Modern Language Events: In the News

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In the News 2013

In the News 2014

FALL 2016

German minor garners a Fulbright scholarship!!

Curtis Rabe

Please read his statement:

From Shippensburg to Neumünster: Curtis Rabe

Beginning in October 2016, Curtis Rabe ’16 will be spending 9 months in Neumünster, Germany as a Fulbright teaching assistant. This national, highly-competitive program offers American college graduates the opportunity to spend a school year working in German high schools, teaching German students about the United States in their native English while developing their own fluency in the German language and culture. Curtis had the following answers for SHIP students interested in such an opportunity:

1. What was your primary motivation to become a German Studies minor?

I had taken 5 years of German before coming to Shippensburg, but initially did not focus on keeping up with the language. After hearing about opportunities to study abroad or apply for the Fulbright Program, I decided to continue learning German and learning about the German culture.

2. How do you feel your German Studies minor complimented your major?

The German Studies minor complimented my Computer Science major by giving me access to non-technical material. I could be creative in and outside of class and learn to communicate with others using a different language. It complemented my major by contrasting with it, providing me an opportunity to thrive in both technical and cultural environments.

3. How has the minor program provided you with opportunities to develop marketable language and cultural skills?

The German Studies minor program not only taught me about the language and culture of Germany and Austria (and sometimes Switzerland), but it has also given me the opportunity to teach what I have learned by reaching out to the community through opportunities such as presenting to local schools and dining at German restaurants. The program provided me with opportunities to speak with native German speakers and practice the material learned from class. As a result I became comfortable in the language and learned the ability to express my thoughts in alternate ways.

4. How do you feel your German Studies minor prepares you for your Fulbright teaching assistantship to Germany?

To start, the German Studies minor is what made me a competitive candidate for the program. Additionally, the skills learned in the minor program helped me effectively communicate with people in Germany such as my mentor at Theodor-Litt Schule and realtors in an effort to secure an apartment. I am also prepared to speak with respect and familiarity to the various groups of people I will encounter while abroad.

5. What advice would you give other students interested in applying for the Fulbright teaching assistantship?

My advice would be to seek out opportunities to use whatever language you choose to learn. Shippensburg partners with international universities, so there are often international students at Ship. Befriending these students gives you a chance to network and practice your language skills. Also when applying for programs such as the Fulbright Program, always be sure to use your resources. The professors at Shippensburg want to see you succeed, and in my experience, they are always happy to help improve your application.



Congratulations to Dr. David Wildermuth who was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of German.

Study Abroad

Please check the link to read about this summer experiences in France and Morocco!!


Sixth Biennial Modern Languages Conference

The Modern Languages Department hosted its Sixth Biennial conference on 04/30/16. Over fifty papers on the topic of immigration were presented by local, regional and national researchers. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Abdourahman Waberi, professor at The George Washington University, and explored issues of immigration as seen in his novel Transit. In the department, Drs. Mitaut, Lesman, Wildermuth and Ricardo were instrumental in making the conference a success. Dr. Agnès Ragone was the chair of the conference. The first conference award was also given during the event to the best paper delivered by a student. This award was won this year by Mikaela McElfresh. Congratulations to Mikaela and her sponsor, Dr. Lesman.

McElfresh Premio

Mikaela McElfresh with her award for the best student paper. The award comes with a $300.00 monetary compensation for study abroad. Mikaela is going to Spain this summer.

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Sponsored by Dr. Lesman, Spanish major Janis Martinez presented her research project “El impacto negativo de exámenes de alto riesgo” at the Minds@Work Conference this April. In her excellent work, she took an international approach to studying the negative effects of high-stakes testing in schools and demonstrated that the practice can do academic, emotional and social harm.

Martinez Minds at Work 2016


The annual newsletter of the department is now available by clicking here.

Mardi Gras Event

The French Club and the Klub Kreyol hosted a Mardi Gras party on the 1st of March to raise funds for a dispensary in Haiti. The participants received beads and doubloons as well as a recipe for King Cake, the traditional sweet of Mardi Gras in Louisiana. There were in fact King Cakes and beignets--buns--for all to sample. Drs. Mitaut and Ragone were faculty sponsors for the event and explained the traditions of the festivities. The students had a great time with Dr. Ricardo who led led the participants in a zouk (Caribbean dance) contest. The winner for the mask contest was Karen Lundquist; for the best dancers, Jenny Keller and Tim Usher. The Queen and King of Mardi Gras were also crowned, Ali Mowers and James Jean, respectively.

The event raised $200.00 for Haiti!!!! MESI ANPIL!!!

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Service Learning in Haiti

The French Program commitment to Haiti continued this January 2016. Drs. Mitaut and Ragone offered their double seminar to prepare students for their trip to the island nation. Ali Mowers, Laura Hilliard, Angela Davis Nana Sime, Fallon Finnegan and Andrew Hutchinson went then to the village of Gros Mangles where, under very harsh conditions, they help build the much needed dispensary. Kudos for these dedicated students as the goal of raising the walls was indeed reached (last year had been dedicated to building the foundation). Mr. Jonas Celius and Dr. Ragone led this very successful trip.

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FALL 2015

6th Annual High School Contest

On Saturday 14th of November, the Modern Languages was very happy to host 7 area high school whose students competed in German, French and Spanish. The whole day series of events included poetry reciting, Jeopardy and Karaoke. An Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) was then administered for those students wanting to gauge their level in the language. Dr. Wildermuth was judge for the German events, with the help of student ambassadors Paula Bauder and Curtis Rabe; Drs. Lesman and Ragone judged the Spanish events with student ambassadors Amber James and Jenifer Sanchez; Drs. Mitaut and Ragone took care of the French events with student ambassadors Marisa Rhoads and Mitch Nickerson; while Dr. Ricardo was in charge of the Karaoke contest with several local musicians, professionals and aficionados.

After a sit-down lunch offered at Reisner Cafeteria offered graciously by the Office of Admissions, it was time to announce the different winners in all the categories. The school garnering the High Point Trophy this year was won by Carlisle High School. CONGRATULATIONS!!

Congratulations to all the participants who shone throughout the contest and to all the teachers for preparing and bringing wonderful students.

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Immersion Afternoon

As every year during International Week on campus, the Modern Languages Department hosted an Immersion Afternoon. Our classrooms offered cultural and educational presentations prepared by the students of the department. In a little more than an hour, students can travel the world! Germany, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Spain, France, Malawi and Haiti, among others, were represented in colorful and interactive displays. Several clubs from around campus came to participate as well: the Saudi Arabian club, the Indian club, the Klub Kreyol, the French Club, the German Club, all contributed to make this event a great success. Food from different countries was served to enhance this multicultural experience. We thank the Office of Study Abroad for its annual support.

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The French are coming!!!

The partner school to the French Program visited Shippensburg for a week this fall. After the very successful visit of our students to the St. Jo school in Boulogne-sur-Mer, it was with great pleasure that we welcomed the group. Students of St. Jo have come to Shippensburg for three years now and the exchange--friendship! culture!! language!!!--under the sponsorship of Dr. Mitaut is proving to be a wonderful experience for all. Thank you to Professor Régnier from the French school for bringing her students here and for fostering the exchange.

Among the many activities of the French students were a visit to Washington DC, another to Harrisburg, a detailed tour of the Volvo plant in Shippensburg, a walk on the Appalachian trail, participation in several classes at the university and, of course, a pizza party! We sincerely hope that they enjoyed their American experience as much as we did our French one! Our American students had a wonderful time practicing French and making new friends. The students who had been in Boulogne-sur-Mer in May were delighted to see old friends.

Please come back soon!!

St Jo 1 students in front of fence

St Jo 2 students in front of tractor St Jo 3 student pizza party


German Professor featured in Ship Magazine

Dr. David Wildermuth, Assistant Professor of German, was recently featured in Ship Magazine. To read the story of his amazing research on WWII, please follow the link:

Ship Magazine

Emmy Nomination for Documentary on the French Program Haiti Service-Learning experience

The documentary created by Communication/Journalism alumna, Ally Hill, with Dr. Kim Garris as her adviser, received an Emmy nomination this August 2015. The list of nominees is accessible at

Click here to see the list of nominees.

Click here to see the documentary.

If you are interested in participating in this experience yourself, please go to our Haiti project link.

French Program Study Abroad Trip to France

Ship In France Blog

The French Program led in May a study-abroad program that took students to Boulogne-St. Martin in the North of France and to Paris. The students were offered 3 courses to choose from, with the possibility to garner 6 credits. Dr. Mitaut, who organized the trip, offered the FRN 204 course on ideas and Cultures of the French speaking world. Dr. Ragone taught the FRN 103 Intermediate French course and FRN 300, the Advanced Conversation course.