Modern Language Events: In the News
Dr. Agnes Ragone, professor of Spanish and French, has received a Fulbright grant from the State Department. She will be in Benin for the academic year 2018-2019. She will research the influences of one of the languages of the country, fon-gbe, on Haitian Creole as well as on the French spoken in Benin. French is the official language but some fifty native languages are also spoken in Benin. Sadly, many of the slaves who were uprooted from their lands came from the area of Benin, known previously as Dahomey.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program. Administered by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it is designed to increase mutual understanding between American citizens and those of other countries.
Dr. Ragone will return to teaching at Shippensburg in the fall of 2019.
High School Contest
On the 18th of November, the Modern Languages Department hosted its 7th annual High School Contest, chaired by Dr. Ragone. The participants competed in German, French, Chinese and Spanish. Drs. Lesman, Mitaut, Pineda-Volk, Ricardo and Wildermuth as well as Professor Lu led the contestants in the game of Jeopardy, judged the poetry presentations and evaluated the Karaoke performances. Drs. Mitaut, Lesman and Wildermuth evaluated some of the contestants for their languages skills through an Oral Proficiency Interview or OPI. Thanks to the Office of Admissions, the participants were treated for lunch at the Reisner Cafeteria. Student Ambassadors Ian Fabricatore, Jody Burdge, Marleigh Cheney, Elyse Keegan, Atira Henderson and McKenzie Horn made sure that all the visitors could find their way around the department and around campus, showing the hospitality that we would like to foster.
For each event, winners receive a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place medal. The High Point Trophy for the school with the most wins went to Hempfield High School. Congratulations for your excellence!!! There was an extra incentive for the participants this year. The President of the University, Dr. Laurie Carter, and the Office of Admissions provided $1000.00 scholarships for a senior in each language garnering the best scores in two events. The winners had to declare interest in the languages taught in our department or chose International Studies as their major in order to be eligible for this sizable prize. Since the contest was taking place during an Open House, their registration fees were also waived. The qualifiers were Adnan Alagic (Carlisle High School) in German, and Emily Tsang (Hempfield High School) in Chinese.
Ship-St. Jo: a strong connection
This fall, the French program had the pleasure of welcoming students from the Saint Joseph school in Boulogne, France. The partnership, established by Dr. Blandine Mitaut and Professor Géraldine Rénier, has been going on for several years. Both institutions send students to each other for academic and cultural exchanges that have proven to be fruitful. Local families, in France and in Pennsylvania, receive the students in their homes, making the exchange even more meaningful. The group was also greeted by the Provost, Dr. Barbara Lyman, the Director of International Studies, Dr. Jonathan Skaff, and the Chair of the Modern languages Department, Dr. José Ricardo.
During their ten-day stay, the St. Jo visitors participated in the life at our university in a variety of ways. They arrived as we were celebrating our annual Immersion Afternoon--and our students in the French Program highlighted their region in France--; attended classes--for their majors and with the students in French--; enjoyed lunches at Reisner where they met more of our students; and even had time to exercise at the Ship Rec.
The historical exploration of our region was part of the stay. The St. Jo students went to Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Baltimore and Frederick to see landmarks in American history, from the American Revolution to the War of 1812 and to the Civil War. This broad panorama gave them insights on events that have shaped our country and were an additional academic features while with us.
Was there time for fun? Oh yes!! A hike in Pine Grove Furnace State Park; a visit at the Harley-Davidson factory (where we had the great pleasure to be received by a Ship alumna); a trip to a local arcade and go-karting were among the many fun activities enjoyed by all
The visit concluded with a pot-luck supper attended by the host families and our own students. The send-off included a Karaoke session where everyone had an opportunity to sing, in French or in English.
COME BACK SOON!!!
The Modern Languages Department held its annual Immersion Afternoon on October 24. Our classrooms were transformed in areas of the world, thanks to our students who presented their experiences or the research they had done in their classes. Thanks to the generosity of the Office of Study Abroad, an array of food from around the world was offered. The event is part of the International Education Week. This year, China, Germany, the north of France and several Spanish-speaking countries were part of the event. The visitors could also participate in a treasure hunt, with questions about the exhibits prepared by the participating groups. This year's Immersion Afternoon was a huge success thanks to the efforts of all.
On the 18th of April, Dr. Robert Lesman hosted a poetry evening titled United in Verse. Several members of the campus community, students and faculty alike, read poems that are important to them. They explained the meaning of the poems, read them in the original languages and followed with a translation. Dr. Lesman had introduced the event by saying that it was designed to highlight our common humanity and common interests. Among the many languages represented were Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Hebrew, Tshibula, Haitian Creole, Arabic, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. Refreshments were offered afterwards, allowing the participants to answer questions on their presentations and continue the discussion on the poems.
The French Program accomplished again its goals in Gros Mangle this January 2017 ( see link "Haiti Project" for more information). The students of the double seminar on Haiti (Paige Arensmeyer, ,Andrew Hutchinson, Stephanie Smith and Angelina Stewart), with Drs. Mitaut and Ragone as well as Mr. Jonas Celius, the Haitian facilitator, guide and translator for the Haiti Project, continued helping with the construction of the dispensary. The roof was raised this year and the terrain around the dispensary was leveled. The students also enjoyed Haitian life, learned to cook cal dishes, had fresh coconuts, swam and visited important historical landmarks. THANK YOU all for keeping a sunny disposition under difficult conditions. THANK YOU TO THE PEOPLE OF GROS MANGLE for making us feel welcome!!!