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2022 Modern Languages Graduates

Our heartfelt congratulations to the extraordinary class of 2022! We invite you to get to know them by clicking on their bios below.
Alden Sophia
Sophia, AldenFrench & Francophone Studies & International Relations
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Alden Sophia

French & Francophone Studies & International Relations

My name is Sophie and I am about to complete my final semester majoring in French & Francophone Studies and International Relations. The MLL Department has allowed me to pursue so many opportunities that I never would have thought to be possible before coming to William & Mary, including studying abroad in Strasbourg, France alongside my peers. I have valued every single classroom experience that I have had with the amazing professors and students in the French Studies program. My hope for the future is that one day I can return to France with my family and friends to share the incredible experiences that I have had.
William Anderson
Anderson, WilliamChinese Studies & Economics
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William Anderson

Chinese Studies & Economics

William Anderson is graduating with a double major in Chinese and Economics. He has enjoyed learning a new language with the wonderful faculty and students in the Chinese Studies program. Highlights of his time spent studying Chinese include a summer abroad in Beijing, learning about history and current issues in China, enjoying C-House holiday events, and doing his capstone research on western representations of the cheongsam. He is grateful to the Chinese program for everything he’s already gotten out of his studies, from a Critical Languages Scholarship to the lasting friendships he’s made in this department. William’s senior thesis in Economics discusses the relationship between housing and family planning in Taiwan, which has inspired him to pursue further research opportunities and graduate school to study demographic issues in East Asia.
Evelyn Aponte
Aponte, EvelynHispanic Studies & History
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Evelyn Aponte

Hispanic Studies & History

  Coming into college I didn’t expect to major in Hispanic Studies. I knew I wanted to study American history, but I was unaware of Latin American histories, much less the thought-provoking discussions that can arise from them. My experience in the Hispanic Studies program has challenged me to be a curious global citizen and to use my language skills to find connections with people and ideas that, upon first glance, seem totally different than my own. I am especially grateful for Professor Río, my major advisor, Professor Root, and Professor Rivera Santana for their guidance and for fostering a collaborative and welcoming environment to learn and grow. The skills and friendships I have strengthened during my time with the program inspire me to serve and empower underserved communities in Northern Virginia and D.C. After interning with a nonprofit organization called Edu-Futuro last spring, I am most interested in working with and for underserved Hispanic communities in Fairfax or Loudoun through youth mentorship and education. I am currently applying for professional careers with these kinds of missions, and I am confident that the experiences I’ll take with me will enrich my work. Thank you for a rewarding four years here; I’m looking forward to visiting in the near future!

Gavin Aquin
Aquin, GavinHispanic Studies & History
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Gavin Aquin

Hispanic Studies & History

  When I came to William & Mary in 2018, I anticipated going into a Business or Economics track — but when I arrived, I found myself enamoured with History, Language, and Jewish Studies classes at the College. Under the tutelage of Professor Regina Root, my major advisor, I was introduced to the literary and artistic traditions of the Southern Cone. I am additionally grateful for the opportunity that I had to work with Professor Root and the Muscarelle across my four years to honour the legacy of Roser Bru, a renowned Chilean-Catalan artist. Under her supervision, I was also able to combine my love of history with the Hispanic Studies discipline through a comprehensive research project about Jewish culture(s) in Argentina. I am additionally grateful to Professor Carla Buck for exposing me to more esoteric cultural artefacts from Spain — La Plaza del Diamante by Mercè Rodoreda is one of my favourite books to this day. Of course, my time in Modern Languages is not isolated to Hispanic Studies: I am thankful to Professors Angela and Michael Leruth, Professor Giulia Pacini, and Professor Deborah Lee-Ferrand for encouraging me to improve my written and spoken French these past four years. These experiences have instilled in me a sentiment of global citizenship and curiosity; now that I have overcome my fear of speaking other languages, the next chapter of my life begins when I move to Istanbul, Turkey in a few short weeks. Hopefully, when I come back to visit the States, I’ll be able to say that I also speak Turkish!

Kaitlin Badagliacco
Badagliacco, KaitlinHispanic Studies & International Relations
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Kaitlin Badagliacco

Hispanic Studies & International Relations

  My experience in Hispanic Studies has been incredible and formative. From my time abroad in Sevilla to incredible classes like Professor Terukina’s “Hot, Wet? Cold, Dry?”, the department has shaped my William & Mary experience by allowing me to explore cultures and languages, challenging me to think critically, and inspiring me to, as Gandhi said, be the change I want to see in the world. I look forward to continuing my Hispanic Studies experience this coming year while teaching English in Spain

Alice Benjamin
Benjamin, AliceFrench & Francophone Studies & Linguistics
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Alice Benjamin

French & Francophone Studies & Linguistics

My name is Alice Benjamin, and I double majored in French and Linguistics at William & Mary. Throughout my four years here, the French and Francophone Studies program has meant a lot to me and helped me grow, both as a student and as a person. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to major in French at the end of my freshman year, but my Summer trip abroad to Montpellier with Professor Compan sold me! I made some of my best memories from college on that trip, and it was really special to me to continue to spend time with the friends I found abroad once we all got back to William & Mary. I have had so many amazing professors in the French program taught me how many diverse and interesting aspects of the francophone world there are to study, and for that I will always be thankful. I know I will take the skills and knowledge that I learned here with me wherever I go. I hope that future students find the joy that I found in my French classrooms and don’t give up on French even when it gets hard! It will all be worth it in the end. Bonne chance à tous!

Randy Berry
Berry, RandyJapanese Studies & International Relations
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Randy Berry

Japanese Studies & International Relations

The Japanese Studies program has been ever present throughout my college experience and through its presence helped me form relationships which will last for a lifetime, many of which began with 8 AM Elementary Japanese. While the early hour may not have been a favorite, my fellow students were great and helped me settle into the broader William & Mary community and I still remember making an absolutely ridiculous video for our final project in that class. The support I have received from the Japanese Studies faculty also contributed greatly to my growth as an academic. I have made frequent use of the language and analytic skills I learned from Professors Cronin, Kato, Kitamura, and Sasaki in various disciplines to a positive effect. I hope to continue on into a career where I can utilize the language and analytical skills I learned from the Japanese Studies Program effectively and efficiently, but I do not have any concrete plans for the future. While my future lacks specific direction, I am certain that my memories, experiences, and skills I have acquired thanks to the Japanese Studies Program will continue with me throughout the rest of my life.
Estelle Brockwell
Brockwell, EstelleJapanese Studies
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Estelle Brockwell

Japanese Studies

I have really enjoyed my time here at William & Mary as a Japanese Studies Major. When I first came to W&M as a freshman, I had no clue what I wanted to study, but when I took my first Japanese class, I loved it! Naturally, I continued to take Japanese-related classes and decided to major in it. I have learned so much and have made life-long friends through the Japanese Studies program. While I am sad to be leaving W&M, I am excited to see what the future hold for me!
Jojo Di Scipio
Di Scipio, JojoFrench & Francophone Studies & International Relations
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Jojo Di Scipio

French & Francophone Studies & International Relations

The French Studies program was my favorite thing about my time at William & Mary. My professors were incredibly kind and caring and I learned so much from them. I will take all of the cultural lessons I learned here with me throughout the rest of my life. As of now, I plan on moving to San Francisco in the fall for a consulting job, but I am still exploring other opportunities. I’m hoping to return to pursue a graduate or law degree sometime in the next few years, once I am able to pin down what I want to study.
Baylee Easterday
Easterday, BayleeHispanic Studies & Government
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Baylee Easterday

Hispanic Studies & Government

When I think back on my time in Hispanic Studies, there are a million happy moments that come to mind, but here are a few of my favorite memories: filming bloopers for our video roleplay assignments in Profesora Carrión’s Medical Interpretation class, when our senior seminar went to Taco Tuesday at Precarious with Professor Rio, going to special collections with Professor Terukina’s class, watching the whole class make funny faces trying to mimic videos in Profesora Varra’s phonetics class, and pancakes on Sunday mornings when I lived in la Casa Hispánica. I will always be grateful that I chose to major in Hispanic Studies at William & Mary, and I am looking forward to bringing these memories with me into my future. I recently started a job at World Learning, a company that implements the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. I work with people from around the world to facilitate cultural exchanges, and in my free time I teach English to adults outside the United States. Within the next few years, I plan to attend graduate school for Latin American Studies, to study an indigenous Mayan language. My eventual career goal is to work with immigrant populations as they navigate the U.S. legal system and help them secure their rights to translation and interpretation. I am especially grateful to all of the professors who supported me during my time in the department, gracias por todo y buena suerte a mis compañeros graduados.
Rachel Freeman
Freeman, RachelHispanic Studies
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Rachel Freeman

Hispanic Studies

  To the class 2020-22’ and all that we have shared! May the future bring something new. “[H]uman beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but over and over through acknowledgement of their experiences.” - Love in the time of Cholera

Naomi Gale
Gale, NaomiRussian & Post-Soviet Studies & Government
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Naomi Gale

Russian & Post-Soviet Studies & Government

  I have spent almost the entirety of my college career in the Russian department and it is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I am so grateful to the amazing people I have met throughout my time here, including my phenomenal professors and beloved friends. The Russian department is incredible both in and out of the classroom. The Russian teas, movie nights, and guest lectures have been just as important to my education as my time in class. The opportunities given to me by the Russian department are priceless and I am excited to take my education wherever life after graduation takes me.

Alyssa Glauser
Glauser, AlyssaItalian Language and Culture with a Concentration in Art History
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Alyssa Glauser

Italian Language and Culture with a Concentration in Art History

Some of my favorite memories from my time at William & Mary take place in the classrooms of Washington Hall or in the language houses. I am incredibly grateful for all of the amazing professors in the Italian program and the time they have dedicated to helping me develop my Italian language skills and encouraging me to pursue a Self-Designed Major. I will forever be impacted by my professors' kindness, dedication, and ability to inspire students. 
Caitlin Glauser
Glauser, CaitlinFrench & Francophone Studies & Linguistics
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Caitlin Glauser

French & Francophone Studies & Linguistics

I have so many good things to say about my experience in the MLL Department (specifically French & Francophone Studies) that I don’t even know where to start! First, I want to sing the praises of every single professor who shaped my college experience and somehow managed to teach a foreign language over Zoom. The French professors are incredible! And so are their classes. I loved each class I took and how diverse they were from Medieval Shenanigans and the Politics of Nature to Rage Against the Machine and French Feminist Theory. But I especially loved being a TA and getting a small glimpse of what goes into these classes. Some of my fondest memories are from playing review games in my TA class--French students can get competitive (especially when a little candy is involved). More personally, it was through this program that I made some of my closest friends. It also gave me the confidence to go to France (Nice specifically) for 3 months. It is ultimately because of the French Studies program that I was able to have such amazing experiences while I was there all in my non-native language. I was in a parade called the Combat Naval Fleuri, I hiked in the snow in the Alps, I saw the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower--it was a dream. Overall, my love of the French language only grew during my time in this program and I’m so grateful for that! I look forward to seeing where French takes me next.
Joelle Goolsby
Goolsby, JoelleFrench & Francophone Studies & Linguistics
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Joelle Goolsby

French & Francophone Studies & Linguistics

Joelle Goolsby is very proud to have earned BAs in both French & Francophone Studies and Linguistics. During her time in the MLL Department, she undertook an independent study under the wing of Professor Pacini on the sartorial culture of the French Revolution. This experience, in tandem with courses taken in the Theatre Dept. Costume Shop, helped build the necessary skillset to land internships for both the summer and school year at the Valentine History Museum in Richmond. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in public history, as well as French History in graduate school. She would like to thank her loving family and friends, and Professor Pacini, for their unending support and guidance through thick and thin.
Hardin Paul
Paul, HardinFrench & Francophone Studies & Music
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Hardin Paul

French & Francophone Studies & Music

Paul Hardin is a French & Francophone Studies and Music Double Major. Over his four years in the William & Mary French Program, he enjoyed delving into the history and culture of the Francophone world. His senior thesis musical, Spectacular, which is set in eighteenth-century France, received highest honors. Paul is excited to continue pursuing his dream of composing for musical theatre in the next chapter of his life.
Jamie Holt
Holt, JamieFrench & Francophone Studies & Interdisciplinary Studies
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Jamie Holt

French & Francophone Studies & Interdisciplinary Studies

When I first came to William & Mary, I was petrified of taking a French course- while I loved French in high school, I wasn’t sure if I would be ready to take it on a collegiate level. Enter Professor A. Leruth: as I struggled my way through her 210 course (which initially I thought was on children’s literature and ended up being about business-professional French, making the situation even more terrifying for me), she was kind, encouraging, and patient. Without having her as my professor that freshman fall, I truly don’t know if I would have continued in the department. Fast-forward to sophomore spring when our world got flipped upside down by the pandemic- the French program professors were some of the most adaptable and understanding people at the College in my opinion. Especially for me being at home with no reliable Internet source, Professor Pacini made sure I never felt lost even when my connection frequently dropped. While studying the language here, I’ve found more interests through my coursework; a prime example being in Professor Conley’s 450 course I found a new appreciation and interest in Surrealist art. That interest and the skills I had honed in my coursework served me well as I studied abroad in Paris, France in the spring of 2021 developing my language and photography abilities. Moving forward post-graduation, I am planning on continuing my career in photography, whether in journalism or art, and continuing my love for French though personal studies.
Sam Kadlec
Kadlec, SamHispanic Studies & Anthropology
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Sam Kadlec

Hispanic Studies & Anthropology

  Throughout her time in the Hispanic Studies program, Samantha loved being surrounded by passionate, and caring individuals. Many of the classes she took through the department has had lasting impacts on her outlook on life and her interests for the future. Specifically, working on her research in Cádiz as well as Guatemala surrounding collective memory in the face of systematic oppression were once in a lifetime experiences that Samantha cannot be more thankful for. Following graduation, she is looking to further serve marginalized communities either at the border or in Puerto Rico. Finally, Samantha cannot thank the Hispanic Studies faculty enough for the time they had together. 

Michael  Kim
Kim, Michael Chinese Studies
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Michael Kim

Chinese Studies

During my time at William & Mary, I discovered a love for China and its many facets. I always loved the language, but the diverse history and culture classes I took taught me to appreciate everything else. After my second year, I applied for the Tsinghua University summer study-abroad program, and those 3 months were the highlight of my academic career. There is something so profound and meaningful about learning a culture first-hand in the land of the people, and my experiences at Beijing will be remembered forever. I honed my practical language skills, made connections with the local teachers and students, and even had time to tour on the weekends. Overall, the William & Mary provided me with the resources to discover what’s underneath the surface of China, and I am truly grateful.

  After graduation, I aspire to combine my expertise in Chinese Studies with my passion for Chemistry to work for international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, becoming a bridge between American and Chinese medicine.

  Thanks for all the memories W&M, and a special thank you to all the professors that helped me reach my goals and genuinely cared for my success.

Ryan Klopp
Klopp, RyanRussian & Post-Soviet Studies & International Relations
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Ryan Klopp

Russian & Post-Soviet Studies & International Relations

  As I prepare for graduation, I am extremely grateful for the role that William & Mary’s fantastic language programs have played in my time at this school. W&M’s world-renowned language professors and emphasis on international experiences heavily influenced my decision to enroll here, and I sought to take advantage of these opportunities to the fullest. As a double major in International Relations and Russian & Post-Soviet Studies, I naturally became very familiar with our Russian program, and the professors and students who make it up made invaluable contributions to my overall college experience. While I did not major in Chinese, I am very glad that I had the opportunity to additionally experience our Chinese program through the 300-level, and I can confirm that our professors in both languages are incredibly passionate and devoted to their students. If I had to choose a favorite language class, I would select RUSN 410, Professor Alexander Prokhorov’s Russian literature seminar, which serves as an ideal example of the unique opportunities which our MLL program offers to its students- how many undergrads get to translate Old Church Slavonic? Likewise, I will forever vividly remember my participation in our 2019 summer study abroad program in St. Petersburg, Russia, led by Professor Frederick Corney. After graduation, I will commission as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army, serving as a Military Intelligence officer detailed to Infantry.

Izadora Lenna
Lenna, IzadoraHispanic Studies & International Relations
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Izadora Lenna

Hispanic Studies & International Relations

My name is Izadora Lenna and I am a Hispanic Studies major. I grew up in Massachusetts, and when I decided to come to William & Mary, I was a little nervous about being so far away from home. However, I quickly found my place within the MLL department. All my professors have been so supportive and kind. My Spanish skills significantly improved as well as my conversationalist skills. Professor Riofrio, Professor Buck, and Professor Root have pushed me to worked harder and persevere. They also taught that it’s okay to take a step back when needed. A few months ago, during my first semester senior year Professor Rio joined our small seminar class for dinner. This dinner was a highlight of my senior year, we were able to talk to our classmates and to our Professor as adults with similar interests, I truly felt a part of something bigger that day. Thank you, Hispanic Studies program, for the best four years!

With love, Izadora Lenna.

Karissa McDonald
McDonald, KarissaFrench Studies & American Studies
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Karissa McDonald

French Studies & American Studies

  I am graduating with a double major in French & Francophone Studies and American Studies. Through the French Studies program, I have pursued my love for French, met some of my closest friends, and found the greatest support from my professors. The summer after my Freshman year, I participated in the Montpellier Summer Program with Professor Magali Compan. This was one of the greatest highlights of my college career; I experienced the beautiful culture in the south of France, made lifelong friends in Grayson Timoner and Fatima Jerez, and learned so much from my now Advisor, Magali Compan. Professor Compan has been a constant support throughout my college career, and I am grateful to have her as my advisor and friend. I enjoyed my study abroad experience so much that I decided to return to France in the spring of 2021. I interned for Le Musée en Herbe and Ça Se-Visite in Paris. I worked with school groups, community centers, and local artists. These two internships taught me a tremendous amount about the different communities in Paris and allowed me to connect with them on an individual level.

  I am grateful to the French Studies program for providing me with all the tools I need as I move into this next chapter. After graduation, I will begin working as a Consultant for Unison Global in June. would like to thank all the Professors I have had over the years for everything that they have done and continue to do for students. I will always have so much love for this program.

Madeline McQuillan
McQuillan, MadelineFrench Studies & Government
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Madeline McQuillan

French Studies & Government

  I had studied French for my entire academic life but wasn’t sure I would continue to pursue it once I got to William & Mary. My class with Madame Leruth quickly changed my mind. I improved my grammar and felt encouraged to practice speaking despite making mistakes. After building confidence in the language, I had the amazing opportunity to extend my learning beyond the classroom and do a gap year in Aix-en-Provence, working as an au pair. I vastly improved my French while living there and explored nearly every village and beach in the region. This experience solidified my interest in French and Francophone culture, and upon my return to William & Mary I became friends with other students who shared my passion, through movie nights, conversation hours, and cooking classes in the French House.

  I absorbed everything I could about French society, literature, and art through courses with Professor Pacini, Monsieur Leruth, and Professor Conley. During class discussions, I shared my own experiences living in France and developed a deeper understanding of French culture.

  Through the IFE program, I had the chance to study in Paris for eight months during my junior year. I completed two internships, including one at an environmental research institute, where I wrote a 50-page French-language dissertation on climate change litigation.

  I’m so gratified that I’ve reignited my love for French culture these last few years. I graduated in December 2021 and plan to use my French when I pursue a master’s program in Europe this fall.

Jose Morales
Morales, JoseHispanic Studies & Anthropology
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Jose Morales

Hispanic Studies & Anthropology

I am an Anthropology and Hispanic Studies major. The MLL department has allowed me to open my perspective to new ideas, as well as understand what other countries have gone through periods of historical and cultural changes. Through the program I have been able to implement both of my majors critically and the program has allowed me to further analyze events and traditions not only through one lens, but also many more such as an anthropological one. Furthermore, I would like to mention that the teachers have been very supportive, and they are a big part of the success that many of us have achieved today. This is one, amongst many other things that I take with me, things such as keeping an open mind, analyzing data critically, and also being friendly and kind to those that do not share the same amount of knowledge as us, being willing to teach, correct, and support in a way that leads those that do not know something into someone more knowledgeable. I hope to further advance in my studies, and learn more not only about modern languages, but also experience everything I have learned on the field in another country. The program has been very helpful and I am sure it will continue to guide others to success just like it did for me.
Julia Murray
Murray, JuliaHispanic Studies & International Relations
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Julia Murray

Hispanic Studies & International Relations

As an International Relations and Hispanic Studies double major, I realized early on how much the curriculums coincide and highlight one another. Whenever possible I would tweak my IR research to focus on Latin America, specifically evident in the choice of my final capstone course: Cuban Revolutions. I have been so lucky to have made personal relationships with my professors in the Hispanic Studies program, as one of my capstones courses this semester only has 7 students in it! My interest in Hispanic Studies led me to study abroad for a summer in Costa Rica in 2021 and has influenced my decision to move to Spain this coming fall to work as a Language Assistant teacher. I am so grateful for all the knowledge both W&M and the Hispanic Studies program has provided me with, and while I am not sure of what my future holds, I am confident it will have something to do with the Spanish language.
Fallon O'Malley
O'Malley, FallonRussian & Post-Soviet Studies & Government
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Fallon O'Malley

Russian & Post-Soviet Studies & Government

Studying Russian at William & Mary was one of the most enriching parts of my college experience. Not only have my Russian skills improved immensely while learning about the Russian culture and literature but I have also been challenged to think more critically and communicate in ways that I never had before. Our professors had a large impact on this positive experience and have continued to provide an inclusive space for learning, an enthusiasm for the material, and overall inspiration to never give up. My most memorable experiences include working with the RPSS film committee and Gazeta staff during my time in college. I will never forget the relationships I’ve made in the Russian Program and will always be grateful for the opportunities you’ve provided me. Special thanks to my wonderful advisor Bella Ginzbursky-Blum for your guidance and support throughout the years and to everyone who made the department feel like home. My post-graduation plans are to continue to hone my skills and understanding of Russian in order to use this in my future work within the political sphere.

Hayes Pearce
Pearce, HayesHispanic Studies & Biology
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Hayes Pearce

Hispanic Studies & Biology

Pursuing a degree in Hispanic Studies (along with a degree in Biology) has enriched my personal and professional life in many ways. With courses ranging from Basque Studies to Environmental Cultures, and from Pandemic Lessons to Gender in the Early Modern Hispanic World, I have grown in my understanding of representation, marginalization, diversity, and empowerment. Moreover, I have learned to articulate how cultural hegemony differentially shapes and affects our lives.

  I am extremely grateful for Professor Root, who not only inspired me in her courses with her enthusiasm and critical pedagogy, but also gave me the opportunity to assist her in editing an upcoming book on Latin American fashion. I have learned about the publication process, cultural research, and the importance of intercultural communication. I also greatly appreciate Professor Buck for her vibrant teaching and support. I want to express gratitude to Professor Carrión for her incredible medical interpretation course, where we learned about both the vocabulary and ethics of interpretation. I’d also like to thank Professor Terukina for his encouragement and his ability to make challenging, historical texts electrifying.

  This degree has provided me with a sense of self-fulfillment and a passion for thinking critically about life and culture. As I plan to attend the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as a member of the MD Class of ‘26, I know that I will use my education in Hispanic Studies to advocate for patients and for those in my community.

Andrea Phelps
Phelps, AndreaFrench Studies & History
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Andrea Phelps

French Studies & History

Although I came to William & Mary intending to major in French, I couldn’t have imagined at the time how much the program would enrich my college experience and my life more broadly. Not only have my French skills improved by leaps and bounds while learning about Francophone cultures and literatures, but I have also been constantly challenged to think critically and communicate effectively. Not one French course was easy, but neither was one uninteresting, thanks to professors’ expertise and enthusiasm, and students’ readiness to engage thoughtfully with the material. I truly appreciate the department’s collaborative atmosphere, where students’ insights are valued by faculty and classmates, and where each course was an opportunity to learn and grow, intellectually and personally.

  My W&M French education prepared me well for the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life—study abroad in Strasbourg in the spring of 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, where I interned at the University of Strasbourg and conducted original research on a topic I had no idea I had a passion for—translation. Presenting this project at the Fête de la Recherche last fall (while also having the privilege of co-organizing the event) is one of my favorite memories as a French student. Since returning to the US, I have not been able to think about much else besides France, so I am planning to participate in TAPIF this upcoming school year. Merci à tous!

Dina (Konstantina)  Phipps
Phipps, Dina (Konstantina) Hispanic Studies & English
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Dina (Konstantina) Phipps

Hispanic Studies & English

My name is Konstantina "Dina" Phipps and I am an English and Hispanic Studies double major. I have always had a love for languages and as a freshman at William & Mary, I knew that I wanted to continue my study of the Spanish language and culture. While originally planning to minor in Hispanic Studies, my decision to major in this subject has provided me with so many wonderful opportunities and memories. One of my favorite courses I have taken was a film class about the portrayal of women and children in Latin American cinema. This course allowed me to learn about studying film and how film can reflect the values of a culture. Another course that I will always remember fondly was my Latinx novel course because it allowed me the opportunity to combine both of my majors and my interests. While COVID prevented me from being able to spend a semester abroad, the Hispanic Studies program provides students with several opportunities to have this experience. This past spring break, I was able to take part in an embedded study abroad program to Gibraltar, further enhancing my understanding of other places and cultures. Most importantly, this department would not be as special without its wonderful faculty and staff who have made my time as a Hispanic Studies student so wonderful. After graduation, I will be attending William & Mary's School of Education to receive my Master's in Elementary Education with a certification in ESL. I know that my experiences in the Hispanic Studies program will be invaluable as I begin this next chapter in my life.
Tom  Plant
Plant, Tom Hispanic Studies & International Relations
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Tom Plant

Hispanic Studies & International Relations

Hispanic Studies has been the heart of my education at William & Mary. The professors in the program not only taught me to be a global citizen by seeing the world through other perspectives, but their genuine passion for each course's content inspired me to be curious. Throughout my time in the program, I've had the privilege of taking a wide array of classes, ranging from Latinx identity to soccer to explorations of gender in early modern Spain. These lessons will stick with me after graduation, from my professional life to my personal life. Thank you MLL!
Barrett Ratzlaff
Ratzlaff, BarrettChinese Studies & Economics
ratzlaff-b-chin

Barrett Ratzlaff

Chinese Studies & Economics

I am incredibly grateful for all the Chinese Studies program has done for me. The feeling of progress and improvement is one of my favorites, and all my interactions with the staff of the Chinese Studies helped me get that feeling. They gave me a healthy environment to develop my language skills and inspired me to be curious in areas I had never entered before. Not only was I given opportunities to develop my language skills, but I also was lucky enough to be able to apply my skills on campus. This department meant so much more than just a few undergraduate classes, and I will always look back fondly on the people I met and the experiences we shared.

Kelly Sherman
Sherman, KellyFrench & Francophone Studies & Linguistics
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Kelly Sherman

French & Francophone Studies & Linguistics

Kelly Sherman’s (they/them pronouns) academic career at William & Mary initially began with a major in French and Francophone Studies, to which they added a second Linguistics major. Interest in other languages accompanied French, and they soon added a concentration in Japanese due to their interest in the language and culture since middle school. W&M’s Modern Languages Department provided a rich experience for both languages, and they were able to take multiple courses delivered in the target languages, further enhancing their understanding and enjoyment of topics such as nature, medieval history, feminism, and textual analysis.

Because of W&M’s amazing professors, Kelly was also able to gain deep knowledge of cultural topics in both Japan and across the Francophone world. As a result, they applied to the Japan English Teaching (JET) Program, a Japanese government-sponsored consortium that sends English speakers to teach elementary through high school English in Japan. Kelly has been honored with an acceptance and will be leaving for Japan in July. They will treasure their memories from W&M and are extremely grateful to the entire faculty of the Modern Language Department.

Miranda Shorts
Shorts, MirandaHispanic Studies & Government
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Miranda Shorts

Hispanic Studies & Government

My experience in the Hispanic Studies program has been amazing; I did not originally plan on majoring in Hispanic Studies, but as I took my first course in the department. I knew that it was something I wanted to do. My classes specifically with Professor Gaytan-Cuesta, Professor Root, Professor Rivera Santana, and Professor Rio have given me the opportunity to engage in decolonial studies and understand what it truly means to have your identity be seen and acknowledged. These courses have taught me about many different forms of resistance in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is something I think is unique to this department. The Hispanic Studies program has genuinely helped me broadened my own understanding of the coloniality of power and knowledge and how it has impacted my own learning as a student at William & Mary. The courses I have taken in the Hispanic Studies program have inspired me endlessly, and the professors have always supported me and that is something I will forever be grateful for. 
Hannah Snyder
Snyder, HannahHispanic Studies & Kinesiology
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Hannah Snyder

Hispanic Studies & Kinesiology

The Hispanic Studies program faculty and courses challenged me to utilize and grow my Spanish skills in such unique ways and encouraged me to find opportunities to be involved with the Spanish speaking community in Williamsburg. I am so thankful for the relationships with peers and professors from the department. I plan to attend graduate school to become a Physician Assistant and I am hoping to work with primarily Spanish speaking patients. I know that my courses in Hispanic Studies have prepared me well for the future!

Jordan Strong
Strong, JordanHispanic Studies & International Relations
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Jordan Strong

Hispanic Studies & International Relations

Hello all! My name is Jordan Strong and I have LOVED being a Hispanic Studies major here at William & Mary. One of my goals coming into university was to achieve fluency in Spanish, and this department's belief that in order to be a fluent speaker of a language, one must also be fluent in the cultures of the nations that speak that language (however “imagined” they may be, Benedict) has helped me to do that and so much more.

  I was enormously grateful that, even during the pandemic, I could take part in W&M's incredible semester in Sevilla program. Some of my greatest memories of the past four years were made gallivanting around Spain, fully dedicating myself to speaking Spanish, and in doing so meeting people I never thought I would meet in my life. In fact, the picture on the screen is me kayaking in the Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid!

  From my first Hispanic Studies class with Profesora Cate-Arries at 8am in Tucker to my mind-bending capstones with Profesor Rivera and Profesora Buck, I have expanded my understanding of the world thanks to the outstanding professors of this department. I’d also like to thank Profesora Root, Profesor Cantarello, Profesor Terukina, and Profesora Tandeciarz for their deep care for me and for consistently pushing me to be a better learner. Wherever I end up in the future, I know the skills and values I learned here will never leave me.

  Que todos se mantengan en contacto y que siempre recordemos nuestra experiencia especial aquí.

Andrew Tanner
Tanner, AndrewRussian & Post-Soviet Studies & International Relations
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Andrew Tanner

Russian & Post-Soviet Studies & International Relations

I initially chose to pursue Russian to fulfill my International Relations’ language requirement. Although my friends and family warned me to pick “an easier language”, I knew what lay beyond the difficult and demanding language - a genuinely caring, supportive, and welcoming culture. My decision was partially guided by the event that sparked my interest in International Relations - the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine. As a middle schooler, the Maidan Revolution was the first major international event I followed in depth. The struggle for freedom and democracy helped open my eyes to the injustices faced in Ukraine and the world. 


The professors and fellow students in the Russian & Post Studies faculty have been the most friendly and supportive people during my time at William & Mary. From Professor Pickering’s government courses to Professor Ginzbursky-Blum’s language classes, the faculty has offered a rigorous but encouraging academic environment that has resulted in immense personal growth. I would not be the person I am now without my Russian coursework, the experience living in the Russian House, and interactions with the wonderful professors involved.  I have particularly appreciated the support of the department in studying abroad, even during an unprecedented global pandemic. 


My time in the classroom and while abroad in Prague, Czechia have fostered a deep appreciation for the culture and people of Central and Eastern Europe.  After graduation, I hope to build on my experiences by working in government policy focused on human rights and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe

Grayson Timoner
Timoner, GraysonFrench Studies & Government
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Grayson Timoner

French Studies & Government

I'm so grateful to have spent the last 4 years in the French & Francophone Studies program. As a rising sophomore, I went to Montpellier with 10 other students and Professor Compan. I spent the month in Montpellier with an amazing host family that I still keep in touch with today. That summer deepened my love for immersing myself in different languages and cultures and introduced me to one of my best friends at W&M, Karissa McDonald. During the Spring of my junior year, I went back to France to study and do research in Strasbourg with the Institute for Field Education. In Strasbourg, I interned at Caritas Alsace Pôle Monde Carcéral where I worked with people recently released from prison to help them reacclimate into the community. This semester abroad culminated in a research paper on how Caritas works to lower the rate of recidivism in Strasbourg. The French program at W&M prepared me culturally and linguistically to work, conduct research, and live on my own in Strasbourg. I was eager to stay involved in the program and continue speaking French when I returned to campus for my senior year. My involvement in the department continued by serving as the French House Conversation Hours Host with Karissa. After graduating in December 2021, I began working as a Case Manager in the Veterans First division at Friendship Place. I provide prevention and rapid rehousing services to Veterans experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness in and around DC.

Christopher Wagner
Wagner, ChristopherGerman Studies & History
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Christopher Wagner

German Studies & History

  I have had an incredible experience being part of the German Studies program in my time at William & Mary. While I had prioritized my other major, History, in my freshman and sophomore years, I enjoyed my introduction to German 101 and 201 enough to pursue more classes in the program, I am so glad that I did. The German Studies professors, though few in number, were always helpful and encouraging in my studies for both my majors and offered advice on how to overlap the two disciplines in my projects and classwork that has left me with a great appreciation of the intersections between German culture and history that I look forward to exploring more in the future.

  Looking forward, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in German history and eventually teach at the high school or college levels, but for my immediate future, I was accepted into the Fulbright Austria Teaching Assistant Program for 2022-2023! I will be helping teach English at two schools in the Austrian town of Oberwart, and I can’t wait to further explore the German language and Austrian culture as I gain experience in education before moving on to graduate school. I am so thankful to my German professors and the department for the opportunities and guidance they have provided in my William & Mary education. 

Keely Wiese
Wiese, KeelyChinese Studies & Economics
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Keely Wiese

Chinese Studies & Economics

The Chinese Studies program has been a huge part of my college career. Dr. Hill first introduced Mandarin to me when I took his COLL 200 course my freshman year.  At the time, I was an aspiring Physics major, but clearly that did not last long!  With his support and Dr. Hui’s guidance as my advisors, I have grown as a researcher and writer, gaining skills I will take with me in my next steps.  I will miss seeing Su Laoshi and Lin Laoshi’s smiling faces every day!  I am so grateful for their patience and kindness, especially when teaching online and with masks. 

  Besides coursework, I have enjoyed being a part of the Chinese Studies community.  The Chinese House is a tight-knit group, and I will miss our dumpling nights.  I never expected to become close friends with classmates, but the camaraderie I have felt with my peers in the program is unmatched.  It seems few things can bring people in college together more than humbly admitting that while you may have read the Chinese homework - you certainly did not understand it.

  In the immediate future I plan to practice my language skills as much as a I can as I start a career in marketing.  Sooner rather than later I hope to find myself abroad, putting my skills to the test and finally experiencing the cultures I have learned so much about.