- When did you graduate? What were your majors/minors?
I graduated in 2008 and majored in Modern Languages and Linguistics (concentration: Applied Linguistics).
- What activities were you involved in while at UMBC?
One of the highlights for me was living on the ILL floor in Harbor Hall and participating in the cultural events sponsored by different language clusters. (I lived in the German cluster before studying abroad for a year at the University of Munich. Upon returning, I lived in the French cluster.) I also wrote concert and film reviews for The Retriever and thoroughly took advantage of the AOK’s Criterion Collection holdings and German periodicals/novels. (I look back extremely fondly to photocopying Der Spiegel once a week and religiously highlighting the words I didn’t know. Everybody needs something to be extreme about when they’re 20 — in my case it was an inexplicable need to have a second set of labels for the world.)
- What are you doing since you graduated?
What you’ll find in my CV: Since I graduated, I’ve received my M.Sc. in Clinical Linguistics (the study of language disorders) from the University of Potsdam in 2010, worked for the Pearson publishing house, interned for a translation agency in southern Germany. From 2011 to September 2015, I worked as an instructor of linguistics and English language at the University of Greifswald, Germany, where I simultaneously pursued my doctorate in the field of second language acquisition. As of October 2015, I will be working as an instructor in the Department of English, American and Celtic Studies at the University of Bonn.
What you won’t: Since I graduated, I’ve had the chance to travel across Europe and live an academic life according to my design. In this way, I’ve truly been able to live the humanities and there is simply nothing more thrilling than to have thinking be what you do and to bring along others for the ride.
- What were some highlights of your time in the Humanities Scholars Program (HSP)?
I loved the first year seminars (great reading lists and material for discussion) and the dynamics of my cluster (a dozen cool people doing exciting things). Many of the Humanities Forum lectures were some of the best I’ve attended, period. My academic year abroad at the University of Munich set the course for the career that would follow in Germany. (It was also a real treat in 2013 to arrange a Skype session with President Hrabowski for my German students and colleagues!) And I treasure the memories of late-night Double TT runs and screenings at The Charles with cluster members.
- How did the HSP shape you professionally? What skills, knowledge and experiences have you brought to your professional/academic life?
Like conservatories for musicians and dancers, I feel like the HSP took the raw stuff of the intellectual life that was starting to bud in high school and taught me how to refine and hone it into something that could translate into an extremely enriching interior and professional life. The HSP brought me into contact with innovative, gracious academics who were interested in imparting their knowledge and eager to gain new insight from their students. These scholars taught me how to be a great teacher.
- How would you define the HSP in five words?
Thinkers who love humanity first.
- What do you have planned for the future?
Defend my dissertation and take the state examination for translators next year, continue to hone my skills as a foreign language teacher and start writing textbooks (which was the motivation for pursuing my doctorate), add new languages to my repertoire (I’m currently working on Russian and Slovenian), and discover new corners of Germany, a country I can’t seem to get enough of.