Graduate Students

AL-Harith AbdulSattar

AL-Harith, a.k.a. Harry, received his BA in German Studies and English Literature from the University of Trier 2021. He will be a Georgetown exchange student in Fall 2022 for two semesters. As an undergraduate he assisted the Semiotician of culture, Prof. Dr. Dirk Rustemeyer, focusing on the conditions of knowledge and science as well as on theories of culture and the social conscious. He is also a member of the Schiller society in Weimar/Jena since 2018.

His bachelor thesis was about the connecting relation between the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard and the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno. He wanted to illustrate that philosophy can appear like literature while on the other side literature is the possibility for philosophical reflections.

Thomas Bernhard and his works became Harry’s passion. His primary research interest is the actuality of Thomas Bernhard for today´s society.

Dora received her BA in German and History at the University Trier in Germany. She will start her graduate studies in the Fall of 2022 and is very excited to be an exchange student at Georgetown University for two semesters. During her undergraduate studies she spent a year studying in Padova in Italy as part of the Erasmus Program, where she became familiar with the concepts of communication and mobility studies.

Dora is currently working on a thesis addressing the relation of gender and mobility in the work of Christa Wolf. Other research interests include ecocriticism and the linguistics of the climate crisis. Dora is grateful to have the opportunity to broaden her knowledge at a renowned American university and is looking forward to spending a year at Georgetown University. 

Dan Baughman first developed an interest in German language and culture while he was a high school student in Chesterton, Indiana.  Learning in the high school classroom and participating in the Goethe Institute’s German American Partnership Program led Dan to pursue his BS in German at the United State Military Academy.  While a cadet, Dan took part in multiple opportunities to strengthen ties between the Bundeswehr and the United States Army including a four-week training exercise with a Panzergrenadier Battalion and a semester of study at the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich.  Dan’s German studies have been largely on hold while he has served as an Army Infantry Officer.  He is now pursuing his MA in German from Georgetown in preparation for assignment as a German instructor at the United States Military Academy.

Dan’s academic interests include pedagogy and second language acquisition.  He plans to expand his understanding and appreciation of German literature while studying at Georgetown.  Dan looks forward to sharing the German language and culture with students and cadets as a future instructor. 

Dingning is from Hefei, China. In her junior year, she transferred from Anhui Agricultural University to Colorado State University and received both her BS in biological science and her BA in German language, literature and culture. In her undergraduate years, she focused on her research project about gender study and women’s writing in Weimar Republic, and also LGBT films in that time period with a special focus on the film Mädchen in Uniform. In addition, she also tried to combine science with German Study, hoping to find the relationship between technology/science and the German films and literature in early 20th century.

For now, she is interested in exploring the topic of the Weimar Republic further, while she also hopes to focus more on Nazi history and literature. Currently, she is particularly interested in combining Asian Study with German study, including the narratives about China in German literature and those about Germany in Chinese, and the history about China taking in a certain proportion of Jewish refugees during Holocaust.

Dave graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2016 with BA degrees in both German and history.  As a German major, he focused on twentieth century literature as coping mechanisms for the economic, political, and social tumult of the first half of the century.  His history studies concentrated on international networking and diplomacy at the turn of the eighteenth century.  This work was made possible through undergraduate grants to study the letters and journal of Heinrich Wilhelm Ludolf in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin and August Hermann Francke Institute, Halle (Saale).  Following this, he attended the University of St. Andrews and completed a Master of Letters in Modern History with a dissertation concerning the perceptions of modernity of Deutscher Werkbund’s 1927 exhibition ‘Die Wohnung’ and Weißenhof housing estate as well as work on the history of infrastructure and spatial theory. 

Presently, Dave’s research interests are focused on application of spatial theory in the early twentieth century.  Having worked as an interdisciplinary academic previously, he values cross-discipline approaches to explore the creation of boundaries, both real and imagined. 

Cooper received her BA in German Studies from Tulane University in 2014. As an undergraduate, she assisted the Historic New Orleans Collection with translation of documents from the 1800’s belonging to the German Society of New Orleans. In addition, Cooper spent a semester abroad in Berlin, where she took courses at IES Abroad and Humboldt University. While in Berlin, she completed an internship at the Evangelische Schule Berlin Mitte as an English teacher’s assistant. Since graduation, Cooper spent most of her time working in museums in New Orleans, inspiring her research and career interests in cultural history and museum studies. She is excited to be part of the German Department at Georgetown and further cultivate these interests.

Cooper’s primary research interests include: German cultural history of and relating to the early-mid 20th century, depictions of German history and politics in contemporary culture, and film studies.

PhD Student Emma Eisenbeis

Emma is a graduate of Kalamazoo College, where she earned her BA in German Studies and Political Science in 2019. During her time as an undergraduate, Emma was involved in varsity athletics, student government, the Offices of Admission and Advancement, and acted as a student advisor in the German Department. In addition to these activities, she spent a semester abroad in Erlangen, Germany, where she attended the Friedrich Alexander University while simultaneously completing an English teaching assistantship at Ohm Gymnasium. Throughout the course of her studies, Emma received two excellence awards in German Studies, the Kalamazoo College Senior Leadership Award, and was inducted in the national German Studies honor society, Delta Phi Alpha, as well as Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating, Emma was awarded a Fulbright grant to work for two years in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, as an English Teaching Assistant at the Coppernicus Gymnasium.  

In the past, Emma has researched and written about such topics as the importance of English language course offerings in the German school system, political activism in German youth, and the impact of comprehensive civic education on political and social engagement in American society. She hopes to find intersections in her research as she explores more topics related to education and political engagement in German society and history.

Samantha Grayck

Sam received her MA in Comparative Literature in 2016 from the University of Chicago, focusing on inter-war life writing by German and British soldiers. She has a long-standing academic interest in the First World War, modernist literature, and texts with science fiction elements. Her background also includes teaching French at the undergraduate and graduate level, composition and writing tutoring, and academic administration. Sam hopes to continue researching German inter- and post-war literature as well as exploring modernist themes in Polish and Yiddish literature.

Michelle Hardy

Michelle started her graduate studies at Georgetown in Fall 2017. She received her BA in German and Russian from the University of Iowa in December, 2014. As an undergraduate, she participated in the Academic Year in Freiburg program, taking courses at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität and the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg. In Freiburg, she completed a German-English translation internship at Petite Planeté and volunteered for Carl-Schurz-Haus’s Rent an American program by guest teaching at schools throughout Baden-Württemberg. She has worked as a freelance translator and tutor and spent two years as an English Teaching Assistant at the Gymnasium-level with the Austrian-American Educational Commission (now Fulbright Austria), first in Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, and then in Vienna. She was thrilled to be a graduate exchange student at Universität Trier for the 2018 summer semester.

Michelle’s research interests include twentieth and twenty-first century German and Austrian Literature, focusing on representations of historical memory, cultural hybridity, and identity. Working at the intersection of feminist Disability Studies and literary analysis, she is particularly interested in how disability is portrayed in both fiction and life-writing. She is also very fond of teaching and expanding her knowledge of language pedagogy and genre theory.

Kerstin Kuhn

While Kerstin focused on German and English Linguistics and Literature for her Bachelor’s degree in German and English for K-12 education, she aimed at connecting these disciplines with new media in the German classroom during her graduate career at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Her Master’s thesis (MEd) demonstrates how Digital Storytelling fosters the narrative competence of students, while analyzing its benefits and challenges based on a field study from her teaching classes.

Kerstin’s research interests include Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, specifically the nature of narrative structures behind (digital) representations of literature from the German speaking world, as well as Foreign Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Competence. Her CV can be viewed here.

Shoshannah first studied German as a freshman in high school in South Jersey. Immediately enamored with the culture and language, she pursued every possible avenue to further her German proficiency, including a four-week exchange program in southern Bavaria. She credits much of her love for the language, culture and teaching to her high school teacher, who created an immersive environment within the classroom. Following high school, Shoshannah studied one year at the Institute of German Studies, an extension of Concordia College, Moorhead, in Bemidji, Minnesota.  She went on to earn a BS while majoring in German and Russian at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.  Commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Aviation Branch, she temporarily postponed her German studies to attend flight school and serve in the Army as an officer. In 2008, the Army provided Shoshannah the opportunity to earn her MA in German to return to West Point and teach in the Department of Foreign Languages. She earned her MA from Middlebury College in 2009 after studying at Middlebury for the summer semester and at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany for two semesters. She taught Basic and Intermediate German at West Point until 2011, when she continued performing aviation duties. Still in the Army, she most recently completed two years as a battalion commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Shoshannah is now pursuing her PhD to return to West Point as an Academy Professor of German. She is grateful for her Army career and for the opportunities she has been afforded to grow professionally, academically, and personally.  

Shoshannah’s research interests include second language acquisition, applied linguistics, and curriculum development. Based on her own language learning experience, she is drawn to the cultural and literacy aspects of curriculum development and execution.  Shoshannah also looks forward to studying German literature and culture at Georgetown.   

Elizabeth Mairura

Elizabeth Mairura was born in Kisumu, Kenya and took her first German class at Maryhill Girls’ High School in Thika. She developed an instant passion for the subject, which has made her the recipient of several awards: a month long summer exchange program by the Pädagogische Austauschdienst, a DAAD-funded summer language course at the University of Bremen and a DAAD scholarship for her MA in German studies, which included a research semester at Humboldt in Berlin. She worked for two years as a librarian/tutor at the German School in Nairobi and also held teaching positions for eight years at various institutions in Nairobi including Strathmore University, Kenyatta University, Rusinga School, Moi University and Goethe-Institut Kenya. She then served as the Head of Information and Library at Goethe-Institut Kenya for almost five years. While at the Goethe-Institut, she benefitted from numerous professional enhancement programs in Germany, South Africa and Ivory Coast. She also took a few doctoral-level courses in Organizational Leadership at Pan Africa Christian University and French classes at Alliance Française Nairobi.   

Elizabeth has a keen interest in foreign/second language acquisition; most particularly the role that literature (could) play(s) in this quest, especially among learners at the beginners’ level. This was also the focus of her MA research, which later birthed a multilingual story book in German, English, Swahili and French. She would like to further this interest while at Georgetown, with hopes of returning to the classroom and/or launching into writing/publishing/developing curriculum material for learners of German language. She hopes to spend any free time sampling Washington DC’s rich offerings in culture and recreation.

Lorna received her BA in German Studies from the University of St Andrews, Scotland in 2020. Her undergraduate thesis focused on literary and cinematic representations of the mass rapes of German women by occupying forces following the Second World War. She looked at how the depiction of the subjective female experience has been constrained by evolving memory politics.

Lorna’s primary research interest is in the representation of women in German literature and cinema of the twentieth century, as well as studies of GDR history and culture. As an undergraduate, Lorna received a Laidlaw scholarship that funded her to work on an original project comparing the reception of the contraceptive pill in the writings of women from East and West Germany. This project introduced Lorna to the field of Medical Humanities; in her graduate work, she is continuing to incorporate such an interdisciplinary approach.

Katherine Miller-Purrenhage graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2021, where she earned her BA in German Studies and Music, with a minor in Philosophy. During her undergraduate years, Katherine played flute in the college band and orchestra, sang in the choir, tutored at a local elementary school, participated in philosophy club (of which she co-founded a sector for non-men identifying people), and acted as both the Departmental Student Advisor for the German Department and as a German Teaching Assistant. In the summers of 2019 and 2020, Katherine worked at the Latinx-run nonprofit El Concilio as the Assistant Program Coordinator. She also spent a semester abroad in Erlangen, Germany, where she attended the Friedrich-Alexander Universität as a full time student and interned at the Eichendorffschule Erlangen as both an English and DaZ (German as a second language) teaching assistant. During her undergraduate studies, Katherine received four excellence awards in Music, two excellence awards in German Studies, as well as German Departmental Honors. She was also inducted into the Alpha Delta Phi German Honor Society. After graduating, Katherine earned a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Germany, working for a year at two Gymnasien in Bamberg and Höchstadt while taking classes part-time at Otto-Friedrich Universtität Bamberg. 

Katherine’s research interests (some of which she had the privilege to write about) include inclusive pedagogy, decolonization of German Studies, second and foreign language acquisition, and existentialist and ethical philosophy. She is hoping to intersect these topics in her research at Georgetown, focusing on the interdisciplinary approach to teaching a foreign language with an inclusive and decolonized approach. Her CV can be found here.

Ross graduated from the University of Missouri in 2018 with BA degrees in German and International Studies – Peace Studies with a minor in Russian. During undergrad, he served as the Local Committee President of AIESEC at Mizzou while also working as an AVID tutor to help prepare students from under-represented backgrounds to become college ready. Between his junior and senior year, Ross taught German and English as part of an AIESEC volunteer exchange in Croatia. Upon graduation, he finished an internship for the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., and then spent a year as part of the USTA/Fulbright Austria program as an English language teaching assistant in Spittal an der Drau, Austria. He returned to Mizzou in 2019 to pursue his MA in German while working as a graduate instructor. This past year, Ross worked in Chicago for the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. He is joining the German department as part of the dual MAGES/German PhD program.

Most recently, Ross’s research interests have focused on the interaction between the GDR and Angela Davis throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and he published an article through the University of Tennessee – Knoxville’s Vernacular on the topic. He also holds strong interest in the literature of the German colonial period. Specifically, he hopes to interrogate how German Colonial Literature can be used as a lens with which to better understand notions of modern imperialism and how German colonial aspirations ultimately transposed themselves directly onto the European continent throughout the 20th century. Ross’s CV can be found here.

J.B. Potter

J.B. Potter studied history and German at Hampden-Sydney, a liberal arts college for men. He then served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and worked as a political science translator in Mainz, Germany, where he earned an MA in German through Middlebury College’s C.V. Starr School at Johannes Gutenberg University. After his time abroad, he spent four years teaching German and coaching tennis at inner-city and rural high schools in Virginia.

Through writing and research, J.B. explores the rhetoric of revolutions, the democratization of war, the memorialization of defeat, and the future of transatlantic relations. He is especially interested in how writers, filmmakers, and political leaders shape popular perceptions of the past and provide social commentary on the present by dramatizing historical events and promoting national narratives.

In his spare time, J.B. volunteers as a grant writer for the Inga Foundation (new window), a nonprofit organization that stops slash-and-burn agriculture and ensures food security for subsistence farming communities in the tropics.

Sally Simpson received her Bachelor of Arts in German Studies from Colby College in 2021. After graduating, she lived in Linz, Austria, where she participated in the 2021-2022 Teaching Assistantship Program of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), administered by Fulbright Austria (Austrian-American Educational Commission). Her research interests include music, 20th and 21st century women’s writing, and literature, as well as the intersections between them.

Graduate Student Ekaterina Soloveva

Ekaterina was born in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod, in a Russian-Korean family. She received her BA in Linguistics and Foreign Language Teaching from Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2019. As an undergraduate student she spent some time studying in Austria and the USA. While living in Moscow, Ekaterina taught German, Humanities, and English at an international education center and had an internship at the German newspaper in Moscow. She also worked as an assistant at cultural events organised by the Embassy of Switzerland in Russia. As a student she received the President’s Scholarship for Talented Youth and participated in the Year of Exchange in America for Russians (YEAR) program, organized by American Councils.

Ekaterina wrote her Bachelor thesis about an integrated approach to learning multiethnic sociolects. Her research interests include Applied Linguistics, Foreign Language Pedagogy, and Sociolinguistics, with the main focus on dialects, ethnolects (such as Kiezdeutsch), and sociolects. Her other interests include Women’s and Gender Studies and American Studies.

Maria Speggiorin

At the end of her BA in Modern Languages and Literature (English and German) at the University of Trento, Maria focused on learner’s autonomy for her final thesis. Maria then further studied in the field of Second Language Acquisition in her Master at the University of Ca’ Foscari in Venice (focus on German) and graduated with a thesis on Experiential Learning and the delivery of Second Language classes through visual art. She then pursued a Master in Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, developing a strong interest in academic research and deciding to further pursue a PhD degree in the Germanic Studies Department at Georgetown with a focus on Second Language Acquisition. During her Master at Ca’ Foscari Maria worked for the Social Cooperative “Adelante” in projects promoting active engagement of pre-teens and teens in their communities, developing a strong will to research learning modalities accessible to a wide variety of learners.

Maria’s research interests include Second Language Acquisition with a focus on Virtual Learning, Virtual Language Exchanges, Task Based Approach and the use of technology fostering effective learners’ autonomy.

Stephanie Strevey graduated with honors from Bryn Mawr College with BAs in English and in German Literature.  Her undergraduate thesis, ‘“Dämonendiagnose”: Behinderung, Sexismus und Antisemitismus in der mittelalterlichen Monster-Mythologie Nordeuropas”, which used retroactive diagnosis as an analytical tool through which to re-examine the origins of Dark Age and medieval German monster mythology, received the Hester Ann Corner Prize for Best Thesis in a Foreign Language, and the Berle Memorial Prize in German Literature (2021).  As an undergraduate, she worked as a teaching assistant, major representative, and peer tutor for the Bryn Mawr Department of German Studies, and served in her free-time as president of one of the school’s dance teams, and as a team captain for the Fine Arts Program Advanced Hip Hop Ensemble.  In high school, she participated in the German-American Partnership Program and other student exchanges with the Friedrich-Ebert-Gymnasium in Harburg, Hamburg.  She is also a member of German National Honors Society and a recipient of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) Presidential Honor Roll Award. 

Beyond folklore/monster narratives and disability studies, Stephanie is deeply interested in the literature of der Romantik (particularly Schwarzliteratur/Nachtliteratur), Medieval Studies, Nordic religions/paganism, Trümmerliteratur & Holocaust Literature, and the history of Germanic Oral Storytelling.  She hopes to be able to continue studying these aspects of German culture, history, and media in her graduate work while also pursuing opportunities to engage with new academic concentrations. Her CV is available here.

Paige Tisserand

Paige has lived in Germany for a combined eight years, having spent four years as a child in Stuttgart and another four years as an adult in Bavaria. While abroad, she developed a love of German language, literature, and culture, and she knew from a very early age that German was to hold a significant place in her life. Paige received her BA in English and Political Science from Seton Hall University in 2002, where she played Division I Volleyball, was named to the Verizon District III Academic All America Team, and was awarded the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship. She then earned an MA in German from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2004, where she focused on the ecumenical writings of Heinrich Heine and Friedrich Nietzsche. Additionally, she was named the German Department’s Bauer Scholarship recipient. She has spent 12 of the last 14 years teaching German and English at various institutions, including the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Tacoma German Language School, and the University of Maryland University College.

Upon completion of her PhD studies, in which she hopes to further explore the writings of Heine and Nietzsche, as well as notions of nationalism and identity, she wants to return to the classroom and teach language and theory courses. In her free time, should she discover some during the course of the program, she looks forward to visiting Washington, DC’s fantastic museums and attending Hoya athletic events with her family.