University of Southern Indiana
Students in the Miller Language Lab

Student Spotlights

The students and alumni of World Languages and Cultures Department enjoy so many great experiences during their time with USI and after they graduate. Our Student Spotlight page showcases some of those students and their stories. If you would like to be featured on our page, please reach out to Dr. Jessica Jensen, associate professor of French (812-465-1292 or jgjensen@usi.edu)

Current Students WLC Alumni


USI French Teaching Major Recipient of Prestigious National Scholarship for Study Abroad

Mercy Fulton

USI French Teaching Major Mercy Fulton has been awarded the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Walter Jensen Scholarship for Study Abroad. 

Each year, the AATF selects one recipient nationwide for this award which provides $2,000 to support a future French teacher's study abroad. Mercy plans to study in France in Spring 2020. Félicitations, Mercy!

For more information about the Walter Jensen Scholarship: https://www.frenchteachers.org/hq/scholarshipjensen.htm


World Languages and Cultures Alumni

Taylor McCoy

Taylor McCoy graduated from USI in 2017 with a degree in anthropology and a minor in arts and heritage administration, also with taking extra classes in Spanish and human resources. During her time at USI she participated in Gamma Phi Beta, interned at Cultural Resource Analyst, INC., and volunteered for the Boys Scouts of America along with other organizations. Taylor is currently working on an MA in Archaeology at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM. He master’s thesis project is titled A Geospatial Analysis of Blackwater Draw Locality 1 Archaeology. In addition, Taylor has worked as a Graduate Assistant at ENMU, at the ENMU Agency for Conservation Archaeology, and at the Blackwater Draw Site. She has also volunteered at Blackwater Draw museum.


Paige McClellan

I am originally from the west side of Evansville. I graduated from Reitz High School in 2014 and decided to continue my education at the University of Southern Indiana. I knew I wanted to be an accounting major, and after having a great experience taking German classes at Reitz, I was also interested in perhaps completing a German minor.

 I met Dr. Rode on campus during my orientation and we had a brief conversation. I left our conversation hooked on German, but especially hooked on Dr. Rode. I ended up being a German major, in addition to an accounting major. I am so glad I made that decision because it allowed me to take courses in both the College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts. You might not think that these two majors go together, but actually they shaped me into a well-rounded person and opened my eyes to new ideas and mentalities. Plus, being able to study abroad for a month in Germany and France didn’t hurt.

I graduated from USI with what ended up being two separate degrees (one German, one accounting) in April of 2018. I am currently a tax associate at BKD, a public accounting firm, in their Evansville office. I have passed my Certified Public Accounting exam and will be officially a CPA very soon.

My education at USI and the connections I made there have proved to be invaluable to both my career and my personal development. I am forever grateful that I met Dr. Rode that day and chose to continue my education at USI.


Keegan Roembke

I am a German Studies, International Studies, and Economics major graduating this Spring 2019. German has been the catalyst for some life-changing experiences that I never thought would happen coming into USI. I studied in Graz, Austria, in the Spring of 2018, taking courses in German. Here, I also researched and wrote a thesis on Austria’s post-World War II history of migration. I plan to study in Leipzig, Germany, for my Master’s in Global Studies, and find a career in journalism.


Kristin Gates

Kristin Gates, Alumni

German and International Studies major, Class of 2010, Kristin Gates moved to New York after graduation for an internship with a German PR & marketing agency, where she was able to apply and enhance her German skills daily. After a business trip out west left her hooked, she relocated in 2016 to Montana to work in marketing for the Montana Office of Tourism. She was recently accepted into a masters program in history at the University of Montana and hopes to pursue the next chapter of her career in public history. 


Jourdan Seib

Jourdan Seib

I am a 2018 graduate of the German program, receiving my B.A. in German as well as a B.S. in Sport Management. I am currently working on my M.S. in Athletic Administration at Indiana University - Bloomington and I will be furthering my education with pursuing a Ph.D. this fall. My research interests lie in the sociological impact of commercialization on sport. While at the University of Southern Indiana, I was able to work with two amazing faculty members in Dr. Silvia Rode and Dr. Bartell Berg. If you are looking for faculty who truly care about the experiences of their students while also receiving a meaningful and first-class education, picking USI's foreign language department is a choice that will ready you for a global market that is only continuing to diversify. The faculty provided students like myself with the tools and education that prepared me for the real world. Most importantly, they allowed for me to have a well-rounded experience that has enabled me to communicate with cultures different than my own, which is the goal of any foreign language learner. My experiences of learning about different cultures and how they interact with one another while in the German program, at University of Southern Indiana, helped mold my future research interests and put me where I am today. Vielen Dank Dr. Rode und Dr. Berg! 


Ashlynne Bender

Ashlynne Bender, alumni

German Studies major, and Sociology minor, class of 2017, Ashlynne Bender, used her skills for understanding people to work in Human Resources in Talent Acquisition for a Fortune 500 company upon graduating. After a year of loving her work, she took her passion for German, and new passion for talent, and moved to Leipzig, Germany, to begin a 1 year training program for the German American Chamber of Commerce California, where she worked as a Senior Program Coordinator, connecting international students to internship opportunities in the United States. After the completion of her training program, Ashlynne began her position as Assistant Director of Student Placement for Indiana University's Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, where she prepares students studying languages, international studies, etc., for their professional careers around the world. Ashlynne is excited to continue to help students understand the importance and versatility of language and international studies skills, and how these skills contribute value to various jobs and careers.


Christi Atherton

Christi Atherton

French Studies and English major, Class of 2014, Christi Atherton chose to continue her education in USI’s Master of Arts in English program. However, she was able to tailor the program to her interests in French by focusing on French literature in many of her class projects. Her knowledge of French was especially crucial when an opportunity arose to study a set of French correspondence held untranslated for many years in USI’s Rice Library. These letters, which had been donated by Evansville native and WWII veteran Kenneth McCutchan, led Christi to develop an independent study class to translate the letters and read French and English literature associated with the letters and time period. She chose to pursue this project for her graduate thesis work, which focused on the French correspondents and their experiences, successfully completing her Masters in 2018. Christi is now expanding her research on the project—research which may include a trip to France!—and hopes to publish her work in the future.


Lance Grubb

Lance Grubb teaching

French Studies Teaching major and MASPC masters graduate, Lance Grubb, Class of 2015, is currently teaching French at Westfield High School in Westfield, Indiana. He leads the Globalizing the Classroom PLC which focuses on increasing culture in the classroom and directed the first ever "Global Fair: Passport to the World" event at WHS to promote the diversity of the student population through food, music, and dance. When he isn't teaching, he also is the staff sponsor of WHS French Club, which focuses on developing students’ communication skills and cultural understanding outside of the classroom. This student-led organization has more than doubled in size since his start in 2017. As if teaching full-time, leading a PLC, and sponsoring French Club wasn't enough, he is also the new Co-Director for the WHS Theatre Department, which is performing Les Misérables, High School Edition this spring. Lance says that he uses what he learned from his years at USI to increase the intercultural competence of his students while making language learning a fun and exciting experience for all. Through participating in this diverse Master’s program, he feels that he was able to tailor his degree to meet his future goals while experiencing the wide variety of classes that USI has to offer. His advice to students thinking about the Master’s program is to go for it because the program offers you a unique experience to broaden and enrich your future. 


Emily Smith

Emily Smith in London

Emily Smith in Los Angeles

French Studies and International Studies major, Emily Smith, Class of 2017, is currently working at OSK Marketing’s New York City branch. She began working here through an internship she learned about from the World Languages and Cultures Department, which then developed into a full-time position. She has had the opportunity to put the international exposure and competence she gained USI (in her coursework and while studying abroad for a semester in France) to great use! Pictured here in Los Angeles and London, Emily enjoys the opportunities this position affords her to see and more fully experience the world.


Rachel E. S. Porteous

Rachel E. S. Porteous

French Studies and History major, Rachael E. S. Porteous (née Schumm), Class of 2016, is currently pursuing her PhD in Scottish Renaissance History at the University of Glasgow. She continues to use her French skills as she conducts research for her dissertation on “The continuity of playing through the reigns of James IV, James V, and Mary Queen of Scots." Rachael received her Masters in 2017 and was excited to teach a course entitled “Scotland in the Millennium” last semester.


Tharushi Wattewewa

Tharushi Wattewewa

French Studies and International Studies major, Tharushi Wattewewa, Class of 2018, is currently teaching French at the Midtown International School in Atlanta, GA. Midtown International School is a school for not just gifted learners but everyone who is impatient to learn. Tharushi reports that her students love playing games, doing presentations, and reading. She continues to learn new words in French and is happy to grow as a teacher every day.


Natalie Kobe

French Studies Teaching major, Natalie Kobe, Class of 2017, is currently teaching French at the Signature School in Evansville, IN.


Tiguidanke Diakaby

French Studies and International Studies major, Tiguidanke Diakaby, Class of 2015, was recently accepted into the Masters in International Education program at NYU. She also volunteered in the Peace Corps (in Tibati, Cameroon) for 2 years.


Lauren Prazeau

Lauren Prazeau, French Teaching Major, Class of 2016, has been teaching French at the Cap Cana Heritage School in the Dominican Republic since 2017. Lauren has benefited from a wide variety of international experiences. As a student at USI, she studied abroad in France for a semester and served as a paid international engagement intern teaching English in Rabat (Morocco). After graduation, she taught for a semester as a middle and high school French student teacher at the International School of Panama before joining Cap Cana Heritage School. Lauren plans on returning to the US to teach French in the near future.


Jackie Jarocki

Jackie Jarocki

Jackie Jarocki, Class of 2018, graduated with degrees in Anthropology and International Studies and a minor in German. During her time at USI she studied abroad and worked closely with the international office. Jackie is currently working on a graduate degree in History and Heritage at Aberystwyth University in Aberystwyth, Wales, UK. Jackie is also working on a student-led heritage relief programme with the Welsh government.


Jessica N. Keller

Jessica Keller

Jessica N. Keller, Class of 2017, graduated with degrees in Anthropology and International Studies and minors in Spanish, Psychology, and Gender Studies. While studying at USI, she worked as the Spiritual Diversity Project Intern and as a Student Research Assistant for the Sociology department. Jessica also spent a summer serving in Costa Rica as a Global Engagement Intern.  She is currently completing a master’s degree in Applied Anthropology at the University of North Texas. 


Current Students

Will Haas & Abigail Loya

Will and Abigail

Will Haas, class of 2019, is double majoring in French Studies and Psychology. Abigail Loya, class of 2021, is triple majoring in French Studies, Anthropology, and International Studies. Both Will and Abby received the highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to help support their semesters studying abroad in France while at USI. Will spent a semester in Besançon, France, and Abby is currently in Caen, France. Will was recently accepted into a Master’s program at Swansea University in Wales to continue his study of Psychology, and Abby is enjoying her international exposure and adventure this semester. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!

Abby and Will in Europe

Abby at the Louvre

Will at a cathedral


Lily Casavant

Lily Casavant as Belle

Lily Casavant, a German minor, used German for her internship at Disney World in Florida.


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