German Alumni Profiles
They came, they saw, they succeeded. Take a look at what some of our German Studies alumni have accomplished – and be inspired by their stories.
Joshua graduated from NC State with majors in German Studies and English - Creative Writing. While at NC State, he was awarded the Julia Wood Skinner Scholarship for outstanding students in foreign languages. Joshua used his B2 proficiency level in German to create a short capstone project translating some of the poetry of forgotten German American writer Theodor Kirchhoff, a project he hopes to expand upon while studying at NCSU as an MFA candidate in poetry. After completing graduate school, Joshua hopes to return to Germany and complete the study abroad experience from which he was evacuated at the onset of COVID.
Mackenzie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies and International Studies. During her time at NC State, she served as a College of Humanities and Social Sciences Ambassador, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Julia Wood Skinner Award for German Studies. In 2019, Mackenzie spent a semester abroad at the University of Freiburg, where she strengthened her knowledge of German language and culture. Upon returning to Raleigh, she put these skills to use during internships with NC State’s Global Training Initiative and RTI International. After graduation, Mackenzie will spend a year in Austria through the US Teaching Assistantship Program. She hopes to pursue a career in international relations.
Hanqing Li comes from Chongqing, China, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in German Studies. When studying English in 2015, Hanqing felt interest in foreign languages and cultures, so after coming to the University of North Carolina in the United States, he began to learn German while studying English. During his studies at NCSU, he attended a summer camp in Vienna. After graduation, Hanqing is going to study data science in the UK, and hopes to become a data scientist in a Chinese-German joint venture in the future.
Quinton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies and Communication Media. Quinton had taken German since middle school, and through the help of professors in the German Studies program and his study abroad experience at the University of Heidelberg in 2019, he reached the C1 level of proficiency and received an Outstanding German Studies Major Award in 2020. Upon graduating, Quinton became a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals fellow as part of their virtual program for their 37th cohort during the Coronavirus pandemic. He hopes to move onto CBYX for Young Professionals' in-person program, which offers classes and an internship in Germany, when they hold it again in 2021, with the long-term goal of moving to Germany and working in the European film industry.
Originally from Moldova, Cristina emigrated to the United States, where she continued her studies first at a community college, and then transferred to NC State, pursuing a double major in German Studies and History. She started learning German in college because she believes in the power of languages as mediators between cultures and people, and as tools of understanding the past, hoping to shape a better future. Cristina is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta. In 2018, she was awarded the Julia Wood Skinner Scholarship Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Study of German, which she used toward her study abroad semester in Heidelberg, Germany. While in Heidelberg, Cristina received her C1.2 DSH German Language Certificate from Heidelberg University. At NC State, Cristina had the opportunity to work as a research assistant in the Archeology Laboratory of Prof. S. Thomas Parker, where her German skills proved useful on different occasions in the research process. Cristina hopes to continue her history studies, and be accepted in a Master Degree program; until then she will keep improving her German skills.
David graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies. Since middle school he has had an interest in learning languages, taking on Spanish for 6 years while slowly improving his Korean at home. Coming into college he took on a new challenge to study German and had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Germany at the University of Mannheim. After graduating, David hopes to pursue a professional career in a Germany company.
Maria grew up speaking Gaelic, German, and English. She attended a German immersion school from kindergarten until high school and attended exchange programs to Germany in the fifth and seventh grade. In Middle and High School, Maria continued to learn German and began taking classes in Chinese and Spanish. Once in university, she double majored in Mechanical Engineering and German Studies. At age 19 Maria decided to study abroad in Germany. She independently applied to the Technical University of Berlin where she went on to study mechanical engineering. Before studying in Berlin Maria found work in Düsseldorf, Germany and spent three months with an engineering firm. After Graduation Maria enrolled in a Masters program at NC State. During the program, she spent another 5 months in Munich, Germany working for one of the leading arthroscopy companies in the world, Arthrex. Maria was offered a job with the company and is still deciding if she wants to pursue a career in orthopedics or if she will go on to study for a PhD with a focus in oncology.
Adam needed a foreign language for his major in creative writing and since he has German ancestry and was interested in his cultural heritage he chose German. After an NC State study abroad trip to Vienna, Austria for a month in the summer of 2014, he decided to make German Studies his second major. He spent four months in Münsterland, Germany in 2015 where he served as a private English house tutor to a German family and six months at the University of Stuttgart, which prepared him for receiving the C2 German proficiency qualification at a Goethe Institute in Germany, a goal he had strived after for a while. Adam also received the Outstanding German Studies Major Award in 2015 and the Julia Skinner Award in 2016. He served as secretary to Delta Phi Alpha, the German honor society, for a year and is still an active member. Other than German, Adam enjoys writing (especially science fiction and fantasy literature), basically all forms of media, spending time with friends and family, sometimes going camping (he received his Eagle Scout in 2012), and exploring other cultures and languages; he is planning on beginning to learn another language in 2017. Adam is currently working at the CHICLE Language Institute in Chapel Hill, where he teaches German. He is planning on pursuing his Master’s in Translation Studies in 2017 in either Austria or Germany.
Madeline started learning German in the second grade when she lived in Australia. Upon arriving back in the United States, she started learning German again in High School. While in High School she was accepted into Governor's Foreign Language Academy where she spent three weeks practicing her German and it was here that she received her A2 certificate from the Goethe Institute. Madeline ended up double majoring in German and International Studies and was a member of the NC State Rifle team and Delta Phi Alpha and graduated Summa Cum Laude honors. For her experience abroad, Madeline did an internship with the Carl Duisberg Center, a German language school, in Radolfszell, Germany. She was also the first recipient of the “Wilhelm Tell” award for German Studies for her enthusiasm and excellence in both German and Riflery. Madeline is still trying to decide if she wants to teach German or pursue a government job focusing on international conflict management.
Dual citizenship from the USA and Germany was what originally drew Sascha Eisenstein to the study of German, having spent most of his childhood summers in Bavaria. Sascha graduated Summa Cum Laude from NCSU with a double major in German Studies and General Psychology. He was a member of both Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honor society, and Psi Chi, the international Psychology honor society. He also studied abroad at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg im Breisgau in 2011. Sascha was awarded a departmental honor for German, as well as the Julia Wood Skinner Scholarship Award for Excellence in German. Academics aside, Sascha enjoys jazz music, having played guitar in the NCSU Jazz Ensemble. He also enjoys playing and watching soccer and is a fan of FC Bayern München. Currently, Sascha works as a Data Monitor/Language Specialist at NeuroCog Trials, Inc. in Durham, NC, where he is excited to be using his experience in both German and Psychology to monitor data from a site in Basel, Switzerland. In the future, Sascha is hoping tobe accepted to a Ph.D. program in Evolutionary Psychology, through which he would explore the human condition in collaboration with researchers around the world.
Originally from Colombia, Jimmy lived most of his youth in different European countries (Spain, Belgium and Portugal) before moving to the United States in 2006. He speaks five languages (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and of course German). Jimmy Schiemann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies, International Economics concentration, and an additional Minor in Economics. He is also a member of Delta Phi Alpha, the German Honorary Society, and spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. While at North Carolina State University, Jimmy was very involved in different student organizations, serving on the executive board of Mi Familia, the Latino Student organization, and participating in the Society for Politics, Economics and the Law (SPEL). He was also active in athletics, participating in and winning the 2011 Intramural Soccer Tournament. After graduation, Jimmy will start working on his Master's Degree in Economics at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, with the goal of a career in Financial Management.
Growing up in a bilingual home in Morganton, NC, Erika began her love of the German language and culture at an early age. All through childhood, she spent most summers traveling through Europe with her Dad in the German American Partnership program (or GAPP), first as an exchange participant, and later taking on a leadership role. After graduation, she will work as an intern this summer in Bonn, Germany for the GAPP program before entering her postgraduate work in EU Integration Studies at the University of Bonn. When Erika entered NC State, she enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of cultural events as a member of the Scholar’s program. She developed an interest in ballroom dancing, mountain biking and photography. Then, in her sophomore year she was invited to serve both as a CHASS Ambassador and an International Delegations Ambassador on campus, and this past year has served as German Honor’s Society president. One of the highlights of her two semesters of study abroad in Frankfurt an der Oder was being involved in a model UN. Her academic achievements include the honor of Magna Cum Laude and the Julia Skinner Scholarship award for excellence in German. She credits her success in attaining a double major in International Relations and German Languages and Literature as well as a minor in Russian Studies to her mentors and advisors, especially Dr. Helga Braunbeck, Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies. Erika aspires to a career in a political institution within the European Union where she can contribute to Germany’s role on the world stage through diplomatic cooperation.
Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education. She is a member of the German Honorary Society, Delta Phi Alpha and also the Agricultural Honors Fraternity, Alpha Tau Alpha. She completed her study abroad requirement in the Spring of 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany, where she attended Uni Stuttgart and Uni Hohenheim. Emily plans to teach Agriculture and (hopefully) German at a high school for the next few years and then return to NC State for a Master's program and/or Veterinary School.
Philip Kojo Wotortsi
Philip graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies, with a concentration in Science and Technology as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Philip is interested in German Engineering and completed an internship with Alcan Aluminium Presswerk Pfalz GmbH in Landau in der Pfalz from May 2010 to August 2010. As a fan of German engineering, Philip enjoys learning about the technological feats and features in the German automotive industry. During his undergraduate studies, he completed a full year cooperative education with BMW Manufacturing in South Carolina, where he received his Zertifikat Deutsch B1 from the Goethe Institute, and later his Zertifikat Deutsch B2 certification in Munich, Germany from the Carl Duisberg Center. Philip graduated with his license and title as an Engineer in Training and aspires to obtain his Professional Engineering license. After graduating, Philip will begin his graduate studies in Master of Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering at NC State. He is currently employed by Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. as a Solutions Implementation Planning intern. He looks forward to the completion of his masters program when he hopes to continue his professional career with a German company.
Aaron Vander Bee
Aaron graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies and a minor concentration in Art and Design. He is a member of the German Honors Society, Delta Phi Alpha and was named Outstanding Junior in German Studies as well as Outstanding Senior in German Studies in 2010 and 2011. In spring of 2010 Aaron was able to study for a semester at the University of Stuttgart where he studied German language, culture, and history. Since graduating he has begun studying Industrial Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg. He plans to work in the field of product design after completion of studies in Regensburg and perhaps one day establish his own design firm.
Lisa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies and a minor in International Studies in December 2010. During her childhood, her family moved near the Canal Zone in Panama. While there, she fell in love with discovering other cultures. Furthermore, she took away a bigger message, in that learning another’s language plays a vital key in transcending cultural barriers. She first started her educational journey at UNCW in 2006. However, after taking a distance German course, it prompted her to transfer to NC State and to switch majors to German Studies. NC State’s rigorous academic expectations and wide selection of German classes enabled Lisa the chance to sharpen her German language skills. She enjoyed reading influential literature by Goethe and Kafka in the German language and in the Spring of 2010 she attended the University of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany. She was inducted into Delta Phi Alpha of Spring 2009. She is currently enrolled in WCU’s Communication and Sciences Disorders master program to become a Speech Language Pathologist.
Laura Andrews: German Boots Will Carry Her Far
In her final interview for the prestigious “Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals” (CBYX) work-study scholarship, our German Studies major Laura Andrews was asked, “If you could only bring one thing with you to Germany, that is representative of who you are, what would it be and why?” Laura had to think hard about this question, but not for long. She looked down at her feet and answered, “My boots.” – “Boots?” they laughed, “Why your boots?” Laura explained, “When I first arrived in Munich last January for my internship with a dentist, the city was covered in snow and the weather was bitter-cold to say the least. Being from North Carolina, I’d never experienced a winter like that before. During the first couple of weeks, I was confined to the indoors to keep myself and my feet warm and dry. I then decided to go out and purchase a pair of great boots and from that point on I was able to venture outside, despite the cold weather, to explore the city, go hiking in the Bavarian countryside, and make wonderful lifelong friends. Those boots are symbolic for what helped to ‘kick off’ my amazing experience in Munich.” The interviewers apparently liked this answer as well as Laura’s other answers: in the most competitive year in the program’s history (with about 650 applicants) she received one of the 75 scholarships for a full year of language training, semester study at a German university and an internship. Laura, a double major in the Pre-Dental curriculum, is the second German Studies major at NC State to win this prestigious award. She follows in the footsteps of William Buescher, who double majored in German Studies and in mechanical engineering and completed his CBYX year in 2008-09 after his graduation from both degrees in May 2008 (William has returned to NC State for a graduate degree in mechanical engineering). Laura will graduate this May and then head to Germany in July for the duration of the 2010-11 year. She is helping to establish a new tradition for NC State German Studies Majors, who will hopefully receive many more CBYX awards in the future!
Petr graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies, with a concentration in Science and Technology, and a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture as a member of the NC State University Honors Program and Delta Phi Alpha, National German Honor Society. His interest in studying German began in the tenth grade, when he moved to Dresden, Germany and was forced to learn German against his will, while attending the Sportgymnasium Dresden. However, the language grew on him and after deciding to major in German Studies at NCSU, Petr was awarded the DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship, the Baden-Württemberg Scholarship, and a University Honors Program Scholarship and decided to study abroad in Stuttgart for one year, while accepting an internship position at Willwersch Architekten. During his final year as an undergraduate at NCSU, Petr was awarded the Julia Wood Skinner Scholarship Award, which he plans on using toward his future studies. Upon graduating, Petr will again be working for Willwersch Architekten and plans on completing a professional degree in architecture both in the United States and European Union.
John “Jay” Coman
Jay graduated with degrees in German Studies and History education in 2009. He studied abroad through the UNC exchange program in 2006 at the University of Mannheim and also attended summer school in Vienna in 2008. While at NC State he was a three time letter winner for the wrestling team and a member of the 2007 ACC champion squad. He is a member of the Delta Phi Alpha honor society and graduated Summa Cum Laude honors. After graduation he spent two years as a high school history teacher and wrestling coach in Durham, North Carolina. He currently coaches wrestling with the Cardiac Kids youth club located out of Hillsboro and is planning on attending graduate school for German History in the Fall of 2012.
Nikki graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies (Science and Technology concentration). She was a member of the NC State University Scholars Program, the College of Agriculture and Life Science Honors Program, graduated summa cum laude, and is a member of the German Honor Society, Delta Phi Alpha. German is very important to her because of her family ties to the country and she will not go long without returning to Germany. She studied abroad for a semester in Stuttgart, Germany where she was excited to follow in her uncle's footsteps attending Uni Stuttgart. During her time in Germany she completed two internships, alongside her studies, with equine and dairy veterinarians. She is accepted into North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2013, where she will continue her education in order to become a Large Animal Veterinarian.
During her first four years at NC State University, Jennifer completed a degree in Biomedical Engineering as a Caldwell Scholar. In her fifth year she added a degree in German Studies with a Science and Technology concentration and a minor in Coaching Education and Fitness Leadership as a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. She was a valedictorian for both degrees and was also a distance runner on NC State's Cross Country and Track teams. She enjoyed competing for her university for these five years. To pass on her love of the sport, she also helped coach a local high school's running programs. Immediately after leaving NC State, Jennifer will conduct summer research in Mechanical Engineering at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (University of Aachen) in Germany. She is very excited about this opportunity to combine her majors while immersing herself in German culture. She also looks forward to authentic, live performances of music written by German composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. In October 2008, she will begin her D.Phil. in Engineering Science (Orthopaedic Engineering) at the University of Oxford, Great Britain. A Rhodes Scholarship Finalist in 2007, she was awarded the prestigious Clarendon Award as well as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to finance her advanced degree. Her future plans include becoming a Biomechanics professor and researching lower extremity injury rehabilitation and prevention.
William graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies, with a concentration in Science and Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He also completed a minor in History. William is interested in German language, culture, and history, and completed his study abroad requirement in Heidelberg from September 2006 – April 2007. In the realm of engineering, William likes aerospace systems, spaceship and satellite design, and astronomical instruments. After graduating, William will participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. This is a yearlong program with an emphasis on cultural exchange, including a two month language course, a semester of study at a university or technical school, and a five month internship with a company in his professional field. William is graduating with honors (Magna Cum Laude) and was awarded the Julia Wood Skinner scholarship award for his study of German. He also received recognition for his study of the works of Kafka and Mann in his German Senior Seminar, as well as an award for being a “Study Abroad Poster Child.” He was also recently inducted into the German Honor Society, Delta Phi Alpha. William ultimately hopes to use both his skills in engineering and German during his professional career.
During her time at NC State University, Jordan majored in Religious Studies, History and finally German Studies. She pursued studying German because she felt that learning the language and the culture would greatly enrich her life - which it did. Because of her studies she had many opportunities that she would not have had otherwise, such as her experience studying abroad in Germany during Soccer World Cup 2006! Jordan is a member of Delta Phi Alpha (German Honor Society), the German Club, the History Club and the Religious Studies Club. She graduated cum laude from NC State. Her future plans are to continue her education and, if possible, explore further opportunities abroad. She hopes to study in Germany again and continue to advance her language skills even more. She is pursuing scholarship opportunities, such as the Fulbright, to achieve these goals. While in college, Jordan was substitute teaching in kindergarten through high school. She hopes to teach in the future and will continue substituting until she receives a permanent position. Besides educational goals and desires, she has aspirations to start a family (and encourage them all to learn German) and will be getting married in October 2008.