2020 Modern Languages Graduates

Our heartfelt congratulations to the extraordinary class of 2020! We invite you to get to know them by clicking on their bios below.
 Isabel Arnade
Isabel ArnadeHispanic Studies
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Isabel Arnade

Hispanic Studies

Being a Hispanic Studies major has been a fulfilling and valuable experience for me. I am thankful for the department for allowing me to develop new perspectives through the study of a variety of cultures and subjects and improve my language skills, as well as my literary analysis and writing skills.These are skills that I know will serve me well in life after college. I have been able to deepen my knowledge about the inequality that exists in the world through my work and travels within the Hispanic Studies department and while I do not have a dream job, I hope to one day make a difference in lessening the inequality that marginalized groups experience. I want to thank my mom who has been my inspiration for studying Spanish in high school and continuing with it in college.
 Margot Baden
Margot BadenJapanese Studies
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Margot Baden

Japanese Studies

Furthering my understanding of Japanese culture, history, language, and politics through my studies with the Japanese department has been the most rewarding part of my academic career at William and Mary. My professors have been nurturing, compelling, and passionate, encouraging me to further my studies and interest in Japan at every step. My role in helping to run William and Mary's Japanese Culture Association since freshman year has allowed me to collaborate and connect with others passionate about Japanese culture in a non-academic setting. This combination of studying under the Japanese department and engaging and learning about Japanese culture with JCA has greatly enriched my college experience and to foster my growth as a student and individual. My most rewarding opportunity was studying abroad at Keio University in Tokyo, which affirmed my long-term goal of pursuing a career in Japan. I am very thankful to my professors and the MDLL staff for allowing me every opportunity to make the most of my college experience. I am so excited to continue my journey by working in Japan as a JET Assistant Language Teacher come September. I hope that I will utilize what I have learned in my International Relations and Japanese Studies major in a long-term career facilitating cross-cultural connections.
 Samuel Bernard
Samuel BernardFrench & Francophone Studies
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Samuel Bernard

French & Francophone Studies

This is probably lots of people’s stories, but here goes! Studying French at William & Mary gave me the tools that I needed to spend junior year in France and succeed educationally and personally in the country. No matter how cliché, this really has altered my life plans because my short-term career dream is simply finding some sort of employment in France at least for a while, however long that ends up being. And that’s exciting.

The professors in the French department are just amazing and they’ve done so much helping me learn and figure out my interests in French studies. It's been massively rewarding academically. 

The study abroad office also did so much for me and I feel so lucky to have had access to the excellent programs I participated in in Montpellier and Strasbourg. The professors and friends I met in these places stay in my thoughts daily.  

I’d also like to say how much I look up to the fantastic Martine Fize who runs the housing program in Montpellier. She's great! I believe she is technically an employee of William & Mary and she was so lovely and welcoming to me.   

 Allison Bolton
Allison BoltonJapanese Studies
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Allison Bolton

Japanese Studies

My name is Allison Bolton and I am a double major in Japanese Studies and Linguistics, with an unofficial minor in TESOL. Language and music are my passions. I’m native to Northern Virginia and I am going to miss W&M terribly! Thank you for 4 years of learning, growing and bonding.
 Emma Brigaud
Emma BrigaudFrench & Francophone Studies
Emma Brigaud

Emma Brigaud

French & Francophone Studies

Emma Brigaud is graduating from William & Mary with a B.A. in French and a B.B.A. in Marketing with a focus on Innovation and Design. She took advantage of the many opportunities the campus has to offer to continue learning, pursue her passions, and form meaningful friendships. Emma has loved being in Reveille A Cappella since her freshman year, with fond memories of touring during fall break and Wren 10 concerts, and she also enjoyed being part of a sisterhood in Kappa Delta sorority. She pursued her passion for art and fashion with Rocket Magazine, and practiced her entrepreneurial and public speaking skills by winning pitch competitions at the Miller Entrepreneurship Center. Emma is looking forward to a career at the intersection of design and international business, and gained leadership experience as the VP of Creative Services for Agency 1693. Emma would like to express her gratitude for the support of the Modern Language department, and especially her peers and the faculty in the French department. Her time at William & Mary has enriched her life, and she is excited to stay in touch and continue to be a part of the community as an alumna.

 Joel Calfee
Joel CalfeeHispanic Studies
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Joel Calfee

Hispanic Studies

Spanish courses were a core part of my academic experience all the way through high school and I adored them. Yet, when I first arrived at William & Mary, I had placed out of the language requirement and I was unsure whether I was going to continue with a foreign language. Luckily, during the spring of my freshman year, I decided to take "Literary Criticism" and I was blown away by the difference between a college-level language course and a high school one. While I have always been drawn to English, it was that opportunity to analyze poetry and literature in "Literary Criticism" that demonstrated to me that my courses within the Modern Languages Department could be a continuation of the things I love, and I ended up declaring a double major in English and Hispanic Studies. The Hispanic Studies faculty has introduced me to a wide breadth of new knowledge, and I have been able to study a different language through the lens of many different disciplines, including linguistics, history, and film studies. Meanwhile, due to my Hispanic Studies major, I was able to visit Europe for the first time in my life and study abroad in Cádiz, Spain, which would easily become one of the best summers of my life. With regards to my plans post-graduation, I was recently accepted into a publishing institute at Columbia University in New York. While I am hoping to pursue a career in publishing and journalism, I know that I will carry the invaluable skills and cross-cultural perspectives that I gained from my Hispanic Studies major forever.
 James Card
James CardFrench & Francophone Studies
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James Card

French & Francophone Studies

My journey with the Modern Languages Department began even before I arrived as a first-year member of the Tribe. When scouting for universities, William & Mary allowed me to attend a session with now retired Professor Maryse Fauvel in a class on French cinema. Once I arrived at William & Mary, my beady-eyed ambition brought me into signing up for the Montpellier Summer Study Abroad Program for which Professor Fauvel happened to be the leading faculty member. That experience of being able to research the political culture of Montpellier in the aftermath of the 2017 Presidential Election is something I will cherish forever. It was exciting, frightening, challenging, and enlightening. Being a French major has also satisfied my passion for learning not only how to effectively use the French language but also how to share it with others. After returning from Montpellier, Angela Leruth, my first French professor at William & Mary, offered me an opportunity to become a mentor for students who came into higher-level French courses with the right number of credits but still continued to struggle with the grammatical foundations of the language. Each session I held in Swem was as much a learning experience for me as it was for my mentees. It was among the many experiences that made me a better communicator both in and outside of the French language. Whether it was working as Lead Tutor for French in the Tribe Tutor Zone, presenting my research from Montpellier at a research festival, or serving as a teaching assistant; the level of confidence this department instills in their students drives an effective learning experience that is a hallmark of our university’s values. My hopes are to continue to use both the language and personal skills my four years have given me in the field of research or international development.
 Grayson Cox
Grayson CoxHispanic Studies
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Grayson Cox

Hispanic Studies

I’m both an International Relations and Hispanic Studies major, but I often joke that I’ve learned so much more about the world through the Modern Languages Department than through Government. Hispanic Studies has provided me with tangible, often surreal experiences in understanding how states and societies function. In study away programs in Argentina and Guatemala and with my internship at the National Security Archive, I was able to bear witness and contribute to processes of democratization, peace-building, and transitional justice in Latin America. I am especially grateful for the guiding hand of Silvia Tandeciarz, who convinced me to study abroad in La Plata during her office hours one day freshman year, and from that point on has accompanied me in several formative experiences. I intend to pursue a graduate program in Latin American Studies or International Development in the near future. My profile picture was taken in Valparaíso, Chile, by far the most extraordinary city I’ve ever visited!
 Teyana Daley
Teyana DaleyHispanic Studies
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Teyana Daley

Hispanic Studies

I am extremely grateful for the two years that I have spent at William & Mary, especially in the Hispanic Studies department. After declaring my major during my first fall, I was able to hear about all of the connections that the program had around the country, and the world. I immediately jumped in and applied for an internship with the Embassy of Spain in their Cultural Affairs Office in Washington, DC. I was selected for the internship and by that May I was in a fully Spanish-speaking workplace. That experience was something that I dreamed about since I was 16, studying abroad in Zaragoza, Spain. To finally be able to live out a long-term goal due to the connection that the Hispanic Studies Department had with the Embassy solidified my decision to transfer to William & Mary. I learned so much during my internship, helping plan and host events with Diplomats and Washington's elite, which was an experience I will never forget. 
 Brian Donahue
Brian DonahueChinese Studies
Brian Donahue

Brian Donahue

Chinese Studies

I came to William & Mary intending to major in Biology on the pre-med track. Having taken Chinese classes in high school, I decided to continue studying the language when I arrived on campus. My freshman year classes with Professor Su encouraged me to continue taking classes in the department. During my sophomore year, I ventured into the literature courses offered and decided to turn my interest in Chinese into a major. My experiences in the program have helped me to extend beyond the language and into a greater understanding of the breadth and depth of what constitutes “China,” the process by which the modern sociopolitical China came about, and how to understand China through both its literature and cinema.

Because of the opportunities available through the Chinese department, I spent the summer of 2018 participating in Professor Hill’s study abroad program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. This opportunity led me to apply for and receive the US Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship to spend the summer of 2019 participating in a fully-funded intensive language program in Xi’an at Shaanxi Normal University.

This May, I am graduating with a degree in Chinese Language & Literature as well as a minor in Biochemistry. After working for a few years, I intend to apply to medical school. I hope to work as a physician in Chinese-speaking communities, whether that be in the United States or abroad. I am grateful to my advisor, Professor Hill, and the rest of the William & Mary Chinese department for their guidance and encouragement these past four years!

祝大家万事如意!

 Daniel Lester Edwards
Daniel Lester EdwardsHispanic Studies
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Daniel Lester Edwards

Hispanic Studies

My involvement in the Hispanic Studies Department at William & Mary has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my time in college. Not knowing what I wanted to major in, I did not enroll in a Hispanic Studies class until the fall of my sophomore year. I would like to thank Professor Baker, Professor Blanco-Mourelle, and Professor Buck for guiding me in my three-year journey of Spanish language, culture, and literature. From writing recommendations for a summer semester in Cádiz to proofreading my law school applications, I have found a tremendous amount of personal and professional support throughout the Department. Hispanic Studies has enabled me to become a more global citizen and I would like to thank everyone in the Department that makes study abroad trips as the Cádiz program such an educational and enlightening experience. Thanks to the incredible learning process that I have enjoyed in the Hispanic Studies Department, I plan to continue using my invaluable language skills moving forward in law school and the workforce.
 Nicole Fitzgerald
Nicole FitzgeraldHispanic Studies
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Nicole Fitzgerald

Hispanic Studies

My name is Nicole Fitzgerald and I am a Hispanic Studies and Finance double major from Dobbs Ferry, New York. After graduation I will be working in New York City at a consulting and research firm. I came to William & Mary knowing I wanted to pursue a Hispanic Studies major, and I feel so lucky to have had the support of such amazing faculty over the course of my four years.I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain twice-in Cádiz, and in Barcelona. The combination of my liberal arts background that I gained from Hispanic Studies, in combination with my business major is sure to serve me well in the future.
 Evelyn Gibson
Evelyn GibsonHispanic Studies
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Evelyn Gibson

Hispanic Studies

I decided to major in Hispanic Studies at the last minute because I needed to declare a major and I wanted to get better at Spanish, but my experience in this department has challenged me to grow and broaden my worldview far more than I expected, and far beyond my ability to speak Spanish (although I got pretty good at that too). Apart from my HISP classes, I also lived in the Hispanic House for three semesters, studied in Sevilla for one semester, and volunteered with English Language Learners at a local middle school, all of which are experiences that I will value for the rest of my life. I want to thank all of the Hispanic Studies faculty for working so hard to make sure we got the most out of every class, especially my advisor, Professor Buck.
 Sonali Gobin
Sonali GobinFrench & Francophone Studies
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Sonali Gobin

French & Francophone Studies

Running from Miller Hall to Washington in less than 10 min is hands down the biggest achievement of my undergraduate path at W&M. Ha jokes aside, while the walk was my least favorite part, one of the highlights of my time at the college has definitely been taking French classes. I did not come to W&M planning on majoring in French & Francophone Studies but after taking my first class with Prof. Compan on post-colonialism literature, I was sold. From there, I went on to take at least one French class every single semester and I have enjoyed every single one of them. The French Department has also allowed me to meet absolutely incredible people who are now my closest friends. The most meaningful moment was definitely being a Teaching Assistant for the French department for 5 semesters as well as a student grader for multiple professors within the department. Post-graduation, I plan to go into consulting and further down the line in the International Development field where I intend to use both my Business and language background. A huge thank you to my professors who helped shape my passion for the language and special mention goes to Prof. Magali Compan, Prof. Michael Leruth, Prof. Angela Leruth, Prof. Antoine Caille, and Prof. Deborah Lee-Ferrand. Thank you for being amazing professors, supporters, and friends to me. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you guys!

 Philip Grotz
Philip GrotzHispanic Studies
grotz_philip_hisp

Philip Grotz

Hispanic Studies

I came to William & Mary with no intention of majoring in Hispanic Studies, but now I could not imagine my education without it. Studying Hispanic studies gave me so many invaluable experiences, from being able to perform research on jazz-flamenco music while studying abroad in Cádiz, Spain to working as a medical interpreter on the Eastern Shore for migrant workers and other Spanish-only speakers. I still use the skills and principles I learned in Professor Carrión’s class on medical interpretation to when working with Spanish-speaking patients while volunteering in healthcare. Working on the Eastern Shore also made me realize how much I enjoy working in underserved communities, and this is something I hope to continue as I pursue an MD at the University of Virginia.
 Carolin Helmholz
Carolin HelmholzChinese Studies
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Carolin Helmholz

Chinese Studies

As a transfer student, I didn’t initially think I’d be majoring in a language. But with the warm reception I received from the department here at W&M, coupled with engaging classes and excellent instructors, I quickly knew I would graduate as part of the Chinese Studies program. In particular, I wish to thank my advisor, Professor Michael Hill, for his invaluable guidance and incredible teaching. I’m excited to continue developing my language skills from Malaysia - my post-grad destination.
 Kelly Konrad
Kelly KonradFrench & Francophone Studies
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Kelly Konrad

French & Francophone Studies

Being part of the French department at William & Mary has brought me many incredible friends, beautiful travels abroad, and opportunities for a future career as an ESL instructor. I am very grateful to my professors for being amazing supporters during my time here. Bonne chance à tous!
Merci,
Kelly Konrad
 Megan Leu
Megan LeuHispanic Studies
leu_megan_hisp

Megan Leu

Hispanic Studies

When I came to William & Mary, I really hadn't considered majoring in Hispanic Studies. At most, I planned on taking a few Spanish classes so I wouldn't lose the basic level of understanding I had achieved in high school. However, after taking a couple classes with Professor Rio, he convinced me that Hispanic Studies was a valuable major that aligned with my interests. Looking back, I've grown so much since my freshman year. I'm much more confident and comfortable speaking Spanish, and I've learned so much about Hispanic cultures. My study abroad experience in Argentina was particularly transformative for me; as a direct result of the La Plata program, I began taking more classes on human rights and transitional justice in Latin America. One experience that will always stand out for me is my time working on the National Security Archive's Argentina declassification project. I owe a special thanks to Professor Tandeciarz for being there for me throughout this experience. And I'd like to thank the Hispanic Studies department in general for making my time at William & Mary inolvidable.
 Julie Luecke
Julie LueckeFrench & Francophone Studies
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Julie Luecke

French & Francophone Studies

I came to W&M knowing I wanted to be a French major. I had absolutely no idea that that would take me to such a variety of geographical and intellectual places far away from Williamsburg. The summer of 2017, after two semesters of Spanish, I lived with a family in Granada for three weeks and examined the effects of the history of Moorish people in the area with the modern anti-Arab sentiments. Spring semester of 2018, I took my six years of French, three semesters of Spanish, and one semester of Standard Arabic with me to study in Rabat, Morocco. There I lived with a host family, travelled with friends, and picked up a little bit of Moroccan Arabic: enough to haggle at the markets over shoes. Spring 2019, I took my last class with my advisor, Professor Compan, a COLL 300 focusing on cultural memory. A handful of us went to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe for spring break to study the physical traces of the island’s memory of slavery. With all of these incredible international experiences, I decided that for my senior year, I would close out with a little bit about Metropolitan France. I completed my Honors Thesis on gendered heroic archetypes seen through Joan of Arc as a cinematic figure. In my freshman seminar with Professor Compan, she opened my eyes to the wealth of diversity within the Francophone world, and while I stayed a “French” major, my focus shifted toward international francophone postcolonial and feminist thought. While I am pursuing careers in the environmental field, I am looking to a more social justice aspect, which I can credit directly to my experience with the French department, which all started in that freshman seminar. Merci àtous, et a bientôt!

 Manasi Deorah
Manasi DeorahGerman Studies
Manasi Deorah

Manasi Deorah

German Studies

When I look back on my time at William and Mary, one moment that I will never forget is when as a first semester Freshman I enrolled in a 300-level German philosophy course and its once weekly German conversation hour. I had never taken any sort of philosophy course before and though this experience could have been disastrous, it was one of the best classes I've ever taken at William and Mary. The professor who taught it was passionate and supportive, my fellow students were friendly and encouraging, and I learned more from that course than I ever anticipated. The closeness and support I found in this class is what enticed me to be a German major, and after 3 years in the department, I can soundly say that was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Being a part of German Studies at William and Mary has introduced me to students who have become good friends, professors who have become personal mentors, and provided me with opportunities that have been invaluable. After graduation I will be embarking on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Gratz, Austria where I am confident that the skills I have learned from the German Studies Department, and MDLL Department at large, will serve me well. After this I intend on going to law school and though I haven't decided on a specific career path yet, I will never forget what I have learned from German Studies at William and Mary.

 Erika Marr
Erika MarrChinese Studies
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Erika Marr

Chinese Studies

Initially coming to William & Mary, I had no intentions of continuing my Chinese studies, as I thought classes would be too hard and one degree would be enough work. However, like every facet of William & Mary’s campus I’ve experienced, the encouragement and support were overwhelming. What started as a Chinese minor was scrambled to fit a double major in my schedule with my Marketing Degree. I’m so thankful for this support and “push” to take the extra classes senior year in order to get the dual degree.

So now thinking back on all of my courses in the Chinese department, my favorite memories have to be some of the final project videos we had to make. They were hard, uncomfortable to film at times, but rewarding and entertaining to make with friends that I had the chance to take courses with each semester. Post “virtual” graduation, I will be moving up to New York City to work as a Client Services Associate at AlphaSights. What first sparked my interest in this role, actually, was that they had Mandarin Associate roles as well. Although I don’t quite fit the qualifications of the role yet, I plan to continue studying and hope to one day mesh my Marketing and Chinese majors into a future career!

 Kelsey Marshall
Kelsey MarshallGerman Studies
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Kelsey Marshall

German Studies

Something many of my friends have found funny over the years has been my connection with the German department at William & Mary. For years, everyone, including many of the faculty members, thought I was majoring in the department. Perhaps it was because could often be found in Washington Hall or stretched out with my German readings on the Sunken Garden, or because I tried to sign up for every class that Professor Taylor and Professor Gully offered. However, until the spring semester of my junior year, it was just an assumption. Then one day, I realized that even though I had never filled out the paperwork, I knew most of the students and professors. I had more knowledge than I had ever anticipated of different subject areas within the field, including early German film, the GDR punk movement, and immigration patterns within Germany and Austria. I had become a German major without ever realizing it, and I loved it. I loved working with the professors and writing. So I filled out the paperwork and, although I don't know where the future will take me, I feel better prepared for it due to my involvement in the department. I'm currently waiting to hear back from USTA Austria, which has selected me as an alternate for a teaching assistantship for the 2020-2021 school year. I am incredibly thankful for the wonderful professors I’ve worked with and the amazing friends I made along the way.

 Kiera McKay
Kiera McKayHispanic Studies
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Kiera McKay

Hispanic Studies

It has long been a personal goal of mine to become fluent in Spanish, and it is this goal that first attracted me to the Hispanic Studies major. However, I soon learned the common trend among those in the major: come for the language practice, stay for the thought-provoking classes and committed professors. In my experience at William & Mary, I’ve been enchanted by Argentinian literature, intrigued by the complex political histories of countries on both sides of the Atlantic, galvanized by studying the complex challenges faced by Latinx communities in the US. I lived in la Casa Hispanica on campus for two years, and I lived in Cádiz, Spain, for two unforgettable months. I’ve met brilliant professors that I admire and wonderful friends that will make leaving this place very difficult indeed. My time in the Hispanic Studies department has taught me Spanish, yes, but it has also encouraged me to be academically curious, culturally passionate, and determinately compassionate. I am lucky to take these things with me as I move onto the next phase of my life.
 Carrington Metts
Carrington MettsHispanic Studies
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Carrington Metts

Hispanic Studies

When I first arrived at William & Mary, I never imagined that I’d end up becoming part of the Hispanic Studies department. However, now that almost four years have passed, I can’t imagine what my college experience would have been like without it. My Spanish language skills have improved tremendously, of course, but I’ve also learned effective communication and critical thinking skills. I’ve made lifelong friends through my classes, my three semesters living in the Casa Hispánica, and my study abroad experience on the Camino de Santiago. Special thanks to Professor Cate-Arries, Professor Riofrio, and Professor Varra for all of their support and guidance.
 Zoe Nelson
Zoe NelsonItalian Studies (Self Designed Major)
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Zoe Nelson

Italian Studies (Self Designed Major)

The Italian Department’s smaller size was a fantastic fit for me, as it allowed for me to form meaningful individual relationships with other Italian Studies students, along with all of the Italian professors. My professors’ expertise and their supportiveness empowered me to learn so much more about Italian language and culture than I could have anticipated upon arriving at William & Mary. Under their guidance I was so grateful to have the opportunity to work as an Italian tutor, spread my love of Italian through being a teaching assistant, and create multiple independent studies. I feel so grateful that I had professors who were so invested in both my intellectual growth and me as a person, and who spent so much time and effort helping me with one-on-one meetings to practice speaking Italian and figure out my future career path. In particular, looking back on my four years in the department, my fondest memories include experiencing Professor Mattavelli’s infectious joy for Italian during my first semester of college, the pride of the first time I was able to read a novel in Italian with the help of Professor Seger, and my weekly individual meetings with Professor Ferrarese during my last independent study. After graduation I am moving to Boston to do psycho-oncology research on how to better help patients and their families from a psychological point of view. I plan on continuing to incorporate Italian into my everyday life as much as possible, and look forward to meeting new friends there with whom I can speak Italian! Grazie mille per tutto!

 Davidson Norris
Davidson NorrisFrench & Francophone Studies
norris_davidson_fren

Davidson Norris

French & Francophone Studies

My time as part of the Modern Languages Department at William and Mary has been full of wonderful memories. I came to the College knowing that I wanted French to be a part of my life, but what I did not know was that this program would lead me to all sorts of incredible people and experiences that I will carry with me through college and beyond. I learned in my classes about the multifaceted ways of thinking about the past and the importance of diverse voices representing themselves in a collective archive. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with artists from around the world about their works and their message. I visited France and Guadeloupe and was exposed to wildly different corners of the French experience. As I graduate from William and Mary to pursue a Master of Architecture at the University of Oregon, it is that depth of experience and meaning that I was exposed to in my undergraduate years that will anchor my studies in the broader world.
 Rebecca Paulisch
Rebecca PaulischHispanic Studies
paulisch_rebecca_hisp

Rebecca Paulisch

Hispanic Studies

I am so grateful for everything the Modern Languages Department has given me throughout my time here at William & Mary. I began my intellectual journey in Hispanic Studies to improve upon my Spanish language skills and to strengthen my connection to my Spanish heritage, and while I certainly achieved this, I also gained further insight into many aspects of the Hispanic world by taking a variety of classes about different countries of focus and their unique cultural productions. These classes have truly deepened my understanding of humanity. One thing I did not expect to gain from my experience in Hispanic Studies was the life-defining relationships I would make within the department, which has been like a family to me. Without these relationships and the guidance they provided, I would not be the person who I am today. I am now a stronger writer and thinker who has grown and changed so much from when I took my first Hispanic Studies class my freshman year, and I am going to use the skills I have gained through my experience in graduate school when I attend this fall. To all of my professors and especially to my advisor, Regina Root: gracias por todo.
 Abigail Peterson
Abigail PetersonHispanic Studies
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Abigail Peterson

Hispanic Studies

My experiences in the Hispanic Studies department have largely been shaped by the people that I have met and had the pleasure of studying alongside. I feel lucky to have been inspired and challenged by passionate professors, who brought excitement and adventure with them to every class, and to have engaged in meaningful discussions with dedicated peers who share my love for the Spanish language and culture. The courses that I have taken have exposed me to new and different perspectives, while also giving me a sense of confidence while conversing in a foreign language that I never imagined I could have. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel and explore Spain, including summer weeks spent in Cádiz, and a spring week spent in the Basque Country, and for the opportunity to complete unique and challenging projects, such as adding subtitles to a Spanish documentary, and researching bilingual parents’ access to school materials in the United States. My sincerest thanks go out to my advisor, Professor Buck, for all of her passion, wisdom, and guidance throughout our time spent abroad, and in classrooms on campus. I will not soon forget the lessons I learned as a member of this department. Next year I will be a student at the William & Mary School of Education, where I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in mathematics secondary education. I hope to fuse together my love for math, Spanish, and education in my future as a teacher.
 Stacy Pitcairn
Stacy PitcairnHispanic Studies
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Stacy Pitcairn

Hispanic Studies

Throughout my experience in the Hispanic Studies Program at William & Mary, I have met some of the most incredible mentors and had the chance to explore research interests I had never thought to explore before. My professors have not only pushed me to develop fluency in another language, they have also encouraged me to connect my love of neuroscience with my love of studying language and culture. Some of the classes that I have taken have allowed me to explore topics such as medieval Iberian medicine, "scientific" justifications for Spanish colonialism, or exploring the nature of Don Quijote's madness and misperception of reality. My study abroad program in Cádiz, Spain took my studies beyond William & Mary. The beautiful seaside city became a temporary home, and my host mother's cooking gave me a true taste of Andalusian culture. Although I have already returned to visit once, I hope that I will get a chance to visit many more times in the future. Upon my graduation from William & Mary, I will begin attending Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences to obtain my M.S. in Neuroscience. Although my next step is farther away from Williamsburg, there will always be a spot in my heart for the Hispanic Studies Program at William & Mary.
 Eleanor Pollard
Eleanor PollardFrench & Francophone Studies
pollard-e-fren

Eleanor Pollard

French & Francophone Studies

Eleanor (Nora) Pollard will be graduating with a 4-year degree in both French and Francophone Studies and Philosophy. As a sophomore, she became a resident of la Maison Française and served as a Peer Mentor for French 210 and French 212. She spent her junior year studying abroad for two semesters in Montpellier, France, at the Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III. There, she studied French literature, philosophy, translation, cinema, theatre, southern French history and culture, creative writing, and Spanish language. She additionally stayed with a host family, joined her university’s chorus, and made several life-long friends. Upon her return to W&M as a senior, she again took part in the French House, and this time served as a French Tutor for W&M’s French Department while taking the MDLL 401 TFL class for language tutors. She also developed an interest in Hispanic Studies upon her return, demonstrated by the three HISP classes she has taken this year: 203, 208 and 281. For the coming year, Ms. Pollard is deciding between joining a program in Barcelona that would have her teaching English and French and accepting a position teaching English with the TAPIF program in France.

 Kristen Popham
Kristen PophamFrench & Francophone Studies
popham_kristen_fren

Kristen Popham

French & Francophone Studies

My pursuit of French & Francophone Studies has taught me embrace discomfort and vulnerability, to challenge myself intellectually, and to seek out the study of topics that destabilize the way I once thought of the world. Above all, my studies have offered me meaningful and lasting relationships. It was because of my French major that I traveled to Guadeloupe in March 2019 and discussed collective memory of slavery with scholars and peers. It was because of my French major that I got coffee with artists, KidKreol and Boogie, who had traveled from Reunion Island to share their work with William & Mary students. It was because of my French major that I had weekly dinners with students and professors where my culinary skills were tested more than my language ones. It was because of my French major I spent one semester in Montpellier, France, where every dinner discussion with my host family about France’s view on immigration and multiculturalism lifted my studies from the page into life. I am not a student who has a Francophone family or grew up hearing French in my home. No one in my Ohio born and bred family had ever spent time outside of the country until I studied French at William & Mary. As I move on and pursue national security work in Washington D.C., I will always be grateful for the family I’ve found in the French & Francophone Studies Department at William & Mary.
 Gabrielle Ramirez
Gabrielle RamirezChinese Studies
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Gabrielle Ramirez

Chinese Studies

Growing up, I always loved languages. I took Spanish from kindergarten through 12th grade, and tacked on Mandarin in 9th grade. By the time I got to William & Mary, I knew I wanted to continue my Chinese studies. I took off running in CHIN 201 with Su Laoshi and never looked back. As I went on, not only did I get to hone my language skills, but I also learned so much about the culture. This, paired with my International Relations major provided me with a wealth of global knowledge. After returning from my semester abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, I had completed my IR major and was able to upgrade my Chinese minor to a major. With that, my last 3 semesters have been filled with classes primarily in the MLL department and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. One of my favorite parts of majoring in Chinese at William & Mary has been becoming friends with the amazing people in the department. Many fun memories have been made in the classes we’ve shared together in Washington Hall over the past 4 years, my senior seminar with Professor Hill and “Sinophone and Global China” with Professor Lu are two that stand out. I am very grateful for both the knowledge and people that have become part of my life thanks to the MLL department. After graduation, I will be working for a consulting firm in DC and hope to return to my Chinese studies in graduate school.

 Williams Song
Williams SongChinese Studies
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Williams Song

Chinese Studies

I was hesitant to declare my Chinese major because I am a heritage speaker, but I’m glad I finally bit the bullet this previous fall semester. I feel that being a student of this program has not only enhanced my appreciation of the diversity of cultures on our planet, but has also allowed me to understand the culture and customs of my parents and ancestors further down the line. Not to mention, I can now communicate with my family in China without having to rely on Google Translate. I can also honestly say that my Chinese language classes were the highlight of my day most days of the week-there’s a certain camaraderie that you can only develop when you’re forced to speak Mandarin with a dozen other people four days a week. As for the future, I hope to continue my study of Chinese independently and hopefully earn an HSK 6 certification along the way. Even if I can’t directly apply my Chinese knowledge and skills to my career, I will definitely still use it in my personal life (because my entire lineage is Chinese) and perhaps I will get involved with the local Chinese school again. I will most likely be taking up a job as a programmer in the short term, but I intend to pursue a law degree in the not too distant future.

 Chris Stathopoulos
Chris StathopoulosHispanic Studies
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Chris Stathopoulos

Hispanic Studies

As a non-native speaker, I started my journey learning Spanish in high school, but I started my journey understanding Spanish when I came to William & Mary. Taking courses across a broad range of topics helped me understand not only the Hispanic world but my own as well. I now am eager and prepared to use all that I have learned in my future after graduation. From Cádiz to text translation, phonetics to food, I’m so grateful for everything I have learned along the way!
 Jack Toll
Jack TollChinese Studies
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Jack Toll

Chinese Studies

My time as a Chinese Studies major at William & Mary has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Entering my freshman year, I had sorta pigeon-holed myself as a finance type guy. Although I had taken some Mandarin in high school, I was concerned that my abilities wouldn't stack up with those of a college-level learner. But, after some encouragement from advisors, advice from friends, and a bad run in with Accounting 101, I threw myself headfirst into William & Mary's Chinese Department and haven't looked back. I've sang Chinese love songs with Taiwanese Ph.D students in the desert expanses of the Gobi Desert. I've taught samba to inquisitive 老人 in the parks of Shanghai. I've enjoyed snacks of duck clavicle in Beijing movie theatres - All because the Chinese department encouraged me to take the leap and study abroad in China. The faculty recognizes that although William & Mary's modern language teaching methods are legitimized by its track record of alumni, there's nothing better than learning through immersion.

Once the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and travel resumes between the USA and China, I’ll be serving as a Market Research Intern for Larkin Trade International, a customs-trade compliance firm in Beijing while continuing my study of Mandarin at a to-be-determined university. I'm truly excited to be at this huge crossroads in my life, but know I wouldn't have made it here without Professor Hill, Professor Su Qian, and the rest of the William & Mary Chinese Department staff. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunities they've afforded me, and will never forget my time as a Chinese Studies major at W&M.

 Sabina Valery
Sabina ValeryHispanic Studies
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Sabina Valery

Hispanic Studies

I have had many memorable opportunities and experiences through the Hispanic Studies department from my very first semester on campus. In my freshman spring, I was able to travel to Madrid with a class taught by Professor Cate-Arries, which was an incredible opportunity to dive deeply into the themes of our class through in-person experiences. Professor Cate-Arries' dedication to the material, and our understanding of it, is something I've found in every professor I have had in this department. I also had the chance to work closely with professors through working as a teaching assistant for introductory Spanish classes. This was an experience I found incredibly valuable. This summer I will be starting a Master's program for ESL and Bilingual education at the School of Education here at William & Mary. Of course, I could not reflect on my time as an undergraduate student without talking about studying abroad in Spain. My semester abroad was meaningful in so many ways, from the friendships I created, to volunteering at a local after school program, and simply soaking up the beauty of Sevilla every day. I am so grateful for all of these memories, and I am sure that these experiences will allow me to be the best educator I can as I move into my career.
 Elizabeth Vanasse
Elizabeth VanasseFrench & Francophone Studies
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Elizabeth Vanasse

French & Francophone Studies

Elizabeth hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is double majoring in English and French & Francophone Studies. She has always loved Frenchher mom was a French major at W&M, and her dad’s whole family is French Canadian. She works as a TA and tutor for the French department, and has loved every minute of getting to work closely with French students and the wonderful faculty. She was fortunate enough to travel with Magali Compan to Guadeloupe during spring break of 2019 to research slavery, colonialism,and memory on the island, and that will always remain one of her most cherished memories during her time at William & Mary. The French department at W&M has always felt like family, and she will miss all of the professors and friends she met along the way.

 Olivia Vande Woude
Olivia Vande WoudeFrench & Francophone Studies
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Olivia Vande Woude

French & Francophone Studies

Beginning with my very first French & Francophone studies course at William & Mary during my freshman year, I have been fortunate to call the Modern Languages (MLL) Department my home. Per their mission statement, the Modern Languages department has enabled me and my fellow seniors to strengthen our understanding of other cultures, communication skills, and critical thinking abilities. In the classroom, I have honed these skills in Professor Pacini’s “Culture of Modern France” class, Professor Brehm’s “Bohemians to Avant-Gardes” course, Professor Compan’s “Francophone African Literature” class, and many, many others. I have also worked on these skills outside of the classroom, through Professor Compan’s experiential learning trip to Guadeloupe in March of 2019, as well as through regular speaker events such as Professor Pieprzak’s “Surface Feeling: Moroccan Art and the Politics of Whitewash in the City” lecture and Kid Kreol and Boogie’s “Street Art From The Indian Ocean” talk. While the department has enabled me to cultivate these important skills, it has most of all given me a community of professors and friends who have made my time at W&M so very special. I look forward to carrying the memories and skills I have learned from the department with me to my new role as an Associate Equity Research Analyst at T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 Teddy Wansink
Teddy WansinkFrench & Francophone Studies
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Teddy Wansink

French & Francophone Studies

When I took my first William & Mary French class, I did not fully see the value of what I was learning. I was motivated in part by feara fear of losing the language skills I had gained in high school, a fear of regret if I didn't study abroad. I certainly enjoyed my classes on an intellectual level, whether analyzing Paris on film with Prof. Brutsche or reading about scandalous eighteenth-century French women with Prof. Pacini. However, I had no clue just how much my professors were preparing me for experiences that would be truly foundational for me. During my junior spring, I had a whirlwind semester abroad in Paris. I interned at an arts center, volunteered at a film festival at the Louvre, and made international friends that were radically different from me. It slowly dawned on me just how meaningful my language education at William & Mary had been. It had taught me to be adaptable, to ask important cultural questions, and to understand how language functions differently in different contexts. Above all, these ways of thinking were immediately applicablethis is how I made friends, navigated life in a city I loved, and planned my future.This recognition compelled me to choose to stay abroad and complete a second semester in Belgium. Following a summer of French film research in Paris, I moved to Brussels, where I interned at a film production company and continued to seek out ways to apply my William & Mary French skills in new contexts.With a passion for learning more languages, I'm planning on teaching English in Spain through the Auxiliares de conversación program. I'm thrilled to continue exploring the world with the tools William & Mary has equipped me with.
 Johanna Weech
Johanna WeechHispanic Studies
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Johanna Weech

Hispanic Studies

I found my home at William & Mary through the Hispanic Studies department. My second semester, I took Professor Cate-Arries’ freshman seminar. She invited our class to have dinner with her senior seminar, so that we could get to know the Hispanic Studies majors and the opportunities available to us. That sense of community has stayed with me for the past four years. I was lucky enough to study abroad for a semester in Argentina, intern at the National Security Archive, be an office assistant in Washington Hall, present my research at the New England Council of Latin American Studies conference, and learn from human rights groups in Guatemala. These experiences shaped my interests in human rights and legal advocacy. I am incredibly grateful to our professors for their support both inside and outside of the classroom. I am especially grateful to Professor Tandeciarz for her mentorship on memory studies, from researching female activism at W&M to comparing street art in Sarajevo, Bosnia and La Plata, Argentina. After graduation, I plan to work as a Legal Assistant in Washington, DC.
 Nick Wells
Nick WellsFrench & Francophone Studies
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Nick Wells

French & Francophone Studies

Over my four years at William & Mary, I have come to view my French major as my primary academic pursuit even when on my transcript it is relegated to the status of “secondary” major. My experience as a student of French at W&M has been a blast stimulating, challenging, enlightening, and fun all thanks to the people. Each member of the French faculty (and each French major!) is a gem; I am privileged to learn from and work with such passionate, knowledgeable people. The faculty engage students in the classroom, of course, but they also make a conscious effort to involve students in the life of the MLL Department. I have had the pleasure of working in several capacities for the French faculty: as a peer mentor for Professor A. Leruth, as a research assistant for Professor Compan, and as an exam grader for Professor Brutsche. It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite W&M French course. The breadth and depth of the curriculum here are quite special! Through my French major I have met world-renowned street artists; traveled to Guadeloupe to study the memory of slavery; helped organize a research symposium; completed an independent study; had dinner at a professor’s house; and studied in Lyon throughanother university, all while enjoying courses whose subjects stretch far beyond the normal French-literature basis of American undergraduate French study.I’m delighted to say that I’m not done with French just yet: starting this summer I’ll pursue an MA in French at Middlebury College. I’ll also most likely complete the Teaching Assistant Program in France, in the Lyon area.
 Caitlyn Whitesell
Caitlyn WhitesellHispanic Studies
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Caitlyn Whitesell

Hispanic Studies

At William & Mary, I learned that being my best self involves educating myself on social issues, actively serving and caring for others and myself, reflecting on my actions, and incorporating community needs into my life. Studying Hispanic Studies allowed me to learn about social issues, participate in service learning, reflect in conversation with others, and meet new communities through traveling abroad to Spain or traveling a few miles down the road. 

I developed my critical eye for injustice, my clarity in writing and in speaking, and of course, my Spanish language skills. My professors challenged me to write essays in support of opinions that I strongly opposed, forcing me to realize being my best self requires that I sit in discomfort and anger from time to time and appreciate differences even when it is difficult. Right now, in quarantine, knowing how to sit in discomfort and focus on connections with others is more important than ever before, making me appreciate these skills. 

Professor Cate-Arries reminded me recently how much I can also appreciate taking advantage of every opportunity I had through W&M. I am thankful to have studied abroad in Cadiz and in Sevilla, to have interned at the Spanish Embassy, and to have served as a TA, but I am most thankful for the conversations and relationships that developed from my experiences with Professor Carmen Sanchis-Sinisterra and my Sevilla host mom. I will remember the people most of all, and the support they offered. Learning will never end as long as I have human connection, and Spanish allows me to build even more connections. I plan to continue making connections as an educator, earning my Master’s degree in ESL at W&M, learning from my students as much as I hope they will learn from me.

 Sarah Wilkowske
Sarah WilkowskeJapanese Studies
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Sarah Wilkowske

Japanese Studies

I will be graduating as a double major in English and Japanese studies. I am extremely proud to be part of the first graduating class that will be able to get the new Japanese major. It’s certainly been exciting to see the process of creating a new major and be a part of something that many of us have been hoping would happen. One of the best experiences from college was my study abroad in Japan at Ritsumeikan. It helped me to further my Japanese education through intensive learning and real-life experience, and it was also a lot of fun. Studying abroad helps to give you a new perspective on life by putting you into situations with people who might think differently from you, not just those from the country you’re studying in but also others in your program who may be from a variety of countries. Additionally, studying abroad can give you a taste of independence as you’re in a different country by yourself for possibly the first time.Though, I don’t yet have any definitive plans for after graduation, I hope to one day work in the publishing and entertainment industry. While I didn’t apply this year, I might consider applying for JET program next year to spent some time in Japan before I stara full-time career somewhere in America. I also have a lot of ideas for creative works that I would love to pursue in addition to an everyday job. For now, I may not know where I’m going, but I know that my education at William & Mary will help me greatly in achieving my goals and the connections I've made during my time here are invaluable.

 Julia Wright
Julia WrightJapanese Studies
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Julia Wright

Japanese Studies

The amazing experiences I had with the Japanese Department have truly defined my time at William and Mary. Starting from Japanese 101, I have found the students and faculty to bring a warm environment and a caring community. It was through this department that I discovered two life-changing programs; the William and Mary and the Keio University Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Keio University’s one year study abroad program. From these programs I have made life-long friends and cherished memories. I didn’t come to William and Mary intending to be a Japanese Major, but I don’t think I could have chosen a more rewarding path. I will be moving forward as a JET Assistant Language Teacher, hoping to foster the same wonderful intercultural environment that I have enjoyed these four years. I am very thankful to all the faculty and peers who have helped me make it this far and continue to motivate me.