Graduate Students

Andrea Bryant

As both a critical applied linguist and literary scholar, Andrea engages with how issues of power and inequality are manifested in German-language literary and teaching scholarship in the United States. Currently in her fourth year of the doctoral program, she focuses her research on literary texts by Black German-speaking women, critical applied linguistics, and culturally sustaining pedagogies.   

Her dissertation project On the Representation of Race in German-language Curriculum in the United States merges critical discourse analysis with literary criticism. The first half of the dissertation investigates how verbal and visual discourses of diversity communicate exclusionary notions of what it means to be a user of German to current and potential German-language users in the United States. In the second half, she highlights the didacticization of literary texts by Black German-speaking women as a necessary development to beginning and intermediate language curriculum.

Generally speaking, what combines teaching and research interests is a commitment to an inclusive approach to the consumption, production, and dissemination of knowledge. To that end, she is participating in the Professional Learning Online Network Space (PLONS), an initiative supported through the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) at the University of Arizona. She is also thrilled to have received a three-year International Bibliography Fellowship from the Modern Language Association, an engagement that grants the chance to hone her own research literacies through indexing scholarly materials related to Applied Linguistics and Literature by Black German-speaking women for the Modern Language Association’s International Bibliography. She has been very fortunate to begin co-authoring a series of articles with colleagues Nichole Neuman, David Gramling, and Ervin Malakaj on the conceptualization of an anti-racist approach to German-language teaching and scholarship in the United States, the first of which appeared in 2019 in Applied Linguistics.

Andrea has completed a Master’s in Applied Linguistics through the University of New England in Armidale, Australia (2012) and an MA through the University of Oklahoma (2016). She remains grateful for the endorsement of the DAAD that allowed her to complete a year-long (auto-)ethnographic journey (2015-2016) alongside four cohorts of 27 international Chinese students as they prepared to matriculate as mainstream university students in the German higher educational system. The basis of her master’s thesis, this year-long sojourn spurred a continuous journey of confronting and recognizing racist language ideologies as they affect research, teaching, and scholarship.

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.

Forrest Finch

During his undergraduate career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Forrest spent his junior year in Berlin studying at the Freie Universität, where his passion for German scholarship was fomented. His undergraduate honors thesis work analyzed the representation of inter-generational, pedagogical relationships in Robert Walser’s novel Jakob von Gunten using Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, as well as primary documents from the early twentieth century pedagogue and acquaintance of Benjamin’s, Gustav Wyneken. Receiving a bachelor’s degree in German Language and Literature in 2015, Forrest joined the Georgetown German Department in the subsequent semester. Now in his fourth year of graduate school, Forrest has taught the beginner, intermediate, and advanced German levels and he looks forward to engaging with the curriculum further. 

Having worked with these approaches in a variety of German media from the eighteenth century to the present, ranging from dramas, novels, short stories, and film, to social media, photography, and conceptual art, Forrest’s dissertation research interest focuses on the Enlightenment project of rearing male subjects through engagement with visual media amid variable media ecosystems. More specifically, his dissertation examines the discursive linking of visual media, male subjects, and social control in narrative prose from around 1800 and it pursues this constellation in primary texts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich von Kleist, Joseph Eichendorff, Sophie Mereau-Brentano, and E.T.A. Hoffmann using the tableau or tableau vivant, i.e., the performances of ‘living paintings,’ as his textual object of investigation.

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.   

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.

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.

Maja Salibasic

In 2017 Maja received her BA in German Language & Literature and Philosophy from Stetson University in Florida. Due to constant moving at an early age, Maja was raised multilingual (Serbo-Croatian, German, and English), which is partially what fostered her interest in different languages and cultures. While studying at a language gymnasium in Bosnia and Herzegovina where she was taught Serbo-Croatian, English, German, French, and Latin, Maja became fascinated by the numerous contributions to the arts and human thought, especially that of German thinkers. This experience further spurred her curiosity in academic research on the key theoretical approaches needed to analyze the relationship between literature and philosophy and its cultural influence.

Maja’s interest is in pursuing a career that supports cross-disciplinary work in the humanities in a lively and engaged intellectual community, working in a wide range of interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches to German culture, with the main focus on the intellectual history, media and cinema studies, and philosophy from the seventeenth century to the present.

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.

Aleksandra Starcevic

Born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Aleksandra’s native language is Serbo–Croatian. Her passion for foreign languages started at the age of seven when she began learning English and a few years later French. Living in Germany as a war refugee, she completed Realschule and two years of Wirtschaftsgymnasium, where her major was English. In 1999, Aleksandra’s parents permanently moved the family to Atlanta, Georgia. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree in German Language and Literature as well as bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Georgia State University. Aleksandra has been teaching since January 2009. While at Graduate School, she taught beginning and intermediate level German courses and also worked as a tutor in the language lab. After graduation, she taught at several schools, ranging from German School of Atlanta, two–year colleges, and four–year universities. At the same time, she worked for the German American Cultural Foundation on the project “German for South” established to promote and teach German language and culture in higher education.

Aleksandra’s teaching continued at Georgetown University as part of the German PhD program at all undergraduate levels including intensive courses. She also had the opportunity to teach at the Universität Trier in summer 2018 (Department of German Summer Program). Aleksandra’s research interests are divided between literature (20th and 21st century German, migrant, and minority literature and culture; memory and post–memory studies; trauma; concepts of Heimat, belonging, identity, nostalgia; dealing with wars and their aftermath in literature) and linguistics (second language acquisition; foreign language pedagogy; curriculum design and development; sociolinguistics; the systemic functional linguistics approach to teaching and learning). Aleksandra is very grateful for the opportunity to explore both literature and linguistics fields with the excellent German faculty and students at Georgetown University, which helped her find the focus for her dissertation, and future research and work. Currently, Aleksandra is writing her dissertation where she is looking at books by migrant authors from the former Yugoslavia who write in German. Her study will show similarities and differences in the literary representations of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s and their aftermath as well as how these literary texts deal with the traumas and traumatic losses of Heimat, belonging, identity, and language. Aleksandra’s CV can be found 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.