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Department Spotlights

Ying Wang

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Ying Wang

Professor Ying Wang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at Pace University (NYC). She received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011. Her research focuses on women's writings in nineteenth-century France, with an emphasis on representations of “deviance” in politically and socially constructed categories such as gender, race, class and disability. Her reading of women's literature combines sociocultural reflection and textual analysis. Through the lens of gender, she examines women writers' creation conditions and writing strategies, which imply a transgression of gender constraints in a patriarchal society. Her essays have appeared in Nineteen-Century French Studies, French Forum, and Women in French. In addition to literary studies, she is also a translator who has translated a variety of literary texts from French/English to Chinese. Her book translation from French to Chinese of Martine Reid’s critical biography of George Sand was published in 2018 (CTPH, Beijing).

Hélène Huet

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Hélène Huet

Professor Hélène Huet is European Studies Librarian at the University of Florida. She received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015. Her research agenda focuses on the field of Digital Humanities. She manages projects such as “Albert Huets WWI Diary” and “Mapping Decadence.” She also co-created a list of French and Francophone Digital Humanities projects. She regularly presents and publishes on these projects as well as on library initiatives within the field of Digital Humanities. Since August 2018,Hélène is the co-PI of "Migration, Mobility, and Sustainability: Caribbean Studies and Digital Humanities Advanced Institute.” This National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Award will fund a week-long, in-person workshop and five additional monthly virtual workshops on collaborative Digital Humanities and Caribbean Studies.

Lara Lomicka Anderson

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Lara Lomicka Anderson

Professor Lara Lomicka Anderson is Professor of French and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of South Carolina. She received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2001. In 2009 her teaching was nationally recognized by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and Cengage Publishers as she received the Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology award. In 2011 she was honored by the French Government as a Chevalier dans l’ordre des palmes academiques. Co-editor of two books on technology and language learning, she regularly conducts workshops, consults with language programs, and gives talks on technology in language teaching. She currently serves as President of the AAUSC, Past President of the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, and President of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations.

Kory Olson

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Kory Olson

Professor Kory Olson is Associate Professor of French in the Language and Culture Studies Program at Stockton University. He received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2006. His research focuses on urbanism of nineteenth and twentieth century France along with the history of cartography, travel guides, and geographic education. His recent book, The Cartographic Capital: Mapping Third-Republic Paris (Liverpool 2018) focuses on the shifting ideas and concepts of urban space as technological innovations changed how Parisians used and understood their city. His forthcoming entry “Military Mapping by France” will appear in the University of Chicago’s History of Cartography Project Volume 5: Cartography in the Nineteenth Century and explores the army’s surveying and presentation of the nation’s terrain.

Denis M. Provencher

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Denis M. Provencher

Professor Denis M. Provencher is Professor and Head in the Department of French and Italian and affiliate faculty in Anthropology, Gender and Women's Studies, the Institute for LGBT Studies, Linguistics, and Second Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Arizona. He earned his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 1998. Dr. Provencher is the author of two monographs, Queer French (Ashgate, 2007) and Queer Maghrebi French (Liverpool, 2017) and is editor-in-chief of the journal Contemporary French Civilization

N. Christine Brookes

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N. Christine Brookes

Professor N. Christine Brookes is Professor of French in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Central Michigan University. She received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2004. Her research and teaching interests include border and transnational studies, Franco-Mexican relations, Franco-Russian relations, history of print culture, the Third Republic, translation, and war studies. Her book, The French Face of Nathaniel Hawthorne: Monsieur de l’Aubépine & his Second-Empire Critics (Ohio UP, 2011) was co-written with Michael W. Anesko (Penn State, English). Currently, she is researching and writing about France’s saisons culturelles. For more information and a current CV, visit her homepage

Lynn E. Palermo

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Lynn E. Palermo

Professor Lynn E. Palermo is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Susquehanna University. She earned her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2003. Her recent work has focused on literary translation and its pedagogy. She received a 2018 NEA Translation Fellowship for her translation of Humus, by Fabienne Kanor, to appear in the UVA Press CARAF Series. In 2016, she received a French Voices Award for her co-translation of Cyrille Fleischman’s Destiny’s Repairman. Her translations have appeared in journals including the Kenyon Review Online, Exchanges Literary Journal, and World Literature Today. She has also published research on the cultural politics of interwar France. She is a volunteer translator for the UN and affiliated organizations.

Ashley Clauer

Ashley Clauer
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Ashley Clauer

Hometown: State College, PA
Major: World Language Education (French)

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Given that I have a major in World Language Education, it is required for me to spend a semester studying abroad. Knowing that from the beginning of my first year at Penn State, I tried to get as much input as I could in order to ensure that I was picking the program that was best for me. I spoke to three advisors: Dr. Heather McCoy in the Department of French and Francophone Studies, Ms. Kathleen Shannon in the College of Education, and an advisor in the Global Programs office. I also spoke with a few different students who were past participants of the program, all of whom spoke very highly of their experience in Montpellier. I also did research online on the Global Programs website to read about what types of classes were offered, if there was a homestay option, and how the costs differed.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This semester, I am studying abroad in Montpellier, France. The program I am participating in is run through the University of Minnesota, although there are students from a wide variety of universities here that are participating in the program. There were two options I could choose from: Integrated Studies or Language and Culture. I chose Integrated Studies, which allows me to take classes with French students at Paul Valèry University. Due to the courses offered and what I found interesting, I am only taking one integrated course and four courses that are specifically designed for American students.

In addition, I am living with a host family in the suburb of Le Crès. My host parents are both elementary school teachers and are incredibly patient with my developing language skills. They have also gone out of their way to ensure that I experience traditional French dishes and see some of the local sites.

I have had the opportunity to travel to several different places throughout France and Europe and am looking forward to even more traveling before I leave in a month. I have been to Paris, Brussels, Toulouse, Nice, Venice, Rome, Chamonix, and Marseille, along with many other places. I am most looking forward to my trip to Morocco in the beginning of May that has been organized through my program here.

"I think this semester has given me an invaluable insight into the cultural differences and the values that drive those differences. I will definitely use my experiences in my future classroom to help my students understand French culture."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I came to France with the main goal of improving my proficiency in the French language. Many of my classes have helped me with that, especially my phonetics class here. In taking phonetics here with a French professor, I have pinpointed some pronunciation errors that I have been continuously making and have learned how to correct them. In addition, living with a host family has been incredibly helpful. They will always make sure to include me in conversation and help me develop my vocabulary. They also will gently make corrections when I make grammatical mistakes. I have noticed that, over the last few months, my comprehension level has increased and I can respond quicker as well.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

Given that I want to be a French teacher at the secondary level, the language skills that I have developed here are essential to my career goals. However, I have also had the opportunity to learn about the French culture from being immersed in it daily and getting to know the French people. I think this semester has given me an invaluable insight into the cultural differences and the values that drive those differences. I will definitely use my experiences in my future classroom to help my students understand French culture beyond all of the stereotypes that exist. If anything, this semester has reinforced my desire to share my passion for the French language with my future students.

Timothy Sullivan

Timothy Sullivan
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Timothy Sullivan

Paterno Fellow
Hometown: Harleysville, PA
Majors: Psychology and French
Minor: Dance

How did you learn about this opportunity?

From the start of my studies at Penn State, I knew I was going to study abroad. I first found out about the Montpellier Integrated program by searching through the Global Programs website, however, what really solidified my decision to choose this program was talking with other students. Additionally I discussed programs with French faculty members and Peer Advisers at the Education Abroad office; the culmination of all of my research pointed to the program that best matched my needs of language immersion, instruction quality, and atmosphere.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

While incredibly cliché to say, this experience has been life changing for me. I discovered so many things about myself that I never knew before. I have formed so many new relationships and have been exposed to so many diverse and interesting people. Each of them has taught me something that I can take with me. I have taken on a new perspective and view my country, my culture, and my own life differently. Living in a foreign country teaches you humility as you struggle to find the words to order something in another language or are forced to make hilarious hand gestures to get your point across. I have lived each day with gratitude knowing that each new thing I encounter, each new conversation I have, and each new thing I learn helps me evolve into a better person. The opportunity to travel to immensely different locations has been an eye opening experience as I have voyaged to see places I have only learned about in history textbooks. I have gotten to see and to observe with a critical eye the stereotypes that are circulated throughout the respective French and American cultures and form my own opinions about their validity. I have had long conversations over a dinner with my host family and have helped strangers with navigation in a completely different location, and have occasionally been mistaken for a French person. In all, this experience has given me insight into a world I have never known and strive to learn more about.

"I have a broader perspective in regards to my own culture, which can help me take on different perspectives in other domains of my life. With the ever-growing possibility of international research/collaboration, this experience will no doubt prove beneficial for me."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying at a French university has certainly been an academic challenge for me. The higher education systems in the United States and France are very different, so it took a good bit of time getting used to the way everything operates in France (and, of course, the fact that all of my classes were completely in French). I found that I was always comparing the United States and France when I was at Paul Valéry University in Montpellier because they are in fact so different. I found myself having to work harder on assignments because of the additional language barrier. The grades they assign here are on a scale of 0 through 20, so adapting to the grading scale was something so simple but definitely necessary from the get go. They teach very differently in France; it was at first difficult getting used to a new method of learning that differed from the way I approach each of my courses in the United States. I found that I was working harder towards my work, but in a different way. Each class required additional energy so that I could understand the lecture in a different language. The most important attribute to this program, however, is that my French has improved dramatically from taking university courses in Montpellier. I can speak, read, and write on a completely higher level, which will only help me in my future studies and beyond.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

For me, French is just a passion. My primary major is Psychology, so I plan on continuing onto graduate school after Penn State to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Another potential career path for me would be to obtain a Masters of Social Work. However, I have also considered joining the Peace Corps to volunteer abroad for 27 months once I graduate from Penn State. While my experience in France may not contribute directly to these potential professions (depending on what is involved with each or if there are international components), the skills I have learned from studying abroad will no doubt be an asset to me. Now, I am very attentive to communication as I have had to put forth an extra effort to do so in the past few months. I have learned to take initiative and deal with times of stress, particularly from my experiences travelling with groups. I have a broader perspective in regards to my own culture, which can help me take on different perspectives in other domains of my life. With the ever-growing possibility of international research/collaboration, this experience will no doubt prove beneficial for me.

Julia Schrank

Julia Schrank
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Julia Schrank

Julia Schrank

Paterno Fellow
Hometown: Monroeville, PA
Majors: French and Francophone Studies; Spanish

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I asked my thesis adviser if she had any projects for this summer with which she would like assistance. She was more than happy to have me and we found an appropriate side-project for me that gave me independence while furthering her research goals.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I conducted research under Dr. Willa Z. Silverman that contributed to her current research while simultaneously exploring new questions and uncovering new information. Dr. Silverman’s current project is a transcription of the diaries of the jeweler Henri Vever, whose primary activity took place in turn-of-the-century Paris, where he rubbed elbows with the biggest names in the art, politics, and entertainment spheres. However, one period of Vever’s life that has not yet been brought to light is his service as the mayor of a small town in northern France called Noyers. During that time, Vever’s diaries recount his life as a bureaucrat, an urbanite in the boondocks, and an avid bicyclist.

With the information that I gleaned from Vever’s colorful personal diaries, I reconstructed Vever’s world by creating an online cartographic resource that displayed Vever’s adventures from a geographical standpoint. Furthermore, this resource raised questions about certain areas of Vever’s stomping grounds that were depicted by Impressionist painters in works owned by the affluent jeweler himself. In conclusion, the map paired Vever’s “impressions” of the landscape recorded in his diaries with the Impressionists’ paintings to create larger questions of the nature of perception in written and artistic works.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This project solidified the research habits that I already gained from working on my Honors Thesis and allowed me to learn, on a project basis, how to code literary texts using a language called TEI (Text Encoding Initiative).

"This project gave me even more experience towards those goals and allowed me to gain skills that will be useful in my chosen field."

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I want to become a professor of French and also make a contribution to the growing movement known as the Digital Humanities. This project gave me even more experience towards those goals and allowed me to gain skills that will be useful in my chosen field.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

 

I would recommend summer research to anyone considering going on to M.A. or Ph.D. programs because it gives a great picture of the nature of research, which is, more often than not, a relatively solitary endeavor. I often found myself alone working for days at a time, and I know that working in such a way does not appeal to everyone. Hence, I would only recommend projects like this for students already interested in a serious academic career.

Reva Baylets

Reva Baylets
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Reva Baylets

Paterno Fellow
Major: Comparative Literature (B.A./M.A.), Women’s Studies (B.A.)
Minor: French, English, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Hometown: Spring Mills, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through the global programs website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I stayed on campus and studied at Laval University for five and a half weeks and had three different French teachers for class every morning. This gave students the evenings to work on homework and participate in the events that the animateurs (French-speaking mentors/leaders) organized, such as canoeing or a high ropes course. The set up was good for different types of learners since we had traditional classes, then more informal activities with the animateurs, and then daily conversation with random Québécois for on-the-spot interaction. People were very friendly and the city was absolutely beautiful. Though it was my first Canadian trip, I am ecstatic that I had the opportunity to experience Québec in particular. The ten day music festival was also an experience that I will never forget.

"Studying abroad is the best thing that I could have done for my language skills."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad is the best thing that I could have done for my language skills. I’m usually very shy in my French courses at Penn State because I don’t always have the speaking ability and diction necessary for explaining my complicated thoughts. Going abroad helped me to gain the confidence to say things out loud and not worry so much about saying them incorrectly.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In the future, I want to be a professional educator, either in a university or in a resource center, so I will need to continue to develop my skills for interacting with others. Although French doesn’t have a direct application of use for central Pennsylvania, it is now a better possibility that I could work in places that are more bi-lingual.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I absolutely would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. So many people go to France to study French, but I had such a good experience in Québec that if I was given the chance to do it over again, I would pick Québec over a place in France. My only regret is that the program didn’t last long enough! The locals, as a whole, were very patient and friendly towards us learning the language, and campus was gorgeous.

Juliana Viau

Juliana Viau
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Juliana Viau

Paterno Fellow
Majors: English, French
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Mullica Hill, New Jersey

How did you learn about these opportunities?

I discovered this program through the Global Programs office here at Penn State. My position as a Network Assistant for the Career Enrichment Network was offered to Liberal Arts Envoys, a student group that I am a part of here on campus. The tutoring internship I had with the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps was a requirement for my ENGL202H class.

Tell us a little bit about your experiences.

My study abroad experience impacted me most significantly in an academic sense, being that I am a French major and I studied in Paris. I took four classes with my program which was taught completely in French by all French professors. I took one of my French courses at the Sorbonne, which included all French students and professors.

“This study abroad experience allowed me to learn French in a completely different way than I had previously at Penn State.”

I worked as a Network Assistant at the Career Enrichment Network, mainly focusing on marketing and outreach projects but I also held open office hours for students to come in and find out what services the CEN offers. I helped promote career-related events on campus, internship opportunities, and enrichment funding. My main goal was to figure out ways to encourage Liberal Arts students to take advantage of programs, events, and information sessions that were career- or enrichment-related and to help them understand the breadth of opportunities they have in the College and at Penn State. 

Interning with the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps was certainly an eye-opening experience for me as a student. We tutored adults in a variety of situations – some were ESL learners, others were just now trying to receive their GED, and some were even trying to test for LPN or other basic examinations. This internship made me realize not only how fortunate I am to have such wonderful educational opportunities but also that not everyone learns at the same speed or even at the same time in their life. I also realized that at any moment our physical conditions can be jeopardized and our learning abilities may be taken away or severely changed.

How did these experiences impact you academically?

My study abroad experience impacted me academically in a significant way. In speaking with natives on a daily basis (I was not permitted to speak English to my host family) I acquired a larger vocabulary base and was able to speak more fluidly. I did not realize how much I improved until I returned to Penn State: in my two 400-level classes, I was able to answer questions and understand my professors very easily, which came as a surprise to me.

What are your career goals and plans? How did these experiences impact them?

My career goals range from editorial or publishing to working with an education-related nonprofit or in international relations or possibly even in marketing or communications. I also enjoy working with children and encouraging literacy and language education in that sense, so I may eventually get certified to teach.

“I would recommend interning because it makes you think on your feet and present yourself in a professional manner before you set out in the “real” job world.”

I would also like to use my French major and work in a field, perhaps governmental or cultural, that encourages exchange between France and the United States. I came to the understanding that LA students do not fall under the category of “I’m never going to get a job” but more under one that says “I just need to figure out how I can apply what I know in an interesting way and one that is most appealing to employers.”

Would you recommend these experiences to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend both studying abroad and interning to students of all majors. Both experiences were so enriching, and I cannot imagine having the same college experience without them. While studying abroad, I was exposed to a completely different culture and was faced with problems of what it is like to be an American abroad. Every day was a challenge in some aspect or another, because I could not resort to my first language in times of need. I had to figure everything out in a language I was not fluent in, which taught me a lot about myself and my learning abilities. It also opened my eyes so much to how other countries view the United States and how closed minded one can be without going abroad and seeing these other viewpoints. I think any student would benefit from this kind of learning. With an internship, it is possible to network and also gain strengths as a potential employee within a company.

Charlee M. Redman

Charlee M. Redman
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Charlee M. Redman

Paterno Fellow
Majors: English and French & Francophone Studies
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Twitter: @CharleeMyranda
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/charleeredman

How did you learn about these opportunities?

I learned about the internship at the Penn State Press through my own research. I learned about the study abroad program through my professors and the Education Abroad office.

Tell us a little bit about your experiences.

I recommend that students look for internships. They give you valuable experience in a field or industry, allow you to make contacts for your post-graduation plans, and help you figure out what you want to do for your career. As an acquisitions intern at the Penn State Press, I was able to get involved with publishing, from reading manuscript submissions to working with art and contracts. I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about publishing in a friendly atmosphere where I could take on responsibility and get hands-on, practical experience.

“Studying abroad definitely made me more confident in my academics and my internship helped me to discover what career path I want to take.”

Studying abroad was wonderful because it allowed me to fully immerse myself in the language and culture of France. My language skills improved greatly – more than I think they could have possibly improved even if I stayed in college and took French classes for years. I was able to fulfill a dream of mine to attend the Sorbonne, and I got to travel throughout Europe. Studying abroad forces you to develop a greater degree of independence, self-reliance, and self-discipline than you would normally exercise here in the US. I highly recommend everyone participate in a study abroad program.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did these experiences impact them?

My career plans are to work in either academic or trade publishing. My internship experience directly influenced these plans and has helped me to learn more about how to enter the publishing industry.

Daniele Lewis

Daniele Lewis
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Daniele Lewis

Major: French and Francophone Studies
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Seneca, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience from my educational advisor. She informed me that the program would help me fulfill credits for my major while also giving me a lot of experience that would allow me to progress in my major.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Throughout the program I had the opportunity to travel to different cities in France where I was able to practice my French language and conversational skills. I was able to experience cities in both northern and southern France, allowing me to experience firsthand the regional differences in not only the language but also the culture. Living with a host family and having classes with native French teachers allowed me to gain a better sense of the true way that French people speak. My host mom made traditional French dishes and discussed with me cultural differences between the French and Americans, allowing me to better understand how people of different backgrounds can lead very different lives and have different perspectives.

Because the program and the chance to interact with native French people helped me flourish in my conversational skills, I believe the experience had a direct impact on my abilities needed for my future career goals.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me immensely academically because it allowed me to further progress in my knowledge of the French language. Being in an environment where everyone around me spoke the language helped the language to more easily come to thought, which allowed me to more easily progress in my conversational and speaking skills in the language. I have found that I progressed much more in the language during this program than ever before because of my interactions with native French speakers. Both my host mom and instructors at the university in Besancon taught me a plethora of slang and idiomatic expressions used by the French people on a day to day basis. Since slang and expressions are important in conversation in French just as they are in English, information like this is useful in speaking to real French people and truly an experience I think cannot be learned from a textbook.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My goals and plans for after graduation are centered on my knowledge of the French language and my ability to use the language to properly converse and communicate with other French speakers. Therefore, because the program and the chance to interact with native French people helped me flourish in my conversational skills, I believe the experience had a direct impact on my abilities needed for my future career goals. I hope to work for a business that has ties to France and French speakers and therefore will need to be able to communicate thoughts and ideas effectively with French speakers.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students, especially for French majors. I thought the instructors of the program were very helpful, and the opportunity to stay in an environment of a language you are studying helps you to flourish in the language. Besancon is also a very lovely little town that is very welcoming to foreign students and gives you a true French experience.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Robin Moussa

Robin Moussa
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Robin Moussa

Liberal Arts Major(s): Criminology, Philosophy
Minor: French
Hometown: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience was having the opportunity to form relationships with people from all over the world. I got so close with my French host family during my stay (and we're still in touch!) as well as with other language students from China, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and more. It is amazing to learn a language surrounded by others with whom you can only communicate in your target language and who have entirely different backgrounds and experiences. Despite our differences, we all had so much in common beyond learning French, and the world feels a lot smaller now.

Knowing a second language and having a more global perspective has changed me as a person and is invaluable regardless of the field I pursue

How did this experience impact you academically?

This study abroad experience allowed me to finish my French minor in the best possible way: in France, immersed in the language and culture and forced to challenge myself by living my entire life using my target language. The classes themselves were rigorous and accelerated my improvement in every aspect of understanding and communicating in French. I also had the opportunity to take the DELF exam while I was abroad to work toward a concrete goal and test my French skills against an objective standard. I am still not fluent, but I would feel so much more comfortable and competent talking to a francophone, translating a French document, or sending an email in French now than before my study abroad experience.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

My French minor is not directly related to my career goals in the sense that I will use my language skills in the workplace, but knowing a second language and having a more global perspective has changed me as a person and is invaluable regardless of the field I pursue. I personally plan to continue working in politics after I graduate. I believe that living in another country and learning from and with people from all over the world helps me approach people from all walks of life with an open mind and a sense of solidarity and global community that I did not have before.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Susan Nahvi

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Susan Nahvi

A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Susan graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in French Language and Culture and International Politics. As a student, Susan spent a semester studying at l’Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. She was a foundation relations intern for Plan International USA and she interned for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack. During her time at Penn State, Susan also became an ambassador for Stand for State; she volunteered for Planned Parenthood; and she served as the Treasurer for the Penn State Martial Arts Group.  After graduation, she will work for the Friends Committee on National Legislation where she will be a program assistant for policy on human rights and civil liberties.

Molly O'Brien

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Molly O'Brien

Molly O’Brien has achieved remarkable success as a double major, completing Bachelor of Science degrees in French and Francophone Studies and in Electrical Engineering. In summer 2013, she studied abroad in Besançon. She volunteered extensively during her years at Penn State. Among other things, Molly has tutored calculus and engineering, served as a mentor for the Penn State Women in Engineering Program, and was member of Penn State’s H.E.A.L THON Special Interest Organization. She has received numerous awards. For example, she received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award her junior and senior years, a Lockheed Merit Scholarship, and the Penn State WEP Outstanding Facilitator Award. After receiving her undergraduate degrees, she will enter the Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins, where she will do research on such issues as how to make robotic surgery safer, how to improve tumor detection, and how to make it easier for surgeons to perform difficult procedures.

Welcome Professor Bruno Jean-François!

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Welcome Professor Bruno Jean-François!

Bruno Jean-François was born and raised on the creole island of Mauritius. After receiving his PhD from the University of Mauritius, he came to the United States as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting faculty at UCLA. While his doctoral research explores the ethics and aesthetics of the representation of violence in contemporary texts from culturally diverse Francophone regions, his current interest lies more specifically in transoceanic networks and local identity dynamics in Indian Ocean island histories and cultures.

Welcome Professor Tracy Rutler!

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Welcome Professor Tracy Rutler!

Tracy Rutler comes to us from the University of Minnesota where she completed research on kinship and politics in eighteenth-century France that earned her several fellowships, including a Mellon fellowship and a Fulbright grant.

Education Abroad Student Spotlight: Alena Howe

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Education Abroad Student Spotlight: Alena Howe

French and Francophone Studies major Alena Howe is featured on the Global Penn State website in an article in which she shares her study abroad experiences from Spring Semester 2015.  "While abroad I focused more on being in the moment and immersing myself in my host city’s culture instead of stressing about exams and other academic pressures. During my time abroad, I learned how to better apply what I was learning in class to my personal and professional life. And now that I have returned home, I feel empowered and determined to make the most of my senior year.”  Alena Howe, Art History and French Major Read more about Alena's semester in Paris here.

Julia Kelsey

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Julia Kelsey

Julia Kelsey graduated with an honors B.A. in French Language and Culture and minors in Biology, English, and International Studies. During her junior year at Penn State, Julia studied abroad for a full year in Montpellier, France, where she completed an internship preparing and distributing meals to parents in need and the homeless. During her years at Penn State, Julia volunteered extensively here in State College as well. She has, among other things, served as a tutor of French, helped out at Shaver’s Creek, canned for THON, and volunteered in the children’s activity days at Schlow Library. Julia has received numerous awards. In 2013, she received the Irving L. Foster Memorial Award. Last year, she was a recipient of a Parkinson Petracca Award for Study Abroad. This year, she received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award and will also soon be receiving the FFS Award for Excellence in French Composition. After graduation, Julia is taking some time off to travel and do volunteer work before either attending graduate school or pursuing a career involving writing in French, English or both. 

Leah Pappas

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Leah Pappas

Leah is the daughter of Jim and Claire Pappas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Scholar, she is graduating with degrees in Linguistics, through the Bachelor of Philosophy program, and French and Francophone Studies with a minor in Spanish. Leah studied abroad in Montpellier, France, while completing an internship as a teaching assistant at a French elementary school. She also served as a French tutor for the Penn State Learning Center. She has worked in linguistics labs on campus for six semesters in the past four years, and through this work, she became the recipient of an NSF-PIRE fellowship to do research in Berlin, Germany. After graduation, she plans to teach English abroad before beginning graduate studies.

FFS minor Maria Cosma serves as Student Ambassador at World Expo in Milan

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FFS minor Maria Cosma serves as Student Ambassador at World Expo in Milan

French and Francophone Studies minor Maria Cosma describes the once-in-a-lifetime experience of serving as a Student Ambassador at the World Expo in Milan:
"I spent the summer of 2015 working as a student ambassador at the USA Pavilion at the World Expo in Milan, Italy. The expo theme was "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life," and it brought together 145 countries to discuss issues of food security and food culture. I was part of 120 student ambassadors, collectively speaking 28 different languages, who represented the United States. Together, we interacted with over 20,000 international visitors per day and facilitated discussions about America's role as a major food producer. One of the most rewarding aspects of this job was describing the technology behind the football field-sized vertical farm which formed the right wall of the pavilion. Another highlight was meeting Michelle Obama and the presidential delegation who visited the pavilion on June 18th. We had the pleasure of giving the First Lady a tour of the pavilion and hosting a Q&A session about her efforts in combating childhood obesity and malnutrition."