Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
Home > Degree Programs > German > Graduate Studies > Graduate Students

bowen.jpgKim Bowen


A longtime alum of Michigan State (BA in German, MA in Education), Kim taught for more than thirty years in Jackson public schools. Following his retirement, he accepted a position as Chair of the Department of World Languages at Spring Arbor University, where he is heavily involved in study abroad initiatives and revamping the language curriculum overall. As an MA student in the German Studies program at MSU, he is seeking to bolster his language skills and bring new ideas in both pedagogy and cultural studies to his day job.


4e0c14c8a609b5e5c7aed1fbb94674a7_f576.jpgMelissa Elliot


Melissa is a Ph.D. student in German Studies. She obtained a B.A. with a double major in Vocal Performance and German in 2008 from Calvin College. In 2011, she received her M.A. in German Studies from Wayne State University in Detroit. During her Master’s program, she spent one year studying abroad at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, which she considers one of the best years of her life. Her research interests include the role of music in German literature and film, Holocaust studies, gender studies and religion. In her free time, Melissa enjoys singing in the Calvin Alumni Choir, cooking, hiking, and traveling anywhere and everywhere.

Ryan Galer


Ryan is in his second year of the MA program in German Studies. His interests include the intersection of cultural studies and economics, and he is currently developing a project looking at the cultural effects of unemployment benefits. He is also interested in Digital Humanities approaches to the analysis of literary texts.


b992d69d3f07fcd67f6730e60ac40460_f475.jpgJennifer Gohlke-Wickey


Jennifer is one of our Master's students in the German Studies program. She obtained a B.A. with a double major in philosophy and German literature at the University of Paderborn, Germany. In 2013 she spent an academic year at Western Michigan University, where she taught German and took courses in their M.A. program in Philosophy. During that time she got to know and fell in love with Michigan, the American way of life, and the American people. Currently she is enjoying working as a teaching assistant and also as a volunteer for various classes of German. At the same time, she is writing her M.A. thesis on the changing nature, function, perception, and reception of Holocaust survivor testimony over time.

More information about Jennifer can be found here: jennifergohlke.com


a3b165716b65373aa3b4d690d49d52f1_f373.jpgSusan Hojnacki


Susan lives and works in Grand Rapids, MI, but spends her academic life at MSU. She entered the Ph.D. program in German at MSU in Jan. 2010. In 1992 she earned a B.A. in German and English/Creative Writing at Indiana University, spending one year studying at Hamburg University. Over the next ten years she taught high school German and English including a year at the Gesamtschule Duisburg-Süd on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. In the fall of 2009 she began teaching as an Adjunct Professor of German at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and has continued in this position since entering the Ph.D. program at MSU. Her research interests include the role of technology in second language acquisition, the effect of oral output on learner proficiency in second language learning, the influence of linguistic tendencies on online speech in German, and curriculum development in modern language programs. In 2010 she received the Max-Kade Fellowship at MSU to further her research agenda and completed a pilot study on online oral production in intermediate learners of German. She has presented on her research at the Michigan World Language Association, The Sloan Consortium for Online Learning, CALICO, and ACTFL. She is currently working on a dissertation looking at the effects of the flipped classroom on second language acquisition.


01f81fb6bfda4d81570108e3f0f9820d_f479.jpgCarly Lesoski


Carly Lesoski is in her third year of the PhD program. She completed her undergraduate studies in German at Michigan State in 2014 and spent her senior year in Freiburg as part of the Academic Year in Freiburg study abroad program. She is currently enjoying her positions as a Teaching Assistant for GRM 101 and Lead Instructor for German for Teens as part of CeLTA. Her research interests include second language acquisition, study abroad concerns, second language instruction and the German education system.


Kristin Nahorodny


Kristin is currently a second-year MA student. With an undergraduate degree in Slavic Studies from the University of Jena, and work experience in the international studies office at Kettering University, she comes to MSU with a passion for intercultural communication and education, particularly in the context of refugee populations in Germany.


d69ed72d9f70f6a738cce32bafa3b274_f371.jpgAnne Von Petersdorff-Campen


Anne von Petersdorff is a PhD student in German Studies with a focus on film and Digital Humanities. She completed her Bachelor in International Tourism and Leisure with a specialization in Strategic Business Management (NHVT Breda, Netherlands and Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium) and a Master in Culture-Language-Media (University of Flensburg, Germany). During her Bachelor and Master she also studied in Mexico and Cuba. Between her bachelor's and master's degrees, she worked as a production assistant and line producer on TV commercials, short films and film production. During her MA Program she worked as a freelance videographer producing videos for institutions, NGOs and companies. Her research interests include human mobility, migration, tourism and travel, German settlements in Central and Latin America, the representation of human mobility and the use of technology. Her hybrid dissertation project (working title: "Body, Voice and Collaboration: Re-Framing the Woman Traveler in Autobiographical Film and Filmmaking") integrates a feature-length, collaborative documentary film with theoretical and historical treatment of German feminist filmmaking.


034b13a42160bd54694f4b3ff1d09273_f477.jpgKrsna Santos


Krsna completed his undergraduate studies in German and English at Wayne State University in 2011. He also spent year abroad at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich while earning his bachelor’s degree. Being of a multinational background himself, both Brazilian and American, he is interested in transnational identity and immigrant communities in the German-speaking world. He recently completed his MA degree with a thesis entitled: "From Ghetto to Goethe: German Rappers of Color Claiming Their Space in the Nation."  He is currently in his first year in the PhD program at MSU, and taking additional coursework in Museum Studies.

Recent PhD Graduates

Magelone Bollen (2013) is Research Associate at MSU (Diss.: "„Urtheil und ein schönes Lied”: Das Armesünderblatt (1750-1820)").

After completing a two-year pre-/post-doc at Transylvania University, Stephen Naumann (2012) is Assistant Professor at Hillsdale College (Diss.: "In Sight but out of Mind: The Construction of Memory at Three Once Stigmatized Sites in Berlin and Poznan").

Theresa Schenker (2012) is Senior Lector and Language Program Director of German at Yale University (Diss.: "The Effects of a Virtual Exchange on Language Skills and Intercultural Competence").

Matt Sikarskie (2014) has taught at Western Michigan University and is currently adjunct faculty at MSU (Diss.: "Bored With Boredom: Engaging Modernity in Wilhelmine Wandervogel and West German Punk Subcultures").

Recent MA Graduates

Several of our recent MA students, including Kathryn Roche (2015), Adam Orange (2014), Scott Casey (2013), and Emily Thomas (2012), are teaching in a variety of school settings; others are pursuing advanced degrees at other institutions: Kate Schaller (2015) is currently pursuing a PhD in German Studies at Vanderbilt University; Matt Sherman (2011) is matriculated in the German PhD program at the University of Texas, Austin; Chad Bousley (2016) is pursuing an MA in TESOL at Michigan State; Dan Walter (2011) recently completed a PhD in Second Language Acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University and is currently teaching at Emory University's Oxford College.

Yet others are employed in non-teaching positions in institutions of higher ed: Kelsey Fedewa (2014) is International Student Coordinator in the Office of International Programs at Kettering University; Kathryn Klimczak (2013) is Administrative Coordinator at Fraunhofer USA at Michigan State University. Kylia Kelley (2011) works as a translator for the auto industry in the Greater Detroit area. Following a stint as manager of Moosejaw Mountaineering in Boulder, CO, where she enjoyed serving many German tourist clients, Hanna O'Neill (2013) currently works as a buyer for Moosejaw at the corporate level in Madison Heights, MI.