German Studies Majors 2013

Shemuel Garber
Professor Leo Lensing addressing German Studies majors and minors and faculty at our luncheon on May 10, 2013.

Shemuel Garber ’13, a double major in German Studies and the College of Letters, wrote his thesis for COL, entitled, The Circular Cut: Problematizing the Longevity of Civilization’s Most Aggressively Defended Amputation.

He will spend this summer in Brooklyn before leaving for Germany with a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to teach English at a high school in Mainz, Germany.

James Gardner ’13 is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and a German Studies major. His Senior Honors Thesis explores Afro-German history from 1871 to 2013. He has been awarded the Prentice Prize for his excellent work in German, the Heidemann Award, for helping others in the Wesleyan community, and the Butterfield Prize for his leadership, intellectual commitment and concern for the Wesleyan community.

James Gardner

James will continue his work with the Afro-German social work organization, Joliba, in Berlin, where he worked while studying abroad in Berlin in 2012. At Joliba, James will coordinate initiatives, tours, and events in line with his Afro-German academic work. He also hopes to obtain the International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS), which offers young people the opportunity to gain practical experience in parliamentary work during a 15-week internship under the auspices of a Member of the German Bundestag. James is planning to apply for a DAAD scholarship this fall in order to continue his studies at the Free University of Berlin.

Max Kaplan ’13 will be working at The Fund for the Public Interest in Philadelphia. This is a national non-profit organization that works to build support for progressive organizations across the country. They run campaigns for USPIRG, Environment America, the Human Rights Campaign, and Environmental Action.

Adam Rashkoff

Adam Rashkoff   ’13, a double major in German Studies and the College of Letters wrote a senior essay for both departments on Freud’s theories of psychological repression to analyze Theodor Adorno’s appropriation of the German Idealist concept of Naturschöne, or natural beauty. He will spend the upcoming academic year teaching English at two secondary schools in Vorarlberg, Austria, under the auspices of USTA-Austria, a program administered by the Fulbright Commission and funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture. This summer, he will split his time between Stanford University, where he will work at a literature and arts summer camp for middle and high school students, and Brooklyn, NY. In New York,  he will intern on a project to develop a humanities curriculum for a network of charter schools. Ultimately, he plans to pursue his interest in German Studies at the graduate level. 

Avery Trufelmann

Avery Trufelman ’13,  a double major in German Studies and the College of Letters, wrote a senior thesis in both departments. Avery translated the autobiography of Hans Rosenthal, an iconic German gameshow host and holocaust survivor. She received high honors for this work Avery is also the recipient of the Scott Prize, awarded for excellence in foreign-language study. She will go on to intern for NPR Berlin (produced entirely in Washington, DC).


Mari Jarris ’14 This summer, Mari will conduct her thesis research on the Frankfurt School’s critique of German Idealist philosophy using the archives and libraries at the University of Frankfurt and the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. She received the DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship, the Davenport Grant, and the Blankenagel Prize to support her summer research.

Maddy (R)
Maddy (right)

Maddy Smith-Huemer ’14  She is a German Studies and History major who has been studying at the Free University of Berlin with the Duke in Berlin program since January 2013. She will continue her studies there until the end of July, while also conducting research for her senior year thesis on resistance movements in the former GDR.

Oscar Takabvirwa

Oscar Takabvirwa ’14, a double major in German Studies and Mathematics, hopes to be working for a consulting firm in New York City this summer. He will start research for his honors thesis for German, a translation of works by authors whose parents migrated to Germany and who grew up in a multi-cultural environment.





Colin, Jackie and Dan
Colin, Steffi and Dan

Jaqueline Heitkamp ‘15,  Colin O’Connor ‘15  and Daniel Hurlbert ‘15 have been studying in Regensburg since January 2013 and will continue their studies there until the end of July.

In the photo below, Colin is joined by former Wesleyan students and  Regensburg exchange students who visited the Regensburg Dult, an annual folk festival, in May 2013.Regensburg Dult 2013


German Studies Majors and Students: post-graduation and summer plans

Matthew Alexander ’12,  a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and the recipient of the Blankenagel Prize for his outstanding accomplishments in German, also received a Fulbright assistantship to teach English at a high school in Saxony, Germany. Matt’s thesis, for which he received high honors, was a translation and adaptation of Lord Schadt’s online play, “Lost Modern Love.” The play premiered at Wesleyan in May 2012 under Matt’s direction. An excerpt of his adaptation has been published in VOID Digest Vol. 2, May 2012, pp. 57-59. This summer Matt will intern as a script reader in Los Angeles.

Max Flescher ’12 is an alternate for a Fulbright teaching assistantship to teach ESL in Austria.



Lynn Heere ’12 received a Fulbright assistantship to teach English at a high school in Thuringia, Germany. She also received a teaching assistantship for English in Kärnten, Austria, but decided in favor of Germany. Lynn wrote her thesis, for which she received honors, on “From Spassguerilla to Stadtguerilla: The Theory and Praxis of the West German Student Movement.”


Steven Le ’12 will be teaching English as a Foreign Language in Vietnam. He leaves to take up his teaching position in July.

Jessica Spates ’12 received the Baden-Württemberg scholarship for study and research at Freiburg University in Germany.

Katherine Wolf ’12 was awarded the Scott Prize for excellence in foreign-language study. A major in German Studies and art history, she wrote her senior essay on “The Fabric of the Bel Composto: Bernini’s Draperies and the Redefinition of the Arts.”

Carmen Yip ’12, a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and double major in German Studies and sociology, will be working as a resource analyst for Deutsche Bank in New York. She will start her training in September 2012, then move to London, followed by Frankfurt, before returning to New York City. Carmen plans to spend the summer at home in Hong Kong.


Wesleyan University Program in Regensburg Participants

Hsiao Tung Huang ’12, a dance major, declined an offer to study in the European Erasmus Program in favor of the dance program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. But she hopes to return to Germany very soon!

Lana ’12,  a music major, received the Baden-Württemberg scholarship and will conduct research at Heidelberg University in Germany next year. She hopes to find a performing arts internship in Heidelberg.


And what are some of our sophomores and juniors doing this summer?  

Julius Bjornson ’14 has been studying in Regensburg since January 2012 and will finish his semester at the end of July. Then he will move to France, where he will spend a semester in Wesleyan’s Paris program.

Nathaniel Elmer ’14 received a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) University Summer Course Scholarship for the Humboldt University summer course “Deutsch Erleben.”

James Gardner ’13, a Mellon Mays Fellow, has been studying under the auspices of the Berlin Consortium for German Studies at Berlin’s Free University since February 2012, while conducting independent research on Afro-Germans.

Mari Jarris ’14  received a scholarship from the DAAD to attend a German language and culture course from July 8 to August 2 at Bremen University in Germany.

Julian Theseira ’14 received a DAAD scholarship to attend a summer course on German literature at the Catholic university Eichstätt-Ingolstadt from July 17 to August 9, 2012. The course focuses on the discovery of physical spaces in modern German literature.

Oscar Takabvirwa ’14 has been studying at Regensburg University since January 2012; the semester there ends in late July.

Avery Trufelman ’13 received the Prentice Prize, given to a junior or senior who excels in German or French. Avery also received the DAAD “internxchange scholarship, which will enable her to spend 11 weeks in Berlin this summer. She will attend a 6-week seminar program designed to deepen the recipient’s understanding of the politics, society, and culture of Germany, the country’s current media landscape, and working conditions for journalists. She will complete her stay with a 5-week internship with a German newspaper, (online) magazine, TV or radio station, or press or PR agency in or near Berlin. 


Katherine Wolf interns at oqbo Galerie in Berlin

German Studies major, Katherine Wolf ’12, has been studying at the Freie Universität in Berlin since Fall 2010 and worked as an intern at the Galerie oqbo last spring.  Katherine sent us the following article from Berlin. She will be back at Wesleyan this fall.

Friday, May 13, 2011, 7pm

Opening Evening, 7pm at both locations. Gallery Tour led by Katherine Wolf begins in Galerie oqbo at 8pm.

Friday, May 13, 2011, 7pm Opening Evening, Gallery Tour led by Katherine Wolf

Five months and the majority of the first semester had flown by, but returning to Berlin after the holidays, I felt as if I needed an activity to deepen the substance and purpose of my abroad experience. Dozens of emails and a rewritten version of my resumé auf deutsch later and I found myself at at a table with artist and co-founder of the Galerie oqbo Michael Bause: the acquaintance of the childhood best friend of my favorite German teacher. On our first meeting we chatted about the gallery while drinking cappuccinos. I got a tour of the petite gallery, with its main room, the kitchen and meeting area (with a fridge consistently stocked of white wine, cheap champagne, and beer),  and the narrow spiral staircase that leads to a second exhibition room in the basement.

Our second meeting was in the apartment of artist and American Abstract Artists member Gilbert Hsiao to meet about the upcoming exhibit celebrating the 75th anniversary of the creation of the American Abstract Artists organization. Gilbert was, so to say, the guardian of the artworks; on the walls of his home hung nearly every piece that would soon be presented in that lonely, empty gallery on Brunnenstrasse. They varied in style, in color, technique, and medium. I was astounded, thrilled, and filled with excitement for my tasks to come.

My main assignment for the moment is to formulate gallery tours (in German!) through that will be offered at the opening event, on the state-sponsored nation-wide “Kulturtag,” and during the last week of the exhibition.  It will offer insight into the development of abstract art and its public reception, from its development in the early 20th century through present day, as well as touch upon the differences between American abstract art and German abstract art. Depending on the availability of the American ambassador to Germany, I may be giving him and his council a private tour, too.

I am elated to be working with such an engaging and interesting group at oqbo. Though its small, the six co-founders are all working artists and fascinating, engaging, hilarious individuals. I have already been exposed to new discoveries about the behind-the-scenes workings of the art world, and am sure that more is sure to come.

German Studies Seniors about their major(s) and future plans

William Krieger ’11: Other than German Studies, I also majored in Art History. I wrote a thesis in both departments about the contemporary German artist Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997), focusing on three of his major installation projects from the 1990s.

Next year, I will continue working on my thesis at Humboldt University in Berlin under a Fulbright grant and hope to continue my interest in German studies in a graduate program after that.

Ben LaFirst ’11: I have a double major in German Studies and Sociology. My senior essay in Sociology is entitled “Monopoly Capitalism and Network Neutrality: The Future of the Internet as a Material/Discursive Body”. I studied one semester in Regensburg and am excited to go to Austria, where I will be teaching English to Austrian high school students this fall. This is part of the United States Teaching Assistantship program sponsored by the Fulbright Commission in collaboration with the Austrian-American Educational Commission.  After my year as an ESL Assistant in Linz, Austria, I hope to enroll in a Master’s program to study history and eventually get a job as a history teacher.

Ryan Moses ’11: I am a German Studies and History major with a concentration in European history. My particular interests in history focus on Germany. I wrote an extensive research paper on German companies and their ties to the Nazis, and  another paper that examined the evolution of the relationship between German companies and their Nazi pasts, focusing on certain key events that forced them to reevaluate how they address their troubled history.

After Wesleyan, I’m hoping to pursue a career in finance.

I would recommend to anyone considering studying a foreign language that they study abroad. Living in Germany was one of the best times I’ve ever had. Whether it be for a summer, a semester, or an entire year, you’ll have a great time and learn more about the language and the culture than you can imagine.

Anya Olsen ‘11: I am a College of Letters and German Studies Major.

I wrote my thesis on the portrayal of women and gender in four selected works of German literature in the period after World War II, comparing two from West Germany and two from East Germany.

After I graduate, I will be going to Tübingen and studying there as part of the Connecticut-Baden-Württemberg Exchange Program. I will continue looking at issues of gender within German literature, as well as taking German history courses.

Catherine Steidl ’11: At Wesleyan, I have majored in both German Studies and Archaeology. I wrote my thesis within the Archaeology Department on specific female votive statuary from the Athenian Acropolis and the ways in which we can use them to learn about women’s roles and social experiences in Ancient Greece. My studies in German were extremely critical to my thesis, however, as a good portion of my research relied on German texts and archaeological reports!

Next year, I am taking part in the CT-BW exchange and attending the University of Tübingen to improve my German and continue my studies in Archaeology before applying to PhD programs in Classical Archaeology, for which German is essential.