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Recent grads: First stop after graduation

Congrats to the Class of 2022

"Learning another language is critical for (problem solving), as you train your brain to communicate under a different set of rules." Davis Jackson, class of 2020


What can you do with a German or Russian degree?

See what impressive career trajectories that alumni from the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies are experiencing. Employers value humanities degrees -- especially in languages and seek employees with a global perspective, nuanced intercultural competence, the ability think critically and rationally, and of course, those who can write well.

If you are an alum, and are interested in being featured, please tell us what you've been doing! Check out a few recent graduates and the amazing work and academic studies they are pursuing!


Headshot of Brandon WyattM.A. German (2022)

Instructor of German, University of North Georgia

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation/what path did you take to lead you to accepting your new teaching position?

I knew I wanted to teach the language in some fashion once I switched majors in my sophomore year from International Business to German. The B.A. and M.A. programs at UGA offered a very well-rounded and in-depth course load that prepared me very well to teach an immersive and authentic German language course.

I did take 1 year after graduation to try out teaching younger children, but ultimately, I think I am most effective teaching older/adult students the language and culture I love.

First experiences with German:

People tend to think that I chose to learn German because of family history or maybe because I have a friend/family member living in a German speaking country, but it's much less glamorous than that. My first time in a German class was in Oconee County High School as a sophomore. I knew I had to take a language to get to UGA. Spanish was out because everyone seemed to take that class. French was a no-go because all I ever saw anyone do in there was eat crepes and watch movies. I wanted to actually learn the language I took. I had learned on a whim in middle school how to count to 10 in German, and based on that solid reasoning, I chose to register for German I. Little did I know, I would absolutely fall in love with not only the language, but learning new languages generally!

A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote:

Arriving in Rostock and getting settled in during my first few days was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. Here I was, an American who had hardly travelled outside the Southeastern US and had never been on a plane, and suddenly I was plunked in the middle of a former East German city where most adults spoke German and Russian, but no English. I had to, quite literally on the fly, learn the German dorm system, find my way around, sign the flurry of papers that allowed me to officially earn money and put it into a German bank account, and so much more, all while being what felt like the only American in the whole city. I think my German improved more in those first 2-3 weeks than in any of the countless hours of classes I had taken!

A memorable German class moment:

By far, my absolute favorite German class I ever took was German Theater with Dr. Chapman! The first half of the semester was spent reading German plays from a variety of authors within a set time period. We learned about how different German playwrights helped set the stage for entire genres of theater as well as the basic mechanics of how plays worked, all in the target language. The second half of the semester was the real memory, though, because we put on our OWN German play! We spent the latter half of the spring rehearsing, creating set pieces, schlepping things back and forth from building to building, all to create a version of Biedermann und die Brandstifter by Max Frisch. The play was tons of work, demanding much more outside of class than your average class, but was totally worth it in the end. I will always remember my fellow classmates/cast members and our director Dr. Chapman fondly.

Marleena Tamminen

Marleena Tamminen

A.B. German, A.B. Economics (2022)

Fellow of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation?

CBYX-YP is a yearlong fellowship to study and intern in Germany with a goal of cultural diplomacy. While prior German knowledge is not a requirement for the program, my German studies have been so important for ensuring I can make the most of my time in Germany: my language and cultural skills will help me with studying and working all in German and with making connections with those I meet along the way.

First experiences with German:

I started German as a freshman in high school with a wonderful teacher, Frau Brkic, who is also an alumna of the UGA German Department!

A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote:

My favorite memory from completing the Freiburg Maymester in 2019 was climbing what felt like an unbelievably long stone spiral staircase to the tower of the city’s cathedral with a friend, only to have the daylights scared out of us by the clang of the bells as we reached the top!

A memorable German class moment:

I’ll always remember our lively discussions in Senior Seminar about the intentions of Prussian authors with their works and characters. I think it was the most passionate I’ve ever seen a course be!

Camille Becker

Headshot of Camille Becker

A.B German, A.B. Anthropology (2022)

MSc in Human Osteoarchaeology at the University of Edinburgh

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation? 

Although my intended graduate school studies do not focus on German, I intend to keep up with the language through extracurricular activities and hope to study or work in Germany at some point in the future. I think that everyone should experience the privilege of studying another culture in-depth when they are able, and my German studies here at UGA allowed me to pursue such an interest. In my opinion, seeking to understand and appreciate the variety of cultures both around us and further away can help us appreciate our differences to a greater degree in all aspects of life. 

 A Study Abroad experience/anecdote

Most of my time at UGA was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I'm very excited to head to Freiburg in just a couple of days and finally study abroad! Although I did officially graduate this past month, I see this opportunity as a great way to round out my education here. 

A memorable German class moment:

There are so, so many moments to choose from but the one that stands out to me the most is my very first German presentation at UGA in my GRMN 2002 class. I was so nervous about messing up, but the topic was one that I cared deeply about, and I ended up getting really positive feedback! This moment is important to me because it gave me a lot more confidence in my spoken German abilities. 

Lyle Tostenson

Recent grad Lyle Tostenson

A.B. German, B.S. Biochemical Engineering (2022)

Fermentation Process Engineer, Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition, Raleigh, NC.

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation? 

Studying German as part of the Engineering/German dual major program allowed me to take interesting elective options at the Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie. Classes like "Industrial organic chemistry" and "Scale-up and Process Development" were both options that are not available at UGA, and both courses introduced me to material that will be useful in my long-term career. Also, interacting with people in another language challenges you to think and articulate differently than in your native language. I believe this prepared me to interact with a wide array of different people in a professional setting.

First experiences with German:

My first experience with German was my freshman year at UGA in Dr. Heide Crawford's GRMN 1001 course. I had studied Spanish in high school and was interested in foreign languages, but I had no significant exposure to a language with a case system, and this aspect of German interested me.

 A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote

An experience I remember fondly from my exchange program is skiing in the Austrian Alps. As a boy from rural south Georgia, I had seen snow visiting family in the Midwest, but I had never seen mountains like that. That was my first experience skiing, and I had an absolute blast.

A memorable German class moment:

Although this was also on a study abroad, it was a class venture on Dr. Crawford's Freiburg study abroad. I remember vividly the first döner I tried, and it instantly became my favorite on-the-go meal in Germany. Food (and beer) is a lot of what I think about the most regarding my time in Germany, and I look forward to the next day I can sit carefree in a Biergarten with a Maß and Schweinshaxe.

Emily lembcke

Recent grad Emily Lembcke

A.B. German, B.S. Mechanical Engineering (2020)

M.S. Program in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech,     Graduate Research Assistant

Emily plans to pursue a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering.

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation? As a result of my internship with the Fraunhofer Institute ICT NAS department, I discovered my passion for working a research environment which helped prepare me for such environments at Georgia Tech. I think my German studies have enabled me to be a much more flexible thinker, as I also worked in teams with people from other projects and departments. 

First experiences with German:  When I was a child, I briefly attended a German school in Atlanta because my dad was German, but I never ended up absorbing much German, besides a few phrases. I truly began learning German in 2015 in my first semester at UGA. 

 A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote:  I participated at The Dual Degree Engineering-German study abroad program:  I remember being stranded in Köln with some of my fellow Dual Degree students and our friends from the Goethe School in Bonn because an undetonated WW2 shell had been found and all of the public transportation had been shut down. We spent much of the day touring the city and then were planning to return to Bonn just as the public transportation was being shut down. Later, the trains began running again so we were still able to make it home, but it was a really fun day overall with an incredibly memorable ending. 

 A memorable German studies moment: A fun moment was when Dr. Rossbacher showed us the film This Ain't California in her The Wall course. The film itself was amazing and the conversations we had as a result in class have inspired me to tell my friends about this film.  

Davis Jackson   

Davis Jackson

A.B. German, B.S. Statistics (2020)

Information Analyst, Daugherty Business Solutions, Atlanta

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation?     Learning to communicate in a new language is an important skill for any job. An important skill of a good Analyst and a good Consultant is being able to explain both problems and solutions to people who aren’t familiar with the methods or languages needed to express them fully. You need to be able to translate the technical, specific understanding you have into a language that the person you're talking to can understand, and even contribute to. Learning another language is critical for this, as you train your brain to communicate under a different set of rules. 

First experiences with German: I started learning German my freshman year of college, 2016

 A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote:   I went on Dr. Crawford's Freiburg study abroad in Summer 2018. Lots of great memories: Going to Interlaken with a group of 10 and spending a day out on the lake, then cramming into one AirBNB :)  My study abroad experience gave me a lot of confidence in speaking German, which even though I wasn't the most proficient I really needed the confidence. You can’t get any better if you're too scared to try. 

A memorable German class moment: Definitely would have to be creating a 40-minute interpretative dance recreation of (the German novel) Tschick. 

Katie Kish

Katie Kish

A.B. German, B.S. MIS and International Business (2020)

Professional Development Program in Analytics, UNUM Group, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Katie was accepted into a competitive training and mentorship program at Unum Group, a Fortune 500 insurance company with an international presence and award-winning workplace notable for inclusion, diversity, and women in management.

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation?    My German courses not only provided me with an excellent foundation in the German language, but they also provided me with a unique global perspective and understanding of German culture. This knowledge will be useful in my future pursuits as I will likely either be working or going to graduate school abroad within the next few years.    

First experiences with German:   I first started learning German in 6th grade.

A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote:   At the Terry College Summer Study Abroad at Oxford, two of my favorite memories were the Monday night formal dinners with Oxford professors, and the opportunities to travel to other countries on the weekends. Although my study abroad did not take place in Germany, it helped me with my studies because it broadened my global perspective. Taking courses in International Conflict and International Strategic Management made me realize that in today’s world, it is so important for countries to work together while also working to understand and embrace cultural differences. My abroad experience sparked my desire to live in Germany one day.

A memorable German class moment:   After class one Friday, I went to Jittery Joe's with two other people from my first-ever freshman-year German class, and we spent the entirety of the afternoon speaking in German. It felt great to be able to communicate with people in a different language. That was the day I realized that I wanted to pursue German.

Anne Farrell

Anne Farrell

 A.B. German (2020)

Global Digital Sales, IBM, Atlanta

Before graduating in May 2020, and during a global pandemic and economic downturn, Anne received a job offer from the international technology and consulting company, IBM. In Anne's own words, "I was not a business major or an engineering major, which is who they usually hire. I am proud to be a German major."

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation? I think my German classes helped  teach me about diversity, and how politics and law in other countries are different, and how our country can benefit from such differing views. Something I really took away from the German program at UGA that will help me with my job is “diversity and acceptance,” which is valued by my company.

I will be doing digital sales for IBM in Atlanta. I am so thankful and proud to have studied German at the University of Georgia; this will benefit me for the rest of my life! I can only hope to be able to move to Germany one day in the future and do business in German, and I know I will keep my German language and cultural skills for the rest of my life!

First experiences with German: I first started learning German when I was five-years-old in kindergarten.

A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote: I went on the Freiburg, Germany study abroad in summer 2017 as well as an exchange semester at Vienna University Economics and Business for three months in fall 2019. My favorite memory from the Freiburg trip was when me and my friend Shoshana took the train to Switzerland.

A memorable German class moment : A fun moment that I had with Germanic & Slavic Studies at UGA was when we had the Oktoberfest in the front lawn my senior year. I even brought my friends who did not know any German and we just had a really good time kicking the soccer ball with German students and eating German food and showing them a little bit of what the German program is like!  


Emily GaultEmily Gauld

A.B. German, A.B. Music, (2010), M.A. German (2014) 

Ph.D Program, Germanic Languages and Literatures University of Michigan, Graduate Student Instructor

Emily's dissertation titled “Composing the Musicking Woman: Gender and Nation in the Works of Johanna Kinkel” investigates how 19th-century women represented female identity and subjectivity in music and literature.

How did your German studies prepare you for your plans after graduation?  Since I decided to pursue a PhD in German Studies, the connections can seem pretty obvious--doing both a BA and MA in German at UGA quite literally set the foundation for my current career. But it was also my experiences in the German department and the opportunities it offered that fostered my interest in studying German language and culture, and motivated me to continue along this path. 

Can you describe what your PhD research is and how it relates to work you began at UGA?  At UGA, I was able to focus on my interests in the intersections of music and literature, taking an independent study on Thomas Mann and Wagner, writing research papers on topics such as Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and completing music theory courses to complement my work in the German department. Setting this groundwork at UGA, enabled me to continuing pursuing questions about aesthetic representations of Germanness through a feminist lens in my PhD research. 

First experiences with German:  My very first German class was as a sophomore in high school, 15- or 16-years-old.

A Study Abroad Experience/Anecdote:  I did an exchange year at Universität Zürich during my BA, and after I graduated I did a Fulbright ETA (and stayed for a second year through the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst). I made amazing friends in Zürich who I still see regularly (we just had a reunion in 2019!), I was a double major in music and I got to take lessons with a member of the Zürich opera orchestra, I got involved in the exchange student program at the university, which offered opportunities such as weekend trips to other countries and bungee jumping! During my Fulbright in Germany, I joined a Musikverein which was an awesome experience. I made more lifelong friends and did a lot of traveling within Germany for those two years as well. 

How did German and your study abroad experiences help you in your studies in general?  They not only helped determine my future interest in the German language and studying German history and culture, but spending time abroad helped my language skills, improved my general confidence in my own abilities, and helped build problem-solving skills that I continue to use both inside and outside the classroom.

A memorable German studies moment in Joe Brown Hall:  One Joe Brown memory I’ll never forget was performing with Alex Sager and Martin Kagel for our 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall event back in 2009. I played horn and they sang/played guitar. I can’t remember what the song was, but there is a video of it out there somewhere on the internet!

Robert Kolsinski Robert Klosinski

M.A. German, (2017) 

Ph.D. Program, German Linguistics and Language Science, Penn State University
Robert Klosinski:   M.A. German 201X
Alumnus Robert Klosinski teaching his Penn State University course remotely while sheltering in place in Berßel, Germany during the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020.


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