Standard & Poors


  • Christopher Consolino — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany (History)
  • Katelyn Andell — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Pete Gianannino — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Katie Sumner — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • John Palenski — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship (declined)
    William and Mary Law


  • Faith App — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
  • Lauren Shaw — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
  • Rachael Simons-Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
    Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany (declined)
  • Dustin Smith-Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Admitted to Graduate Program in German Studies with full support, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne (deferred)


  • Kasey Hutson (’07)  — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
    Graduate Study at Washington University of St. Louis in German Studies
  • Carolyn Osinski (’07) — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
    Graduate Study at Georgetown University with full support
  • Olivia Lucas (’07) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Graduate Student in Music at Harvard
  • Naomi Dreyer (’06) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany (2007 graduate)


  • Amy Benoit — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Lenore Cebulski — DAAD scholarship for one year of study at Maximilian University of Munich
  • Amanda Norris — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Amy Kuenker — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Catherine Reynolds (’05) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Kate Pierce-McManamon — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany
    Graduate school, Technical University of Brandenburg, Cottbus, Germany with an MA in World Heritage Studies, Historical Management and Administration, 2008
  • Alana Seifts — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Currently Lieutenant, USArmy and William & Mary Law School


  • Jessica Telhorster — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Marc Landry — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
  • Jay Miller — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany
  • Lauren Nelson — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Emily Knight — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Faculty Awards News News: Chinese Studies PBK Award

2013 Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching to Yanfang Tang

tang_yYanfang Tang is a Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of William and Mary.  She is the Director of the Chinese Studies Program and also serves as the Director of the Confucius Institute at the College.

She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in December, 1993. Before arriving at W&M in 1994, she had taught at Michigan State University and Brigham Young University. Although her doctoral training was primarily in classical Chinese poetry and East-West comparative literary theory, she has expanded her course offerings, since her arrival at W&M, to include Chinese cosmology, Yi jing (the Book of Changes), women in traditional Chinese literature, film and Chinese modernization, contemporary Chinese society, the history of the Chinese language, and Chinese behavioral culture. These courses were developed all in response to the rising interest of W&M students in learning about China and Chinese culture.

Professor Tang’s research interests also span a broad range of fields, with the analysis of “culture” as the connecting theme. She has published on poetry and philosophy, culture and text, language and thought, language and communication, as well as integration of culture with Chinese language acquisition. In addition to a  textbook project, she is currently working on a book entitled Meaning without Words: Mind and Methods of Traditional Chinese Poetry. This is a new study of traditional Chinese “modern-style poetry” (jin ti shi) focusing on the underlying philosophical and artistic thought and its embodiment in the distinctive Chinese modes of poetic expression. In terms of professional service, Professor Tang sits on two editorial boards and serves as a manuscript reviewer for many academic journals and presses.

Graduates 2012-2013

Jack Brorsen ’13 Senior Profile: Japanese Studies

brorsenI had always wanted to study Japanese. I chose to attend William and Mary because of its opportunities with Japanese in and out of the classroom, and once here decided to major in East Asian Studies (technically Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) and picked up a secondary major in psychology along the way. During my time here I took Japanese classes through the 400 level, lived in the Japanese language house, served as president of the Japanese Culture Association for my junior and senior year, and began working as a TA and grader for the Japanese department. Beyond William and Mary, I worked at a Japanese language immersion school every summer as a language instructor and then later administrator, and attended a Japanese language intensive program at Keio University for one semester.
I really loved my experiences with the East Asian Studies department, but also enjoyed my psychology studies. When planning for the future, I had a difficult time imaging giving up either one. However, my real passion ultimately lies with Japanese and so I have decided to strive to become a Japanese language teacher. I plan to attend graduate school in the near future, but am first hoping to return to Japan to teach English. It has been an adventure, and I look forward to what comes next.
Graduates 2012-2013

Kayla Grant ’13 Senior Profile: French and Francophone Studies

kayla-grantKayla Grant graduates as an English and French double major, having been awarded Highest Honors for her thesis in the English Department. She studied French throughout her time at William and Mary, and also had the opportunity to practice her language skills while studying abroad in Lyon, France and Meknes, Morocco. Kayla also studied Arabic for four years and served as a teaching assistant in an Arabic 101-102 course. Outside of class, Kayla plays the cello in the William and Mary Symphony Orchestra and the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, works at Swem Library, and is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Next year, she looks forward to teaching English at the primary level in Versailles with the Teaching Assistantship Program in France.

Faculty Awards PBK Award

PBK Award for Excellence in Research for 2012: Rob Leventhal

Rob is Associate Professor of German Studies at the College of William and Mary, where he teaches German language, literature, thought and culture from the 18th century to the present.

1975-1982 Stanford University, Ph.D. in German Thought and Literature (1982)

1976  Stanford University, M.A. in German Literature, with Distinction (September, 1976)
1979-1980 Institut für deutsche Philologie, Ludwig-Maximillian-Universität, Munich, West Germany. DAAD Research Fellow
1975-1976  Fellowship of the Foreign Academic Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt), Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universität, Bonn, West Germany
1971-1975 Grinnell College. B.A. in German and Philosophy, with Honors. Phi Beta Kappa, Grinnell College
1973-1974 Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany
1973 Goethe Institut, Freiburg, Germany

Faculty Awards Plumeri

Plumeri Award for 2012: Alexander Prokhorov

Alexander Prokhorov is Associate Professor of Russian and Film Studies at College of William and Mary. His research interests include:

Russian visual culture,
genre theory, and
film history.

He is the author of Inherited Discourse: Paradigms of Stalinist Culture in Literature and Cinema of the Thaw (Akademicheskii proekt, 2007) and the editor of Springtime for Soviet Cinema: Re/viewing the 1960s (Pittsburgh Film Symposium, 2001). His articles and reviews have been published in Kinokultura, Russian Review, Slavic Review, Slavic and East European Journal, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, Art of Cinema (Iskusstvo kino), and Wiener Slawistische Almanach.

Visit his website here:

See the requirements for the Plumeri Award here. 

Faculty Awards Plumeri

Plumeri Award for 2012: Regina Root

Root’s research interests include the material and environmental culture of the Americas. She is the editor of The Latin American Fashion Reader (Berg Publishers 2005), which takes a broad look at the influence of Latin American culture on global fashion trends. The volume was awarded the 2006 Arthur P. Whitaker Prize, shortlisted for the 2006 Costume Society of America Millia L. Davenport Award, and chosen as Elle’s book of the month in June 2005 (Argentine edition) and lead title in Berg’s new online library. Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina, which began as an archival project conducted under the auspices of a Fulbright research grant, was published in 2010 as part of the University of Minnesota Press’s Cultural Studies of the Americas series. In recent years, Root has served as consulting editor of Latin American Women Writers: An Encyclopedia (Routledge 2008), guest editor of Fashion Theory, and as a reviewer or consultant to various agencies, museums, NGOs and publishers. She currently serves on the research council of Raíz Diseño, a transnational network of Latin American designers; as President Ad Honorem of Ixel Moda; and as Past President of the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies.

See the requirements for the Plumeri Award here

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Casey Swann ’12 (Video Feature)

Casey Swann ’12 spoke to me a few days before graduation this May about her self-designed Italian Studies major, her study abroad research in Rome, Italy, and about her plans for after graduation.

News News: Arabic Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Kelly Houck ’12 (Video Feature)

Kelly Houck ’12 sat down with me a couple of days before graduation to talk about her experiences in the Arabic program at the College, her study abroad in Morocco, and what her plans are after graduation.

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Bridget Carr ’12 (Video Feature)

Bridget Carr, one of our graduating seniors in French and Francophone Studies, was kind enough to sit down and talk with us right after she defended her Senior Honors Thesis on French relations in Senegal. Prof. Nicolas Medevielle and I talked to Bridget about her study abroad research, how she used that research to develop her honors project, and what her plans are after graduation.

News Spring 2012

Graduation 2012 Photo Gallery

Modern Languages  and Literatures and Global Studies Graduates celebrated with family, friends, and faculty on Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, in graduation ceremonies at Phi Beta Kappa Hall (Global Studies and International Relations) and on the Wren Lawn (Modern Languages and Literatures). Here is a selection of photos from the events.

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Jacob Lassin ’12 (Video Feature)

Jacob Lassin recently won the American Council of Teachers of Russian’s (ACTR) Post Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Award. This award, according to the ACTR newsletter, “honors those students who embody a love for and dedication to things Russian that is unparalleled among their peers.” Each college or university where Russian is taught may nominate one junior or senior as that school’s most outstanding student for that year. The award is given out annually from a nation-wide pool of candidates.

Jacob has had a very prolific and successful career here at W&M. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including W&M’s Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Excellence Award, and his senior thesis, “, Oral Histories, and the Cult of World War II in Russian Cyberspace,” received the highest honors. Jacob will be joining the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at Yale University this fall.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jacob and talk with him about his experiences abroad, his undergraduate research, and the mentoring he has received from the Russian faculty.

Fall 2011 News

Homecoming 2011 Photo Gallery

We had a great time at the Modern Languages 2nd Annual Homecoming Reception this year, which was once again held in the Reves Room at the Reves Center for International Relations. The turnout was good, with plenty of alumni, many faculty members and some of our best current students to round out the party. I didn’t catch everyone’s names from their nametags, so please send along any name corrections and accept my apologies if I missed your name. Send any updates or corrections to Mike Blum at

Fall 2011 More

Faculty Profile: Michael Cronin (Japanese)

In this interview, Michael Cronin, Assistant Professor of Japanese Language and Literature, discusses his research on the Japanese city of Osaka and how he’s bringing that research into the classroom this year in a course he’s team-teaching about “The City” with Prof. Rob Leventhal in German Studies. He also gives some book and film recommendations for people wanting to learn more about the culture of city life in Japan.

Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

Poetry: A Tool for Literacy & National Identity in Nicaragua

by Leslie McCullough |  November 7, 2011

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Jonathan Arries

Nicaragua is often thought of as “a nation of poets.” National poets such as Rubén Darío and Ernesto Cardenal have made significant contributions to world literature. Less known but also significant is the transformative role poetry has played in educating Nicaraguan youth in resource-scarce schools and in adult education.

With support from the Philpott-Perez Endowment, Hispanic Studies major John Pence ’12  was able to join Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Jonathan Arries on a research trip to Nicaragua for three weeks in summer 2011 to explore the educational role of poetry and to provide English-language instruction in an under-resourced elementary school in Managua. The “Poets and Pedagogy” project combined service-learning, community-based research, and interviews with leading poets and social activists.

“We wanted to investigate the use of poetry as a tool for critical literacy in Nicaragua,” says Arries. Critical literacy encourages learners to adopt a “critical” and questioning perspective toward the texts they read. “We anticipated our findings would deepen our understanding of the history and literature of Nicaragua, topics that are often a component in Introduction to Hispanic Studies, a required course for Hispanic Studies majors.”

Understanding the influence of poetry in Nicaragua requires a look back at the nation’s recent history.

People living in rural areas of Nicaragua had long been kept illiterate as de facto policy by the Somoza family dynasty prior to a revolution in 1979. In 1980, four months after the overthrow of the dictatorship, the new government organized the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign which was directed by Rev. Fernando Cardenal, brother of the famous poet. Nearly 60,000 youths (high school and college age) and 30,000 adults were trained and sent to rural areas to teach literacy as part of a five-month national campaign.  At that time poetry workshops played a role in the national reconstruction and offered citizens an unprecedented means of expression denied to them during more than 40 years of the dictatorship. The national emphasis on poetry continues today.

The project team with students at the Partner School in Barrio Camilo Ortega: Prof Arries; Nathan Arries; Prof Lauren Jones; John Pence

“In a country where even the most basic school supplies can be extremely scarce, Nicaraguan children are being taught to memorize and recite certain nationally important poems as a way of learning about their country’s history,” says Arries.

As part of the three-week trip, senior John Pence assisted with Arries’ research project and worked with children and teachers at Escuela La Hispanidad, an under-resourced school in Barrio Camilo Ortega, Managua. John also introduced several wooden mathematical games into the classroom as part of his service-learning project. The games – donated by Catherine Sayle ’09 who taught in Nicaragua with Arries in 2008 –  turned out to be a hit with the children and a fine motivational strategy for their math teachers. John has since raised money to hire a local Nicaraguan carpenter to build more instructional games for the school.

“The experience was very humbling,” says Pence who stayed with a local Nicaraguan family. “There are often 30-50 students per class, with many sitting on the floor. Yet students were able to stand and recite deep, powerful poetry about their country and their history, and I realized how rich this culture is.”

Nathan Arries, Prof Arries, former Minister of Education Father Fernando Cardenal, and John Pence, taken at Universidad Centroamericana, Managua

During the trip, Arries, Pence, and Lauren Jones ’04 conducted interviews to learn more about the role of poetry in Nicaraguan education. Among those interviewed were Claribel Alegria and Rev. Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan poets with international reputations, and Fernando Cardenal, former Minister of Education and director of the 1980 National Literacy Campaign.

“Poverty isn’t just there, like rain or seasons that we have no control over, we can influence it,” said Fernando Cardenal during his interview with Arries.  Cardenal believes education is key to reducing poverty, and poetry plays a major role in creating engaged and educated citizens.

“Having a student along on this project was extremely valuable,” says Arries.

“Not only was John a great resource for bouncing around ideas, he was a real contributor to the research,” continues Arries, referring to John’s interview of a fellow teacher who had been part of the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign. “John located the source and followed research protocol. We wouldn’t have gotten this interview without him.”

As Arries continues his research, he hopes to uncover potential applications of poetry as a technique for the effective teaching of critical literacy in schools in the United States, such as in classrooms teaching English as a Second Language.

News: Italian Studies

Faculty Profile: Anita Angelone (Italian)

In this video interview, I talk to Anita Angelone, Professor of Italian Language and Literature at the College. She discusses her latest research project on the Gypsies of Italy, some of the courses she’s currently teaching, and I also ask her to recommend something good to read.

Fall 2011 More

Faculty Profile: Jorge Terukina (Hispanic Studies)

I recently sat down for a video interview with Jorge Terukina, one of our newest faculty members in the Hispanic Studies program at the College of William & Mary. I asked him about his research interests, his latest academic project, the courses he’s teaching, and finally, I asked for book recommendations dealing with Hispanic Studies.

News: French & Francophone Studies

Faculty Profile: Rob St. Clair (French & Francophone Studies)

In this video profile, one of the Department of Modern Languages’ newest faculty members, Rob St. Clair, sits down with me to discuss his research on the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud; some of his favorite topics to teach; and a reading recommendation, among other things.


Adding an Image to a Post

Here is the quick and easy way to add an image from your computer to a post you created in WordPress:

Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

Teaching palette refreshed with cultural insights

by Leslie McCullough | October 17, 2011

Kranbuehl Travel Award

Hispanic Studies Instructor Patricia Toney

In late 2009, Chemistry Professor David Kranbuehl established a charitable remainder trust to support travel for Modern Language’s continuing faculty who teach introductory language courses.

“I believe in the importance of international studies, and I wanted to reward the people who teach language courses,” says Kranbuehl who has attended French and Spanish classes at the College to prepare for overseas teaching opportunities. “I think the language courses taught here are fantastic. Modern Languages is a first-class department, and I’m a great admirer of how they’ve grown over my time here.”

Inaugural Travel Awards:
Patricia Toney, Hispanic Studies; Peru
Qian Su and Liping Liu, Chinese Studies; Chinese Teachers Association Conference in Denver

A new kind of social revolution is sweeping through Peru, changing the hearts, minds, and palettes of people across the country. This cultural shift is driven by a passion for a return to the nation’s culinary roots, and Hispanic Studies long-time instructor Patricia Toney calls the change “explosive.”

Doña Mary, serving ceviche in a popular market, is one of the many who went from food stand owner to successful entrepreneur.

“It’s something I never thought I’d live to see,” says Toney. “In a very classist culture, many native foods that used to be deemed as ‘only what an indigenous would eat’ are now skyrocketing in pop culture popularity. There is an explosion of passion for homegrown food and ingredients as well as traditional recipes that can date back to the Inca times.”

Toney was intrigued by this phenomenon and wanted to learn more. Thanks to the newly established Kranbuehl Travel Award (see box), Toney spent two weeks this summer traveling through Peru’s coastal region investigating and documenting how this new fusion cuisine is bringing about social and economic changes.

In speaking with farmers, fishermen, restaurant owners, and others, Toney found that the benefits of this food movement reach beyond the farm field and kitchen. A national pride has formed around celebrating Peruvian culture and traditions.

“One of the most emotional moments I had was seeing how lives have changed,” says Toney. “It’s not just about the food; it’s a whole social change that has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of Peruvian people. As regional foods around the country become more popular, the people who grow and create the foods benefit. We’re not talking about grand bistros; these are humble kitchens and farmers who have foods that no one cared about before and are now in huge demand.”

Anticucho, one of the hundreds of newly popular authentic Peruvian dishes.

One of the popular renewed dishes is ceviche made with fish, special Peruvian lemons, hot peppers, onions, and cilantro and served with sweet potatoes and yuca. Another favorite is anticucho, which is traditionally made with cow’s heart marinated in vinegar and spices, then cooked on a

skewer over an open fire. This dish is also now made with chicken, fish, and beef.

“Roadside vendors used to be unpopular with certain segments of society,” says Toney. “Now many venders have long lines of people anxious to enjoy a regional specialty. Many people have gone from poor to small entrepreneurs, and their quality of life has changed forever.”

Interest in Peruvian cuisine is also spreading internationally. Acclaimed, upscale Peruvian restaurants are opening in major cities across the United States and around the world. This kind of attention and focus on Peruvian foods, in turn, is further driving the sense of national pride.

“Peruvian people are coming together in unprecedented ways,” says Toney. “Indigenous farmers are now guests of honor at VIP parties. Culinary school is now available to poor families. Native people with little education have become culinary celebrities. This could never have happened years ago. A new culture is forming, and it is very exciting.”

Bringing Her Insight into the Classroom

Toney with Victoriano López, an indigenous farmer who now runs La Mar, a Peruvian restaurant in Manhattan.

As a native Peruvian, Toney moved to the United States as a young girl and has personal experience negotiating cultural shifts. As a Spanish-language professor, she feels that building cultural understanding is an important part of learning a new language.

“Of course learning verb conjugations and vocabulary words is an important part of the introductory language classes I teach,” says Toney. “But students must also learn about the culture. I try to provide a cultural note at every opportunity on the many regional foods, clothes, expressions, and so much more.”

She finds that many students aren’t aware that there are so many regional and cultural differences throughout Latin America. Assumptions are often made, such as that all Spanish speakers eat certain foods like tacos. By giving students insight into specific traditions, she helps them gain a deeper appreciation and understanding for what they are learning.

“I lived the [Peruvian] culture,” says Toney, “I didn’t just read about it in a book. I love being able to share my personal knowledge with my students, and I believe they benefit greatly from my first-hand experience.”

And now, thanks to her recent research trip, she can bring fresh, new insights to her classroom teaching.

Faculty Awards Faculty Governance

Faculty Governance Award for 2011: Katherine Kulick

My primary area of research is at the intersection of second language acquisition theory and foreign language teaching pedagogies.   The classroom is my laboratory for exploring language acquisition processes and the many factors that influence adult foreign language achievement and proficiency levels.  My research bridges the gap between the theories of foreign language acquisition and the real world classroom experience of language learners.  My work views the process from both the student and instructor perspectives and translates the findings into instructional strategies, techniques and course materials.

Alumni Updates

Homecoming 2011 Signup Sheet

We look forward to seeing you at homecoming this year! Fill out the form below to let us know we can expect you! Modern Languages and Literatures will host our homecoming wine and cheese reception in the Reves Room on Friday, October 21 from 4-6pm.

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Katherine Kulick wins Aceto Award

Story by Megan Shearin, June 10 2011

Associate Professor of French and Modern Languages Katherine Kulick is once again being lauded for her service and governance to William & Mary.

Kulick has been selected as the first recipient of the newly created Shirley Aceto Service Award, an honor to be awarded annually to a member of the instructional or professional faculty “who demonstrates most fully a commitment to excellence in service for the common good.” Established in 2010, the award is named for Shirley Aceto, whose dedicated service to the College as assistant to the provost spanned nearly four decades.

This is not the first time that Kulick has been recognized for her service and governance contributions. In 2009, Kulick received the Thomas Jefferson Award – one of the College’s most prestigious awards given to a faculty member recognizing a deep devotion and outstanding service to the College.

“To even be nominated for an award bearing Shirley’s name is a distinct honor, and I was touched when I heard the news,” said Kulick. “Knowing how many dedicated and deserving individuals there are in departments, programs, offices and units all across the university, I am both humbled and honored to learn that I will receive the Shirley Aceto Award. I am grateful to be a part of such an exciting and engaged community.”

Colleagues describe Kulick as a leader, mentor, consensus builder, and a champion for her department and the College. She has been a member of the faculty for more than two decades, providing valued leadership in many areas of faculty governance.

Her contributions are endless. In 2009, for example, she served simultaneously as the William & Mary faculty representative on the Board of Visitors, as a member of both the Faculty Assembly and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly, and was also a member of the president’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Her leadership roles have included that of president of the Faculty Assembly, co-chair of the Faculty Committee on University Priorities, chair of the Faculty Compensation Board, chair of the Arts & Sciences Faculty Affairs Committee and six years as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Over the past 12 years, she has led four triennial faculty surveys, which are now web-based – thanks to Kulick’s efforts.

“Katherine’s track record in the area of service and governance ranges across every level and in every area of the College,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “Her service is vital to the College’s core mission, her leadership is extraordinary, and her dedication exceptional. I am delighted that she is the inaugural winner of the Shirley Aceto Award.”

Faculty across campus praise Kulick for her leadership, collegiality, and gracious generosity to the academy. In his nomination letter, Professor of Sociology and American Studies David P. Aday, Jr., described his close working relationship with Kulick. The two served on SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation leadership teams and helped to lead William & Mary through a successful 10-year reaffirmation process.

“Katherine was a steady source of information, guidance, and plain hard work as the committee worked its way through the many requirements, comprehensive standards and federal mandates,” he said. She also provided critical insights, says Aday, as the faculty outlined a “Quality Enhancement Plan” to build independent inquiry into the general curriculum.

In the scholarly world, Kulick is a nationally recognized expert in the field of second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy and has shared her expertise through the Foreign Service Institute, the British Ministry of Education, the Defense Language Institute, the Peace Corps, as well as dozens of colleges, universities and national professional organizations.

For years, Kulick has offered a program of instruction to William & Mary students seeking international experiences beyond study abroad options. Teaching English overseas enables these students (from disciplines across the social sciences, the natural sciences and humanities) to find employment while immersing themselves in the languages and daily lives of other cultures. Kulick, and her departmental colleague, Jonathan Arries, are currently collaborating with faculty in the School of Education to establish an accredited TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program at the College.

Colleagues say Kulick’s university-wide governance and service is inspiring for all individuals in the William & Mary community – and a great tribute to Shirley Aceto’s legacy.

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News Spring 2011 More

2010-2011 Awards & Scholarships

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is proud to announce the 2010-2011 graduating student awards and scholarships:

Dr. J. Richard Guthrie Scholarship in German Studies

  • Anna S. Kim
  • Judson R. Peverall
  • Kai I. Simenson
  • Elaine M. Vega

Elsa S. Diduk Scholarship in German Studies

  • Judson R. Peverall

Dobro Slovo Scholarship in Russian Studies

  • William Sinnott

Finn Prize for Excellence in Chinese Language Studies

  • Benjamin J. Gullickson

Finn Prize for Excellent Leadership in Chinese Studies

  • Anushya Ramaswamy

Howard M. Fraser Award in Hispanic Studies

  • K. Anne Foster

J. Banner Worth Award in Hispanic Studies for 2010-2011

  • Brittany L. Fulton (2010)

McCormack-Reboussin Scholarship in French & Francophone Studies

  • Phillippe L. B. Halbert- 2010-11
  • Bridget Marie Carr 2011-12

Pierre Oustinoff Memorial Prize in French & Francophone Studies

  • Ingrid L. Heiberg

R. Merritt Cox Fellowship in Hispanic Studies

  • Casey A. Lesser

St. Onge Prize in French & Francophone Studies

  • Michael A. Smith

Phi Beta Kappa

  • Eve P. Grice (French)
  • Ingrid L. Heiberg (French)
  • Ashley M. Hoover (French)
  • Edward Innace (Chinese)
  • Michael A. Smith (French)
  • Brittany Lynn Fulton
  • Emil Ann Vanderhoff

Highest Honors

  • Eve Grice (French & Francophone Studies)
  • Casey Lesser (Hispanic Studies)
  • Michael Ambrose Crawford Smith (French & Francophone Studies)

High Honors

  • Philippe Halbert (French & Francophone Studies)
News Spring 2011 More

Mike Blum receives 2011 Duke Award

by Erin Zagursky | April 19, 2011

When Mike Blum received a phone call from William & Mary President Taylor Reveley telling him that he had won this year’s Duke Award, the academic technologist suspected that his friends were playing a trick on him. When he next got a call from the president’s assistant and then another from a development officer, he knew it was no joke.

“It’s really wonderful, but it’s also incredibly humbling and I don’t feel like I can be given a particular award for my dedication to the College, because they make dedication incredibly easy,” Blum said.

The Charles and Virginia Duke Award, established in 1997, is presented each year to a staff member for his or her outstanding service and dedication to the College. Awardees receive $5,000 with the award as well as recognition during the College’s annual Commencement ceremony.

“Mike Blum’s strong desire to make William & Mary better and his excellent work to do just that are inspiring. We’re fortunate to have him at the College,” said Reveley.

Blum began working at William & Mary in 2001, about one month before Sept. 11.

“That was one of the first sort of important tasks I had was to get the TV to work so we could watch the horrible events (of that day),” he said.

Blum started at the College as a technology liaison, meaning, “basically if power came out of the wall and made this thing work, I was responsible for it for faculty members,” he said.

He would fix printers, show faculty members how to use word processors and give advice on how they could incorporate technology into their curriculums.

Throughout the last decade, he has helped members of the campus community integrate tablet PCs, Wiki pages, websites and even Google maps into their classes. Blum has become known as the go-to person for anyone with questions about Blackboard.

“I’m not an advocate for technology. I’m an advocate for academics,” he said, adding that, if technology is the best way for faculty members to accomplish their goals, he wants them to be able to use it.

Blum, who earned a master’s degree in English at the College and whose son now attends William & Mary, noted that the school is unique in that its undergraduates get to work directly with faculty.

“Anything that I can do to help that and facilitate students’ collaboration with the faculty members, that is really my absolute goal, so that’s why it’s not very hard to be dedicated,” he said.

Blum said he works with faculty members and students with a wide range of technological understanding.

“I think it’s important for someone who is doing the sort of work that I do to be in touch with both of those groups as well as to understand, from an IT perspective, what is coming down the pike,” he said. “It’s a multi-faceted job.”

Though he never knows what challenges the day is going to bring him, Blum said that’s what makes his job so enjoyable.

“It’s never the same every day. It’s never the same every week, and it changes over the years,” he said.

Blum said his time at William & Mary has been “an absolutely wonderful experience.”

“For the past 10 years, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity and a more fulfilling job for my personality because I get to work in academia, but I also get to help faculty members use technology that’s going to help them in their research, that’s going to help them in their teaching.”

Although he still finds it hard to believe that he is this year’s Duke Award winner, Blum said that receiving the honor “says just as much about the people who put me up for the award as it does about anything that I do for them.”

“It’s a very humbling experience, not only knowing that they value what I do, but when you take a look at the other people who have won this in the past, it’s just, I feel very privileged,” he said.

News News: French & Francophone Studies

Bellini Colloquium Talk: Vlad Dima

Thursday, April 21st, 4:00 PM, Washington 315

Sound Moves: Sonic Space in French and Senegalese Cinemas

This presentation explores the ways in which sound creates a new sense of spatiality in the films of Jean-Luc Godard and Djibril-Diop Mambety. Both directors challenge the primacy of the visual by foregrounding how aural planes affect and alter the economy of visual planes. As a result, I determine that new (aural) narrative plateaus surface from the plasticity of sound, which displaces and complicates filmic images. These planes, diegetic and extra-diegetic, reshape the current paradigm of the relationship between spectator and film. In other words, the sound manipulation techniques encountered in the films of the two directors generate a space continuum in which the audience becomes intimately involved with the projection on screen. I will discuss two such prevalent techniques (that I identify as the sonic jump-cut and the sonic rack-focus) which unfold aural planes in a way that suspends the visual-focused narration.

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News News: Hispanic Studies

W&M student wins Latino Scholar award

Milena Jaimes Ayala and Prof. Jonathan Arries
Milena Jaimes Ayala and Prof. Jonathan Arries

Milena Jaimes Ayala received the “VALHEN Latino Scholars Award” at the annual meeting of the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network on March 25th, 2011. A junior, Milena transferred to William and Mary this spring semester from Richard Bland College. Her major is Kinesiology and Health Sciences, a field she chose because of her desire to help those in need to overcome physical limitations and lead the fullest life possible. Her long-term goal is to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy

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News News: Russian Studies Spring 2011

Russian television provides opportunities for learning and collaborative research

Watching too much television is bad for you. That is, unless you’re a student in Elena Prokhorova’s Senior Research Seminar class. In Prof. Prokhorova’s class, they’re studying the cultural significance of television programs like the Russian version of Fran Drescher’s sitcom “The Nanny”, but this is no mere classroom exercise. The course is designed around an end-of-semester scholarly symposium the students are organizing. Jacob Lassin (’12), a student in the class, has been working hard on organizing the conference, including designing the conference t-shirt. Jacob is in the group working on the conference paper focusing on the Russian Nanny, and he says their paper will be “about adapting gender roles from an American sitcom to a Russian sitcom, and how gender roles are portrayed.” Watch Jacob’s interview, with a discussion of the paper, below:


The symposium, which will take place on April 7-9, will host many prominent scholars in the field of Russian Cultural Studies from around the world. Will Sinnott, W&M class of 2011, another Russian student involved in the symposium, describes how the experience of working on the symposium has broken some of the boundaries between faculty and students and has led to real collaboration and research opportunities. Watch an excerpt from Will’s interview here:


Prohorova emphasizes that “the students are involved in the most immediate way: they will present their papers, they are participating in all other panels, so they will be exposed to actual research that is happening in the field, and they are also involved in organizing this whole event.”


The synergy of coursework and real research, along with the opportunity to meet and interact with scholars in the profession, makes this a unique opportunity for the students in the Russian program, and the skills they are learning in organizing the symposium are remarkable. This emerging model of collaboration between our faculty members and students to produce real research and real-world forums in which to present that research is one of the most exciting new developments at the College and Professor Prokhorova is hoping to be able to continue hosting such symposia in future years.

The symposium will take place from Thursday April 7 through Saturday, April 9, 2011. Many of the symposium’s events, such as film and television episode screenings (some subtitled by our own students), will be open to the public. For more information, a list of participants and a schedule of events can be found on the symposium website: All the featured films and television programs will be available at Swem Library at the end of the symposium.

Professor Prokhorova would like to thank the Reves Center for International Studies, the Charles Center, Global Studies, Film Studies and the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences for their generous support.

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News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2011

W&M Chinese faculty to host teaching workshop

The phenomenal rise of interest in Chinese language study is making a significant mark in the transformation of the K-12 curriculum. As college programs across the country continue to expand, elementary and secondary institutions are also hiring more teachers and building new curricula to accommodate demand for Chinese from schoolchildren and their parents. Increasingly important are partnerships between language pedagogy experts at the university level and K-12 teachers that facilitate the exchange of new ideas, methods and practices.

On April 16, 2011, William & Mary will host the annual Spring workshop of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Virginia (CLTA-VA). This workshop will bring together language teachers from Virginia schools of all levels, from kindergarten and through university.

CLTA-VA was founded in 2008 by a consortium of professors and educators in Chinese language. Since then, it has hosted workshops at the University of Virginia and George Mason University designed to help Chinese teachers of all levels improve their teaching and learn the latest techniques in this growing field. CLTA-VA is also affiliated with the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) and contributes to, to FLAVA’s yearly workshop on foreign language pedagogy. This year, W&M is the host of the CLTA-VA workshop, and the theme is incorporating technology in the classroom. Professor Yanfang Tang and Chinese instructors Qian Su and Liping Liu are all board members or officers of CLTA-VA. This year, they are in charge of bringing the workshop to William & Mary. They expect between 50-70 teachers and instructors from all over Virginia will attend to share ideas, listen to speakers, forge new networks and consolidate old ties. “CLTA-VA is not just for the college level,” says Liu, who holds a doctorate in Education. “It’s also for middle school and primary school. Especially in the DC area, there are many Chinese teachers in the elementary levels.” She noted that the majority of attendees are instructors of elementary and secondary education. Qian Su, the lead Chinese instructor at W&M, echoed these remarks. “As college instructors, we’re doing outreach to help K-12 teachers. Local teachers really look up to what we’re doing in the college level. We see this workshop as a way to help promote Chinese language as a form of enrichment for K-12 students.”

This workshop highlights the heavy involvement of both W&M professors and instructors in contributing to the K-12 community, and in the promotion of Chinese language instruction throughout Virginia. Prof. Tang, Su and Liu are very active in developing and promoting Chinese language pedagogy. Their work also underscores the importance of thorough and dynamic Chinese language training as the key component of the Chinese major and minor programs at W&M. By helping develop Chinese language at the K-12 level, CLTA-VA hopes to funnel talented and experienced language students in Chinese major programs throughout the state, in the same way that programs in French or Spanish benefit from students with secondary education training in those languages.

As a continued part of W&M’s commitment to fostering Chinese language instruction in the community, the School of Education recently approved licensure in K-12 Chinese teaching for W&M students who seek to teach Chinese at the K-12 level. As demand for Chinese teachers in the K-12 level grows, W&M’s Chinese program and the School of Education hope to increasingly take part in fostering new ranks of Chinese teachers.

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News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2011 More

Chinese film digs out of poverty

In the middle of the night, when the police are avoiding unpaved roads, a group of miners transports petrified wood to Shanghai and Beijing. For a group of Uighur miners, this transport of petrified wood is their first stepping stone out of poverty: one piece may earn them over half a million Chinese yuan.

On Tuesday night, the Asian Studies Initiative hosted an on-campus screening of “Deserted Diggers,” a documentary by Chinese independent filmmaker Joy Le Li, as part of the Silk Road events to promote the new major, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Rachel DiNitto, associate professor of Japanese and co-director of the grant-funded Asian Studies Initiative, helped to arrange the screening of the film. The Silk Road events promote Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, which combines East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. The Education Policy Committee approved the new major in fall 2010 and hope to offer the program to students by fall 2011.

“As part of the grant and our interest in kicking off the new major, we’ve set up a whole series of events for this semester,” DiNitto said.

The documentary tracks the lives of a group of Uighur miners in the world’s second largest petrified wood forest of the Junggar Basin near Xinjiang, China. The ongoing conflict between the majority group, the Han Chinese, and the Muslim minority group, the Uighurs, creates disparity in the town of Xinjiang. In order for many Uighurs to provide for their families, the men must mine petrified wood. However, in doing so, the miners risk their lives and safety.

In 2011, the Chinese government outlawed the excavation of petrified wood. Only one company, a Han Chinese company called the Yema Group, was able to obtain the rights to mine the fossilized wood. In order for Uighurs to continue to mine, they had to either mine illegally or share some of their profits with the Yema Group.

DiNitto presented the film to spread awareness of the social issues with the Uighurs. Although Li was unable to attend the screening, DiNitto and Li arranged a live Skype session following the screening for the audience to discuss the film. For the students in attendance, the film offered a rare glimpse into the lives of Uighur miners in China.

“Through watching this specific group of miners, you learn more about the Uighur issue as a whole,” Claire Dranginis ’11 said. “I had heard of the Uighurs before, but I never really knew of them in detail and was curious about the issue.”

In the Skype session, Li recounted the struggle to understand the Uighur minority. Since the Uighurs are often discriminated against in China, Li had to rebel against the Han Chinese negative perception of the minority.

“Some Han Chinese think that Uighur people are backwards and have bad tempers,” Li said. “The groups coexist, but they don’t really intermingle.”

Stephen Hurley ’12 attended the screening after studying abroad in Beijing last semester.

“What Joy said about the Chinese people’s perspective on the Uighurs was, in my experience, right on the dot,” Hurley said. “Some of the teachers in the program gave off the feeling that the Uighurs are us, but they’re not really us.”

The disconnection between the groups was most evident through the story of Jengis, a Uighur miner. Due to his extreme poverty, his wife had left him. Mining petrified wood was his only chance to overcome his situation. He described the daily trials of being a part of the minority and trying to mine petrified wood.

“It’s really hard to dig. We do it. We have no choice,” Jengis said.

Jengis and the other miners shared their personal struggles and opinions on their conditions in the documentary. The eclectic mix of personalities illuminated the life behind the conflict of the Uighurs and Han Chinese. When she arrived in China after studying at Columbia University in New York, Li happened upon the group by chance.

“The way I met this group of Uighurs was really pure luck. I was lost in the desert and I ran into them,” Li said. “They helped me get out of the desert, and I was so fascinated by them. I decided I would go back and make this film.”

The chance encounter in the desert led to the production of a documentary. Li filmed the group over a two-year period and focused on the miners’ lives with their families and their daily struggles in the mines.

The road to the final product was not smooth, as Li often faced police interrogations. Even today, the film has not been shown in China for fear of punitive measures being taken by the government. Still, Li hopes that the film will help other people understand the struggles of the Uighurs.

“I want to let people understand Uighurs better,” Li said. “They have love, they are funny, and they are just like everyone else.”

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Spring 2011 More

Faculty Profile: John “Rio” Riofrio (Hispanic Studies)

John “Rio” Riofrio is a faculty member in Hispanic Studies. His interest in Latino and Latin American Studies influence much of his research and his courses. In this video profile, Rio discusses his class on Mexico, his research for an upcoming book, and what he likes about teaching at William & Mary. In the video, he also briefly mentions his work on a recent conference, the National Colloquium on Minority Studies. Click here to watch his discussion of that colloquium in more detail.


Any research process is a creative process.

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News: Russian Studies Photo Album Spring 2011 More

Russian Maslenitsa 2011

Maslenitsa is a great time for the Russian Department to come together and enjoy each other’s company. In Russia, Maslenitsa is a celebration of the sun. In the Russian House, it’s a celebration of friendship and the spring semester. Every year enormous amounts of Russian food is prepared including blini, crab salad, and buterbrod. Both students and professors come to the Russian House to celebrate, play games, and, of course, feast on food.

This year, in addition to great food, we played an hilarious game of Jeopardy in which the categories were: “Russian Phrases”, “Russian Myths”, “Famous Russians”, and “Know Your Professors Pt. 1 and Pt. 2”. The winning group received prizes (Russian candy)! And at the end of the night everyone left with a full stomach and a lighter heart.

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News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2011

Spanish Pilgrimage brings together Hollywood stars, academics

An academic colloquium is not usually where one would expect to see Hollywood stars, but the Camino de Santiago is said to have caused greater miracles to happen.

George Greenia with Martin Sheen and Emilio EstevezThe thousand-year-old Spanish pilgrimage is the setting for “The Way,” a new film written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring Martin Sheen. Thanks to the efforts of William & Mary Professor George Greenia, the two Hollywood stars screened their film on Feb. 18 at Georgetown University, kicking off the Workshop on Pilgrimage Studies, co-hosted by the College and Georgetown’s department of Spanish and Portuguese.


Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines and 30 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada attended the two-day workshop. The group is working to create an international, interdisciplinary consortium to teach pilgrimage studies in Santiago de Compostela starting in the summer of 2012.

“The historic trek to that World Heritage Site is a unique example of a universal urge to leave home to find yourself,” said Greenia, a professor ofHispanic studies. “From the Ganges to Ground Zero to Graceland, we are all pilgrims on the way.”

Greenia, who has travelled the 500-mile Camino every year since 2005, said that plans for the pilgrimage workshop were almost complete when organizers learned of the Estevez’s film, which had premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and in Spain.

The movie focuses on the character of Tom, an American doctor who travels to France after his son dies just one day into the pilgrimage. Tom, played by Sheen, decides to finish the journey that his son began. Along the way, he meets other pilgrims who are facing their own struggles and looking for some sort of redemption or resolution through the journey.

“This is a whole journey of discovery and loss,” said Sheen. “And very often the only way we can heal loss is by helping others.”

With the assistance of the Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday, Greenia was connected to Estevez and asked whether the actors would be interested in screening the film at the workshop.

“He graciously said yes,” said Greenia, “and a studious academic affair immediately turned into a Washington event.”

More than 350 people attended the Friday evening screening, including Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, Spanish Ambassador to the United States, and Infanta Cristina of Spain, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, her consort, Iñaki Urdangarín, and their son, Juan Valentín. Additionally, a number of faculty members and students from William & Mary were in attendance.

Prior to the screening, Martin and Estevez gave several press interviews, including one on video to William & Mary News, moderated by Greenia. The Washington Post later included a photo of Greenia’s interview with Martin and Estevez and a description of the event in its Feb. 21 “Names and Faces” column.

Greenia opened the workshop weekend by welcoming the audience to the screening, thanking the William & Mary Washington Office, Georgetown and numerous others for making the event a reality.

William & Mary President Taylor Reveley also gave brief remarks before the film, saying that this is “the latest manifestation of an enduring collaboration between Spain and William & Mary.”

Reveley noted that William & Mary faculty have been teaching on the Camino for nearly two decades and that Greenia has led students on the journey for each of the past six summers.

“Their research projects conducted on the 500-mile trek have spanned a host of disciplines,” said Reveley. “As George has described in the brochure tonight, the rhythms of the walking offer a stark contrast to the immediacy of modern travel. Though an individual person takes each step along the Camino, there are many partners in the journey.”

Reveley said that William & Mary looks forward to working with all of the universities involved in the consortium “as our individual strengths yield a collective good for the benefit of our students.”

“Recent decades have brought a resurgence of interest in the 1,000-year-old Camino de Santiago and the pilgrimage offers the perfect means for Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez to share their Spanish heritage and their artistry with the American public,” he said.

Sheen, whose father was born in the Galicia region of Spain, said that the film is “a reflection of a miracle that happened in our family in 2003.” That year, Estevez’s son Taylor, who served as an associate producer on the film, was travelling the Camino with Sheen by car when he met his future wife.

Estevez said that the film “is truly a love letter to Spain, and it is also an homage to my grandfather.”

Along with writing and directing the movie, Estevez also appears in it as Tom’s son. Calling the film a father and son story, Estevez praised his both on-screen and real-life father for his work in the film.

“The only thing that my father has ever tried to sell to anybody is his heart, and you see it all over this picture tonight,” Estevez said. “It is a performance of quiet dignity. It is the performance, in my opinion, of a lifetime, and I’m extremely proud to have called myself his director and his costar in this.”

The film is expected to be released in the United States Sept. 30, 2011, and on DVD in February 2012.

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