German Studies Majors and Minors

Anna Tjeltveit ‘23

In May, Anna graduated with a degree in English and German Studies. She received high honors for her joint thesis, which is a novella about environmental destruction in East Germany, titled “Our Future Has Already Begun.” This summer, Anna is teaching Norwegian at Concordia Language Villages, the summer camp program where she has been teaching German for the last few summers. After the summer ends, Anna will be moving to Bremen, Germany, to take a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She can’t wait for her Fulbright year to start and to see what the rest of the future holds!

Linus Mao ’23

After finishing up a busy senior year at Wesleyan as a COL and GRST major, during which Linus was awarded a DAAD master’s stipendium for Media Studies in Germany and wrote an Honors Thesis titled “‘Tiger’s Leap into the Past’: Cinema, Auteurs, and Time in Fassbinder and Godard,” they will spend their two-month summer break back at home with their family in Shanghai, China. Linus plans to mostly study German, read books and watch films in preparation for doctoral work in German studies at UC Berkeley starting this Fall. Currently, Linus’ project seems to have taken an unexpected Russian turn, as they are watching films directed by Kirill Serebrennikov and enjoying books by Vladimir Nabokov. Linus does hope that this small detour will eventually contribute to their research of German author W.G. Sebald, which Linus is determined to continue in their graduate studies

Miles Cohen ’23

Miles left Wesleyan with a triple major in Government, COL, and GRST. He wrote the following to Professor Bork about his summer plan: “I was very happy to graduate Wesleyan as a triple major in the College of Letters, German Studies, and Government. I received High Honors in the COL and German Studies and Honors in Government. I wrote a senior thesis titled ‘Symbols of Hate: The History of White Supremacy Through Symbolic Representation’ and was awarded the White Fellowship from the Government Department and the Blankenagel Prize from the German Studies Department. I am currently living in Washington D.C. and working as a Research Analyst intern for the political and economic development firm Just Results. After the summer I will either stay in D.C. or move to New York City with some lovely friends, I have yet to decide. However, the future is bright! Huzzah!” 

The honors theses will become available on Wesleyan’s website Digital Collection.

Yasemin Schmitt ‘24

This summer, Yasemin will be attending a six-week-long study abroad program in Berlin at Freie Universität through FUBiS. She will be taking an intensive advanced German language class. Through her course and personal excursions, she is excited to be learning about Berlin’s history and what daily life is like. Yasemin is also planning to travel to southern Germany and Turkey until the end of July to see relatives. Upon her return, Yasemin will spend time with family and friends and get ready for the fall semester.

On June 14th, I received the following email and photos from Yasemin and Spencer Klink ‘25 , who are both studying in Berlin:

Liebe Frau Bork, 

es ist wirklich toll, dass ich in Berlin wohne und studiere. (…) Ich finde die Stadt so schön und man kann hier so viel tun. Es ist schwierig Berlin zu beschreiben, weil jeder Ort anders ist. Der Sprachkurs ist auch toll und ich habe viel Übung beim Lesen, Sprechen und Hören. Ich habe das Gefühl, dass ich nach nur einer Woche freier sprechen kann. Ich mache wenige Pausen und Fehler und kann auch schnelles Deutsch besser verstehen. Gestern habe ich ein Referat über Gedächtnisforschung ohne Notizen gegeben. Jeden Tag lerne ich so vielen Wörter und auch verschiedenen Arten von Sprachen. 

Dieses Wochenende haben Spencer und ich Sarah und Elia gesehen. Wir sind zum Prenzlauer  Berg und Mauerpark gegangen und haben zusammen deutsches Frühstück gegessen. Gestern haben wir uns für das Abendessen getroffen und gehen in ein Freiluftkino in der Stadt. Am Freitag fahre ich mit der Zug nach Heidelberg, um Lena zu besuchen.”

Teaching Assistant Sarah and Yasemin

Morgan Shaw ‘25

This summer Morgan will be staying in his hometown, Chattanooga, Tennessee, waiting tables. 

Daniel Holt ‘25

In late May and early June, Daniel worked as Professor Bork’s research assistant and translated a film script of the documentary by Tilman Bünz, Der SS-Mann und das Mädchen. Der Aufstand im Warschauer Ghetto 1943. (The SS Man and the Girl. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 1943.) The documentary aired on Germany’s TV station ARD in early May and will be made available with English subtitles to the Wesleyan community in the fall.

This summer, Daniel will also be working at a summer day camp before returning to Wesleyan.

A Historical Walking Tour through Hamburg-Blankenese

Wesleyan students Miles Cohen ‘23, Anna Tjeltveit ‘23, Josh DuBois ‘23, and Thoma Mitsuya ’23, who have been studying at Hamburg University with the Smith-Hamburg program since March 2022, joined Professor Bork on a historical walking tour through Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg. They arrived at the S-Bahn station, built in 1867 and located next to Erik Blumenfeld Platz. The location was named after Erik Blumenfeld (1915-1997). As the son of a Jewish father and Danish mother, he was deported to Auschwitz in 1943. Luckily, he survived this death camp and returned to Hamburg. He became a German politician in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the German Bundestag, and the European Parliament.

During the tour, we passed Prof. Bork’s great-grandparents’ former house. Two Stolpersteine remind the passers-by of their deportation to and death in Theresienstadt.


Near the local market, a memorial stone reminds us of eight young men from Blankenese who participated in the 1848 uprising of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1640, Blankenese had become part of the Duchy of Holstein, which was then reigned over by Danish kings for more than 200 years. In the mid-19th century, it was briefly ruled over by Austria, then by Prussia, and since 1938, Blankenese has  been a district of Hamburg.

We continued our walk by then visiting the Hessepark. It is named after George Heinrich Hesse (1785-1861), who was one of the founders of the German Commerzbank. Before him, around 1800, Mr. and Mrs. Klünder lived in what became the Hessepark. Friederike Klünder introduced smallpox vaccination in Blankenese and the surrounding villages by personally vaccinating 2,168 children and adults against the disease.

We then entered the “Treppenviertel” (staircase quarter), with its over 5,000 steps, and descended 150 steps to the river

Elbe on the Strandtreppe. At the bottom is the well-known Strandhotel famous for its two reliefs featuring Hermann and Dorothea from Goethe’s novel of the same title.

Our one-hour long tour continued through Baurs Park, named after the businessman Georg Friedrich Baur (1768-1865), whose manor house was built by the famous Danish architect, Hansen (1756-1845).

Not far from this beautiful park, our tour ended with “Kaffee und Kuchen” on Prof. Bork’s balcony. Miles was exhausted and rested in the Strandkorb.

Wesleyan Students in Hamburg-Blankenese

Jenna Lacey ’21 has been studying at the University of Tübingen since fall 2021. She is pursuing a MA in Public Policy and Social Change. This is a two-year program. She recently received a DAAD scholarship to finance her second year of study.

During her spring break she visited Professor Bork in Hamburg. They took the ferry from Blankenese to Landungsbrücken and visited the Elbphilharmonie, as well as many other interesting sites.








One evening Miles ’23 and Anna ’23 joined them to learn how to cook asparagus. In Germany asparagus is white and needs to be peeled—a painstaking process that is not for the faint of heart.

News about our GRST Majors and Minors

Anna Tjeveit’23, a GRST and ENGL double major, is currently studying at the University of Hamburg through the Smith in Hamburg study abroad program. After finishing her classes in July, she will use the generous funding from the German Studies Department’s Reihlen Fund to do research for her thesis, which is a novella focusing on nature conservation efforts in the GDR. Her novella focuses on a nature- conservation volunteer who struggles to reconcile her work with the government’s increasingly destructive environmental practices. Anna is interested in the way in which we as individuals process environmental destruction and in how concern for nature may or may not translate to political engagement. Through this project, she hopes to study East German perspectives towards nature and environmentalism while illuminating parallels between the GDR’s environmental movement and current international struggles against climate change. Anna will be visiting several cities in the former East-Germany.

Yasemin Schmitt ’24, a GRST and Neuroscience double major, will be volunteering this summer at the New York Blood Center, helping blood donors recover and watching for adverse reactions. In addition, she will be volunteering at Staten Island University Hospital and an Assisted Living Memory Care facility where she will help run activities and visit patients. Starting in July, Yasemin will work as a teaching assistant for a bioinformatics course for high schoolers at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. In her spare time, she plans to practice her German and read many German books. A good for site for practicing German is Deutsch für Dich.

Linus Mao ’23, a GRST and COL major, is spending this summer in Germany, where they is doing research for their senior thesis. Linus has already visited the Walter Benjamin Archive in Berlin, which—as they wrote to Prof. Bork—“was already an unforgettable experience.” Linus will spend three weeks in the Deutsche Literaturarchiv located in Marbach, doing research on the German/English author, W. G. (Max) Sebald. Then Linus will visit Frankfurt to study at the DFF Archive and Study Center, which holds all the archival material of German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This research has been funded by the German Studies Department’s Reihlen Fund. Linus will return to the US in mid-July to do further study and start applying to graduate schools.

Jake Neuffer ‘23, a GRST and CSS double major, received the Reihlen and Davenport grants to doresearch in Berlin this summer. He will be studying the rise of Germany’s military budget in light of the Ukraine conflict and whether the war represents a reconfiguration of the relationship among the German people to nationalism, democracy, and the government. The Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) has offered Jake the position of Guest Scientist to aid in his research.

John Sutherby ’23, a GRST and ECON double major, will be moving to New YorkCity this summer and attend the Deutsche Bank Internship Program in Investment Banking. He is excited about this opportunity as well as living in the Big Apple for the summer and returning for senior year! He is hoping to explore the city and do some weekend trips to New York State and Pennsylvania to do some fishing and hiking as well!


Sofia Khu ’24, a GRST and COL double major, will be interning for the literary journal The Perch. Afterwards she hopes to find work in journalism, and continue to work on her thesis novella which received High Honors.

News From Our Recent Alumni

Several of our GRST majors and minors have been living and studying in Germany this fall. I asked them to share some of their experiences with us. So far, I have received three letters that I would like to share with you. The first letter is from Evelyn Mesler ‘21, who majored in German Studies, Biology, and Data Analysis. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Infection Biology at the Universität zu Lübeck in Lübeck, Germany.

The second letter is from Jenna Lacey ’21. She majored in Government and minored in German Studies. Currently, she is studying Public Policy and Social Change at the University of Tübingen and has good tips for anyone who is thinking about studying in Germany.

There are many ways to go about spending a year or two in Germany after graduation. You might want to apply for a German Exchange scholarship (DAAD) like Evelyn Mesler ’21. If you are a graduate student at Wesleyan, you can also apply for a Baden-Württemberg Exchange scholarship to study and/or do research at one of the nine prestigious universities in Baden-Württemberg. If you are interested in one of these scholarships, please talk to my colleagues in the GRST department, Profs. Ulrich Plass, Martin Bäumel or me (Iris Bork-Goldfield). Another good option—but only for American citizens—to study, research or teach English (ESL) in Germany, is to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. There are also opportunities to teach ESL in Austria with a Fulbright scholarship (USTA).

The third letter is from Patrick Wolff ’21, who is currently living and studying in Göttingen. He received a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship. This scholarship for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a fellowship funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Department of State that annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals between the ages of 18½ and 24 with the opportunity to spend one year in each other’s countries: studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program.

I hope you enjoy their news!

Iris Bork-Goldfield (Adj. Professor of GRST)

Evelyn Mesler’s news from Lübeck

With the help of the German Studies department and particular support from Professor Krishna Winston, I was able to apply for a master’s scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, or DAAD) during the fall of my senior year at Wesleyan. The scholarship from the DAAD unlocked an amazing opportunity to study Infection Biology here in Germany.

As of writing this, I have been in Lübeck for almost two months, and each day feels like a dream. My master’s program is incredibly rigorous- in the first semester alone, I must complete seven classes (and I thought 5 Wesleyan classes was a full schedule: I now feel so naive). But the classes are taught by clinicians, diagnosticians, public health experts, and researchers studying diseases that I find incredibly fascinating, so I feel lucky to attend their lectures. There is a strong network of international students at my university, and I have been able to meet students from all over the world while we do activities like cooking, ice skating, and lantern making for St. Martin’s Day. Next weekend, I am travelling with our international group to Berlin.

The city of Lübeck feels as though it came right out of a storybook: narrow cobblestoned streets with small arches leading to courtyards filled with roses and ivy climbing up old brick buildings. The city itself is an island surrounded by canals, so on sunny days I often walk along the bank and watch rowers pass me by.

Now that Christmas is coming, the city is being transformed into a Weihnachts wonderland. On my street, evergreens line the sidewalk and tinsel, and large toys are suspended across the street from one house window to another. Tonight, is the grand opening of the Weihnachtsmarkt, so some colleagues and I are planning on going together and enjoying spiced Glühwein, Lebkuchen, and probably some bratwursts, too 🙂

I am so grateful to have made it to Germany, and I would never have accomplished this dream without the support and fantastic education I received from Wesleyan and the German Studies department, in particular. I hope to pay their generosity forward and would love to provide other students interested in studying in Germany with help and guidance in their search!

Jenna Lacey’s news from Tübingen

My program here at Tübingen is very research focused and takes a broadly comparative approach to public policy. I’ve been enjoying my classes and cohort so far and living in Germany has been really lovely. I’m soaking up as much of the good public transit as I can. I’ve visited a few castles, eaten Stockbrot, bread baked over a bonfire (like a marshmallow), and been surprised by a bus strike.

Tips for people thinking of studying in Germany

  1. Adjust your study habits: The way classes at German universities tend to work is you attend lectures, you might have to give a presentation at some point for a couple of ECTSs (European Credit Transfer System), and then you have an exam which determines your grade for the class. You might have smaller assignments, but these are usually just graded for completion and part of the requirement to get credit for actually attending and participating in lectures. You also don’t have midterms that force you to solidify your knowledge of the first half of the course, thus cutting down on the number of materials you have to study for your finals. So develop study habits that force you to do this sort of knowledge solidification: write out potential exam questions about that week’s material, get together with friends halfway through the semester and pretend you’re studying for a midterm, etc.
  2. Figure out as much of your general living affairs as you can prior to arriving in Germany. Apply for health insurance early, get a bank account set up early if you can, and if possible, it may be beneficial to apply for your residence permit before you arrive. This isn’t strictly necessary if, by virtue of your citizenship, you’re allowed to enter the country without a permit and then apply for one (this is the case for U.S. citizens), but it may take a lot of stress out of the first couple of months of living in Germany.
  3. Listen to native speech as much as possible. Watch Tagesschau, listen to podcasts (like WesGerman), watch videos on the Easy German YouTube channel. The German classes at Wes are excellent, but at the end of the day your professors are the only native speakers you have contact with on a regular basis. Listening comprehension is extremely important, whether your intended program is completely or partially in German, or you only need German for non-academic settings.

Patrick’s news from Göttingen

Hello! I’m Patrick Wolff (’21) and I’m a member of the 38th CBYX cohort. The 11-month fellowship stresses cultural exchange through three phases: language learning, a semester at a German university, and gaining work experience.

In the first two months I lived in Cologne to attend an intensive language course. Class was Monday-Friday from 9:00-1:00. During my time there I lived with a host family—an essential and highly recommended component of the program—for the purpose of full cultural immersion. In my free time I got to know the other 35 Americans from the program located there. Together we traveled to nearby cities by train and bike, visited museums and concerts, gathered for potluck dinners, played sports and games in the parks, and experienced Cologne’s abundant nightlife.

In October, I moved to my permanent placement in Göttingen, a smaller city in Lower Saxony. Since then, I have attended lectures on the topic of business management at the Georg-August-Universität and I’ve continued my language learning in an upper-level German course. I also volunteer at the kindergarten where my host mom works on days when I don’t have class. I have been fortunate to meet international students through the Erasmus Student Network and German students in my classes, at the Mensa, and in town. Visiting friends and other cities on the weekends is easy with my semester ticket, usually included in the (extremely low) university semester fees.

Currently I am on the search for internships in the Data Analysis and Consulting areas, as in February the semester will come to an end, and I will begin working in one or more positions until late June. Program members are encouraged to stay in their permanent placement cities for the internship phase, although relocation to other cities for work purposes is possible!

If you have any questions about the program, application, or life in Germany in general, I would love to connect! You can reach me here anytime

The Latest News about GRST majors and minors

Eva Mesler ’21 GRST and BIOL double major received honors for her thesis: “A Tale of Two Systems: An Analysis of German and American Healthcare Systems and their Contributions to Coronavirus Death Rates.” The thesis details the historical development of the healthcare systems in both Germany and the United

Patrick Wolff and EvaMesler

States over the course of the late 19th and into the 20th century. It then uses the insights gained from this analysis to compare and explain the variation in German and American responses to the coronavirus, focusing in particular on how each country provided care to those who fell ill. For her excellent work in German Studies, she received the Scott Prize. Eva is also the recipient of a German Academic Exchange Service Fellowship (DAAD), which will enable her to attend the Health Economics Master’s program at the University of Cologne or a similar program at the Technical University in Munich starting this fall.

Patrick Wolff ’21 GRST and ECON double major received the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Fellowship (CBYX). He will embark for Germany in the late summer to attend classes at a German university followed by a six-month internship of his choice.


Jenna Lacey ’21 GRST minor and GOVT major received the John C. Blankenagel Prize for her dedication to studying German language and culture. She has been studying hard to prepare for the C1-German exam that she will have to pass in order to do graduate studies in Germany this or possibly next year.

Alla Kiperman in Vienna, watching the Wesleyan graduation 2021

Alla Kiperman ’21 GRST minor and DANC major took online classes from her home in Vienna, Austria, last semester. She worked along three students from Munich University as Professor Bork-Goldfield’s Teaching Assistant. She met with beginning German students once a week practicing German. As the culmination of her Dance major and German Studies minor at Wesleyan University she has developed a dance theatre piece titled “A Portrait of Jenny.” This is a character exploration based on “Pirate Jenny” from Bertolt Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper or The Threepenny Opera. Alla’s interest in this particular character and play was sparked during her German Studies tutorial with Prof. Bäumel in Spring 2020, which was focused on Brecht and other prominent German playwrights of the 19th and 20th centuries. Challenging Brecht’s alienation effect through the lens of theatre and dance, she was aiming to give Jenny’s character a voice and make her story heard. It is a story of love, lust, pain, abuse, gender violence, betrayal, and overcoming: a story for all the “Jenny’s” among us and within us. Here is a YouTube link to a short teaser trailer of “A Portrait of Jenny“.

Over the summer Alla is planning to continue teaching dance at a local dance studio in Vienna, Austria, participate in various acting and dance workshops, take deep breaths, and enjoy some well-deserved time off with her family and friends.

Julian White ’22  GRST minor and ENGL major was brave enough to become the producer of our WesGerman podcast. He received the Blankenagel Prize for his dedication to German. This summer he will be applying for a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to teach English in Germany.

Iris Sackman ’22 GRST minor and FILM major was interviewed by Anna last month (see below) for the WesGerman podcast. Iris shared her thoughts on writing music and sharing her German song, “…ist es so weit?” (… is it time?)

Anna Tjeltweit

Anna Tjeltveit ’23 GRST and ENGL double major submitted outstanding and really fun music segments for our WesGerman podcast. She received the Prentice Price for her excellent work in German and her many fabulous contributions to the podcast. This summer she will be working as a camp counselor at Waldsee German Language Village, where she will teach German to campers between ages 6-17 using Immersion and Total Physical Response techniques to improve their listening and speaking abilities.

Jake Neuffer

Jake Neuffer ’23 GRST and CSS double major will be working in Bozeman, Montana, where his family is from. While there, he plans on catching up on some reading, going hiking, and doing some writing on politics and fiction. On August 12th he will embark for Berlin, where he will spend a semester at the Duke in Berlin program, improving his German and observing Germany’s election first hand. Lucky him!

Sofia Khu ’22 GRST and COL double major will be taking a virtual class at Humboldt University with a DAAD scholarship this summer. Afterwards, she will be working on her COL thesis, a short novel which

Sofia Khu

she started writing in Charlie Barber’s Longform Narrative class this past semester. It’s a Filipino-American immigration story centered around the relationship between a father and son.

Linus Mao ’23 GRST and COL double major plans to improve their German at the online summer program at the Freie Universität Berlin. Currently they are reading Roland Barthes, whose mourning diary after the death of his mother intrigues them very much.

Tohma Mitsuya ’23 GRST minor, ANTH and COL major will be working construction and landscaping in Big Sky, Montana, with three of his friends. Aside from that, he will also be playing lots of soccer, and basketball. He will go camping and on long hikes while brushing up on his photography. And of course, he will be reading lots of books delving into the classics of postmodern literature.

Bianca Ettinger


Bianca Ettinger ’23 GRST minor and double major in Molecular Biology and Chemistry will be traveling this summer to a small town outside Salzburg, Austria, to stay with her Oma and hopes to visit and explore Vienna and Berlin before  studying abroad next Spring.

Elizabeth Lauffer ’07 in Conversation with Lea Singer

On Wednesday, October 7, 2020 Elisabeth Lauffer ’07 participated in a Zoom discussion,   sponsored by East End Books Ptown, with Lea Singer, the author of Der Klavierschüler –  The Piano Student, which Elisabeth recently translated for New Vessel Press. Singer’s novel draws its inspiration from love letters written by the piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz to his first pupil, Nico Kaufmann. which Singer discovered in a Swiss archive. In 2014 Elisabeth received the Gutekunst Prize for young translators from the Goethe-Institut. Her senior honors thesis at Wesleyan was a translation of Wladimir Kaminer’s Die Reise nach Trulala. Descriptions of her other translations can be found at

Internship Report: My Time at Die Schlumper, by Lily Davis’20

How Studying Abroad Helped me Develop a Cross Cultural Understanding

by Lily Davis ’20

Ever since I was little, I have wanted to explore the world. Whenever an adult would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never really had an answer, except that I wanted to do something where I could travel, get to know different cultures, and feel independent and free. These desires dissipated a bit as I grew up and came to know the importance of a career that provides financial security and that does something to help others, but still I carried with me an eagerness to live in another country and to challenge myself in learning a new language and a new way of living. Now, as I look forward to a future working in psychology, I reflect upon my experience studying abroad in Hamburg, Germany, and how it exposed me to a new and exciting part of the world and provided me with a cross cultural perspective on mental health work.

When I arrived at Wesleyan University in 2016, I thought I had put all language-learning behind me. When I graduated high school, I wanted to get away from every bad German class I had been forced to take there: classes where we skipped important grammar skills and vocabulary, classes where I watched all eight Harry Potter movies dubbed in German with the English subtitles turned on. These classes discouraged me from learning German because they made me feel like I was constantly struggling without any real progress and without feeling that I could hold even the simplest of conversations.

But something surprising happened over the course of my first semester at Wesleyan: I watched my soon-to-be best friend, Hannah, become inspired by her beginner German course. She would come back from every class telling me how much fun it was and how much she was learning in such a short amount of time. I decided then that I would give German another go and enrolled in a language course for the second semester of my freshman year. I had always wanted to study abroad during my time in college, so I decided that this would be the way I would do it. I would study German hard for two and a half years and then go abroad during the spring semester of my Junior year. And you know what? I did just that.

In March of 2019, I flew across the ocean to Hamburg, Germany, to begin my semester abroad. The German university course schedule is set up slightly different from that of American universities, so I ended up taking four courses, each of which only met once a week. This freed up a lot of out-of-the-classroom time that I would not normally have had while studying at Wesleyan, and I was adamant about finding something meaningful to fill that time.

One of the things I was worried about when I decided to study abroad in Hamburg was losing the opportunity to apply for psychology internships and research positions for the summer of 2019. Because the University of Hamburg semester schedule continued into July, I had very little time after taking my final exams before I would be beginning my senior year at the end of August. As a psychology major, post-graduate fellowships and graduate school programs are very selective, and summer research experiences and internships help to make a student look like a competitive candidate. Because of the timeline of the Hamburg study abroad program, I was worried about not being able to gain that kind of experience with my shortened summer break. In an effort to find something to do during my free time, I reached out to my German Studies Professor at Wesleyan, Professor Iris Bork, and asked if she knew of any psychology-related internships or volunteer work that I could do in Hamburg. I was in luck! Frau Bork wrote me back to tell me that her father works as the treasurer for an artists’ group in Hamburg called Die Schlumper.

Die Schlumper was founded in 1980 by a Hamburg-native artist named Rolf Laute who was inspired by the art he saw being produced by the residents of the Alsterdorf institute for the handicapped. The name, Die Schlumper, comes from the name of the street on which the artists’ first studio was located: Beim Schlump.[1] Today, Die Schlumper is run by the artistic director and daughter of Rolf Laute, Anna Pongs-Laute, and includes around 30 handicapped adults who come together almost every day to work on different artistic endeavors, from charcoal drawing to acrylic painting to crocheting to linoleum printmaking. The mission of Die Schlumper is to provide a space where disabled adults can come together to create artistic works freely and independently. There is an inspiring atmosphere at the studio, one of community and creativity as well as a sense of artistic seriousness. In 1985, Die Schlumper became sponsored by an organization called “Freunde der Schlumper” (in English, “Friends of the Schlumpers) and the by the Hamburg Ministry for Labor, Health, and Social Welfare in 1993, and now it has a permanent studio and gallery in an old Hamburg meatpacking hall.[2]

Another project associated with Die Schlumper is called Die Schule der Schlumper (in English: The Schlumper School). This project began in 1995 as an idea to decorate the Louise Schroeder School in the Altona district of Hamburg.[3] This project was born as a collaboration between Die Schlumper artists and the students of this school. Named after Louise Dorothea Schroeder, an early twentieth-century politician for the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Louise Schroeder School is a primary school for both handicapped and neurotypical students.[4] As part of Die Schule der Schlumper, school children visit Die Schlumper studio, working both independently and with the adult artists on various artistic projects.[5] This program not only allows the students to take part in artistic work, but it also exposes them to mentally and physically disabled individuals in an effort to reduce the negative stigma that surrounds them. Die Schule der Schlumper is a very important part of Die Schlumper program and works to integrate the artists’ work into the wider Hamburg community.

In 2002, Die Schlumper began a partnership with the Alsterdorf Evangelical Foundation. Alsterdorf provides aid to people with varying different disabilities. A quote from their website says, “Unser Ziel ist, dass jeder Mensch in seinem Sozialraum ein selbstbestimmtes und eigenständiges Leben führen kann. Dazu gehört auch die gleichberechtigte Teilnahme am gesellschaftlichen Leben im Stadtteil” (Our goal is that every person can lead a self-determined and independent life in their social space. This involves equitable participation in social life in the community).[6] This partnership with the Alsterdorf Evangelical Foundation provides financial support to Die Schlumper so that the artists can continue to work in their studio.

Die Schlumper is a unique organization in that it provides a space for handicapped adults to work every weekday on independent artistic projects which are then displayed in various gallery exhibits and sold to customers. The work produced by the artists of Die Schlumper is taken very seriously in the Hamburg artist community and beyond, and it receives the same treatment as the work of any other artist. The treatment of Die Schlumper artists’ work is an incredible demonstration of the power of the legitimization and authentication of art. Die Schlumper strives towards the destigmatization of disability through the respect and seriousness with which the organization handles their artists’ work.

Around the world, disabled people are mistreated, ignored, and ridiculed. An article titled “America Still Leaves the Disabled Behind” outlines the ways that disabled people are discriminated against in the United States.[7] The United States has made a lot of progress in policymaking to protect against this discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and guarantees equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, state and local government services, and telecommunications.”[8] But still, there continues to be existing societal ideologies that see disabled people as lesser than abled people. There are similar articles circulating through the internet about the treatment of disabled people all across Europe, but there has been an obvious effort more recently to destigmatize disability in Germany. A Deutsche Welle article from March of this year stated that German lawmakers are working to rewrite terms that are used in the penal code to talk about disability.[9] Terms such as “mentally perverted” and “mentally weak” still exist in German penal code to describe people with mental handicaps, and now there is an effort being made to replace these terms and others like them with more inclusive and sensitive language. Destigmatization is such an important part of disability inclusivity and is necessary for changing the way the world thinks about disabled people. Part of the work of Die Schlumper follows this mission. Die Schlumper as an organization treats their artists’ work with the seriousness and authenticity deserved by any and all artists, regardless of disability. It supports the idea that all people and all artwork should be treated with kindness and inclusivity.

In 2014, Die Schlumper opened an inclusive art exhibit in which they displayed artwork made by members of the group alongside the work of neurotypical artists from Hamburg. This group exhibition was titled Outdoor and showed artwork that depicted themes of the outdoors, including scenes in nature and in urban environments.[10] Here, the works of Die Schlumper artists were displayed side by side with other international artists in a space where they could be enjoyed and respected by all. This is a beautiful example of Die Schlumper’s efforts to work with their community and to hold the art of their members up to the same standard as work by all other artists.

One thing among many that makes Die Schlumper such a special and important organization is its global reach. Around the world, there are projects inspired by Die Schlumper, from the United States to Australia to Italy. Project Onward is an art program that began in Chicago in 2004. It provides a space for adult artists with mental illness and other mental and physical disabilities to create and exhibit their art. Project Onward includes very different types of artists, from self-taught artists who have autism to formally-trained artists who have bipolar disorder.[11] It is very similar to Die Schlumper in its mission and values and currently serves around 60 artists. A statement from the Project Onward website claims that “[they] exist to give artists with disabilities a ‘visual voice’ to tell their stories and change the perceptions of the world.”[12]

Down in the Southern Hemisphere, Studio A based in Sydney, Australia, is another program that supports the artistic endeavors of intellectually disabled people. Studio A serves a community of artists by offering studio and exhibit spaces and by working towards destigmatizing disability and increasing inclusion and diversity in the social and professional spheres.[13]

Die Schlumper has also exhibited its artists’ work in cities around the world. In 2008, Die Schlumper opened an exhibit in Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art) in San Gimignano, Italy, titled “Die Schlumper in Italien” (“Die Schlumper in Italy”). In 2003, Die Schlumper opened an exhibit in Chicago that displayed its own members’ artwork together with art from other international programs for people with disabilities.[14] This exhibit was titled “Coming Together,” and it ran for three months at the Chicago Cultural Center.[15] “Die Schlumper in Italy” and “Coming Together” presented the artwork of Die Schlumper artists to an international audience and increased awareness of disabled artists. Project Onward, Studio A, and Die Schlumper’s international exhibits suggest that the mission and values of Die Schlumper have travelled from Hamburg to different locations around the globe, inspiring organizations and programs to follow suit and to recognize the beauty of art created by disabled people who have historically been ignored, marginalized, and not taken seriously.

After spending about a month getting to know the city of Hamburg and working on my German, I met with Frau Bork and her father to attend a meeting with Anna Pongs-Laute at Die Schlumper. Anna showed me around the studio where the artists worked either at large, communal tables or in individual stalls.

While in Die Schlumper studio, there is always something to look at. Beautiful works of art adorn every wall, and there are constantly people moving about, gathering more materials for their next project or engaged in lengthy conversations about what they did over the weekend. A sense of love and community always permeated throughout the studio, and I could sense it whenever I stepped through the doors. Every morning the staff and the artists of Die Schlumper would sit together for breakfast and coffee or tea before each making their way to the workstation to begin their day. I would wander around the studio, refilling paint cans, fetching more water, sharpening pencils, and making conversation whenever the opportunity arose. There was one older man who spent his time drawing large colorful scenes with oil crayons. He would always greet me excitedly and talk about what food I had been eating recently; how much it cost, what was in season, what my favorite was. One woman would often sit quietly, sketching out portraits in pencil before going over them in acrylic paint while I prompted her about how she was and how her project was coming along. As a student learning to speak German, something I found extremely helpful during my internship at Die Schlumper was the time and space that it allowed me to strike up casual and simple conversations with the artists there. While I was often intimidated and nervous about speaking in German, at Die Schlumper I found that I could actively participate in conversations about food, painting, or my weekend, which helped me to make strides in my conversational German skills. Whenever I stumbled or misunderstood something while speaking to the artists, I was not laughed at, and there was no big deal made, rather, the conversation moved right along. Also, as a student living in a big city for six months, I did not find it very easy to form relationships. At Die Schlumper, there was always a friendly face, always a loud “Guten Morgen!”, and always someone who was excited to chat with me. On my last day at Die Schlumper, the older man who liked to talk about food with me began to cry when he heard that my weekly visits were coming to an end. He gave me a big hug and said that he would miss me. Among the relationships I made while I was living abroad, these are some that I will treasure forever.

My internship at Die Schlumper provided me with both a social space to practice my German and a hands-on experience working with intellectually disabled adults. This is something that, even as a third-year psychology student, I had not encountered before. This internship prepared me for future jobs in psychology, including working at a summer camp for intellectually and socially disabled children as well as the post-graduate clinical psychology fellowship at Mclean Hospital that I was recently offered. At Die Schlumper, I was able to observe what types of situations made some of the artists worked up and anxious and what situations calmed them. Often, I saw that the most helpful thing I could do was sit with them and listen to what they had to say. I witnessed the kindness, selflessness, and hard work of Die Schlumper staff as they worked to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere that cultivated artistic work.

At Die Schlumper I also experienced a variety of psychological phenomena and treatments in an international context that I had previously learned about as a psychology student. These observations provided me with a cross cultural perspective on psychology and mental health that I took back with me to Wesleyan. I believe it is so critical to use a cross cultural perspective to think about all areas of academic study in order to understand beliefs, values, and practices that may be different from one’s own. In psychology, it is both fascinating and progressive to compare the many different approaches to mental health care and disability used around the world, and my internship with Die Schlumper really allowed me to begin to do this.

When reflecting back on my time studying in Hamburg, I think about all the new friends I made, the places I explored, and the things I learned. Beyond the progress I made with my German language skills, I also learned to have courage and that one must take advantage of the surrounding world. My internship at Die Schlumper was an important part of my personal development during my time in Hamburg, and I believe that it really equipped me with important ways of thinking and being as I head into my future career.


[1] Frank Kübler, “The Schlumper: Studio.” Die Schlumper: Studio. Accessed April 20, 2020.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Frank Kübler, “The Schlumper School The Louise Schroeder School and ‘Die Schlumper.’” Die Schlumper: School. Accessed April 20, 2020.

[4] “Unsere Grundsätze.” Louise Schroeder Schule, June 27, 1970.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf : Assistenz.” Alsterdorf, January 14, 2020.

[7] Ananya Bhattacharya and Heather Long. “America Still Leaves the Disabled Behind.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, July 26, 2015.

[8] “Employment Laws: Disability & Discrimination.” Publications – Employment Laws: Disability & Discrimination – Office of Disability Employment Policy – United States Department of Labor. US Department of Labor. Accessed April 20, 2020.

[9] Douglas, Elliot. “Germany Set to Oust ‘Stigmatizing’ Terms around Disability from Penal Code.” DW. DW, March 11, 2020.

[10] Frank Kübler, “Outdoor – The Schlumper Gallery.” Die Schlumper: 2014. Accessed May 16, 2020.

[11] “About Project Onward.” Project Onward. Accessed April 20, 2020.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “About Studio A.” Studio A. Accessed April 20, 2020.

[14] “Coming Together.” MCA. Accessed May 16, 2020.

[15] Ibid.



“About Project Onward.” Project Onward. Accessed April 20, 2020.

“About Studio A.” Studio A. Accessed April 20, 2020.

Bhattacharya, Ananya, and Heather Long. “America Still Leaves the Disabled Behind.”

CNNMoney. Cable News Network, July 26, 2015.

Douglas, Elliot. “Germany Set to Oust ‘Stigmatizing’ Terms around Disability from Penal Code.” DW, March 11, 2020.

“Employment Laws: Disability & Discrimination.” Publications – Employment Laws: Disability & Discrimination – Office of Disability Employment Policy – United States Department of Labor. US Department of Labor. Accessed April 20, 2020.

Kübler, Frank. “Outdoor – The Schlumper Gallery.” Die Schlumper: 2014. Accessed May 16, 2020.

———. “The Schlumper School The Louise Schroeder School and ‘Die Schlumper.’” DieSchlumper: School. Accessed April 20, 2020.

———.“The Schlumper: Studio.” Die Schlumper: Studio. Accessed April 20, 2020.

“Unsere Grundsätze.” Louise Schroeder Schule, June 27, 1970. https://louise-schroederschule.hamb

Open Letter to our GRST Seniors

Department of German Studies
Dr. Iris Bork-Goldfield
Adj. Professor of German Studies, Chair

May 18, 2020

Dear Binxin, Scott, Hannah, Thomas, Mathias, Lily, and Charlie,

Before you officially graduate on May 24, 2020, Uli Plass, Martin Bäumel, and I would like to congratulate you on your many wonderful achievements. I count myself as lucky to have had you in one or more classes during your time here at Wesleyan on your way to becoming more proficient in German. The last few weeks were challenging for all of us, but we managed—on some days better than on others. But you did it, you finished all your requirements! Although the future is somewhat uncertain, we have no doubt that you all will move on to many other exciting opportunities. We wish all of you the very best and hope you will stay in touch with us here at Wesleyan.

I would like to put some information about you, your accomplishments, and future plans on our German Studies blog. If you have not done so already, could you please send me a paragraph or two about your future plans, anything that you would like to share, AND a picture of yourself? Here is a link to a previous blog entry:

Vielen Dank im Voraus, alles Gute und nochmals herzlichen Glückwunsch.

Binxin, thank you for having been such a wonderful German Haus manager and dedicated student. I will miss our lively discussions in my office. Congratulations on receiving the well-deserved Blankenagel prize! I am looking forward to reading your senior thesis, “Im Geheimnis der Begegnung – Poetics, Ossification, and Reading in Rilke and Celan,” which discusses, to quote Uli Plass, “the poetry of Rilke and Celan in light of their own poetics, that is, in light of how these poets conceive of their poetry in relation to the poetic tradition and conventions they inherit.” Congratulations on being admitted to Columbia University’s Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program this fall.

Scott, thank you for your enthusiasm and good humor. I especially enjoyed our tutorial on the Bauhaus last fall when we were still allowed to meet face-to-face and traveled to New York and Bethel together with our class to explore Bauhaus art. You received two Reihlen grants to help with your research in Germany for your senior thesis, “Utopian Longing: Space and the Production of Affect in the Work of Toni Schwabe.” Toni Schwabe, as Martin Bäumel wrote, was “a fascinating writer between neoromantic kitsch and explorations of gender norms” who “would probably be forgotten were it not for Thomas Mann’s review of one of her novels.” Congratulations on your thesis which—together with Binxin’s is one of the items on my summer reading list. I hope you will be able to move to Germany soon to start your DAAD fellowship at Konstanz University.

Hannah, thank you for all your insightful and thoughtful discussions throughout the years and for introducing us to the graphic novel Kinderland in our GDR seminar. You received a Reihlen grant that enabled you to return to Hamburg last year and interview my parents and Jutta Gutzeit (director of the Smith in Hamburg program) among others as background for writing the screenplay “On Belongings,” about a German family moving to Arizona in the 1970’s.  I truly enjoyed reading the Drehbuch and working with you on the translations for parts of it. Now, I only hope that one day we will see the story of the Frühlings and the Kaplans on-screen.

Thomas, thank you for your perseverance and thoughtful contributions in class. I still remember you, as freshman, entering the beginning German classroom with your skateboard under your arm.  I enjoyed the times we met during your study abroad in Hamburg and the various discussions in German in my GDR seminar this spring. You mentioned that you might be doing something with Web design this summer, and I hope you will find what you are looking for.

Mathias, thank you for your many superb contributions in our GDR seminar this spring and your final paper on poetry and its role in the former GDR. This fall, you will continue your studies at Columbia University in pursuit of a Master’s degree in European history, politics, and society regarding the development of Europe. I hope the German you learned at Wesleyan will come in handy.

Lily, thank you for sharing the experience you gained while interning at Die Schlumper in Hamburg last year. Die Schlumper, and I quote you, “is a unique organization in that it provides a space for handicapped adults to work every weekday on independent artistic projects which are then displayed in various gallery exhibits and sold to customers.” I was happy to learn that the internship not only helped you with your German and making new friends, but also with furthering your career in Psychology. Congratulations on being admitted to a two-year Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Fellowship Program at the Simches Center of Excellence in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at McLean Hospital.

Charlie, thank you for coming to my office in the fall to declare a GRST minor. I have pleasant recollections of the boat ride from Hamburg harbor to Blankenese, when you interviewed me for a course you were taking at Hamburg University last summer.

Viele Grüße und vor allem—bleiben Sie alle gesund! Das ist jetzt das Wichtigste.

Iris Bork-Goldfield

Willkommen Katharina Bueschler, German TA

Katharina Bueschler

The German Department welcomes our Teaching Assistant Katharina Bueschler to the department. She will teach the Oral Practice Sessions for GRST 101 Beginning German and help organize German events on campus.

Katharina comes to us from Hamburg, Germany, where she studies British and American Studies at Hamburg University. She has been a long-time Scout and has travelled to many European countries with her group. We are excited that she brings her group leadership to Wesleyan.

Last summer, she met our five Wesleyan students who were studying at the Smith in Hamburg program and toured Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg, with them and Professor Bork.

First row from left to right: Ana Alejo, Lily Davis, Grace Lopez, Thomas Donovan, Prof. Bork, Katharina Bueschler

Katharina’s hobbies are, but not limited to, hiking, singing, and traveling. She enjoys eating  Shakshuka, Lasagna, “Rote Grütze”, and “Franzbrötchen”. Some of her favorite musicians include Clueso and First Aid Kit, and Danube’s Banks.

Why Study German at Wesleyan?

Meet some of our German Studies Alums!

Adam Baltner ’13  I was interested in philosophy when I came to Wesleyan and figured it would be a good idea to take some German classes so that I could read important source texts in their original form. Little did I know how much that decision would influence my future. Having enjoyed my intro language classes so much, I studied abroad in the spring of my sophomore year and declared German as a second major (in addition to College of Letters). After graduating I moved to Austria to teach high-school English through a Fulbright-affiliated fellowship. Not quite ready to return to the US after that, I subsequently did a Master of Arts in German at the University of Vienna, a degree program for which the Wes German department prepared me brilliantly. I’ve since stayed in Vienna and returned to working as a high-school English teacher at a bilingual school in the city, but on the side, I’m putting my academic German skills to good use as a professional translator, mostly of texts written in the critical social sciences and humanities. If you have questions, just email me.

Caroline Adams ’19  I double-majored in German and American Studies. Some of my favorite German classes included “Forward, without Forgetting: The GDR in Literature and Film” and “Deutschland Multikulti: Expressions of Germany’s Cultural Diversity.” In the summer before my senior year, I worked as a research assistant for Professor Iris Bork-Goldfield on the topics of family history and German-Jewish migration to Brooklyn in the mid-nineteenth century. The German department’s Reihlen fund enabled me to conduct research for my senior thesis, “Imagining Indianer: Karl May’s Winnetou and Germans’ Enduring Fantasies about Native Americans.” Currently, I am enrolled in a Master program in American Studies at Brown University. Questions? Just send me an email.

Wy Ming Lin ’16  I majored in German Studies and Neuroscience and Behavior. After Wes, I wanted to do something with both majors, so what better way to combine the two than by moving to Germany and pursuing some research opportunities? That’s exactly what I did through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals where I had the chance to spend a year in Leipzig. I did an internship at the Max Planck Institute there and worked with some amazing and brilliant neuroscientists who convinced me to keep studying in Germany. Currently, I am doing my MA in Tübingen and plan on continuing on with a PhD in Germany! I’ll be happy to answer any questions just email me.

Christina Sickinger ’18  I double majored in German Studies andEconomics. I studied abroad in Berlin during the fall of my junior year. Now, I am living in New York City, where I work as a municipal credit analyst at Aberdeen Standard Investments. My team manages funds of municipal bonds, which provide local governments with money for infrastructure and other community needs. I continue to enjoy reading German literature (and drinking German beer) in my spare time. Questions, just send me an email.

Carter Dean ’18  I graduated from CSS and German Studies. German Studies, with its wide breadth of courses in film, literature and politics, compliments CSS’ focus on history and social theory with a more specific survey of German culture and history. In retrospect, minoring in German Studies also gave me the language skills crucial for my post-grad life: I’ve moved to Cologne, Germany for research and graduate school. All in all, the department’s professors are as patient as they are generous with their time and guidance. I would gladly speak to any prospective GRST students, especially if they are considering balancing an intensive program like CSS with a minor or double-major. Questions? Just email me.

Anna Apostolidis ’19  I graduated with a double major in Anthropology and German Studies and a certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. I wrote my thesis about the Humboldt-Forum, a new museum in Berlin, and the politics of remembering German colonial history through the lens of the museum. Through funding from the German Department, I was able to travel to Berlin for a month to study the museum. I am currently working at Covey Law in New York City, a firm that provides legal aid to artists and musicians who are applying for visas to work on the US. The research experience and the knowledge I gained about the arts and international cultural exchange through the combination of the German Studies and Anthropology programs helped prepare me for this exciting opportunity. I hope to eventually pursue a PhD in Anthropology. Questions? Just send me an email.

Madalene Smith-Huemer ’14 I studied German and History at Wesleyan, with a focus on European intellectual history. After graduating, I worked in the Office of External Relations at the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC. In May, I graduated from the M.S. in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University. Currently, I am living in San Francisco, where I work as an Executive with the global communications advisory Brunswick Group. Questions? Just send me an email.

Jack Guenther ’18 After leaving Wesleyan in Spring 2018, I entered the PhD program in history at Princeton University. The ideas for my doctoral research began in the Wesleyan German Studies Department: studying abroad in Hamburg, in fact. Those ideas took further shape in a joint history, COL, and German Studies senior thesis with Professors Bork-Goldfield and Grimmer-Solem. My research on globalization and migration takes me both Germany and elsewhere–this summer it was Buenos Aires. A year from now, I will begin teaching courses down in Princeton, and I will spend the two years thereafter in Germany and Latin America, completing my dissertation research. Questions? Just send me an email.

LATEST NEWS: Lizzie Whitney ‘19 (GRST/COL) won a DAAD-Stipendium and will be starting at the Universität Konstanz in its MA program, Kulturelle Grundlagen Europas, in October 2019. Questions, just email her.

Click here for more information on our Alumi/ae careers.

Study abroad at our favorite program in Hamburg

The Smith program in Hamburg was the most rewarding experience, both academically and personally, in my life. The program challenged me to engage with people and the world around me in ways I never thought imaginable. I arrived in Hamburg timid, a little anxious, and with broken German (to put it nicely) and left with a newfound confidence in myself and my language skills. The Hamburg program offers the amenities and excitement of a big city with a strong support system to help guide you along the way.”  Scott Walkinshaw ’20 Questions? Send me an email.

Hannah Cooper ’20 “I’m a senior Film and German double major, and I spent my sophomore spring abroad in Hamburg. I went on the program to improve my languages skills, which definitely happened. But I also unintentionally focused my studies on a period in German history that ended up informing my thesis for the Film major. The language and history classes I took with the Smith program were great—small class sizes and really wonderful professors. The fact that the program itself was small as well meant I was able to get so much support from the administration, whether it was academic help or getting to know the city or any other advice I needed.” Questions? Send me an email.

Lily Davis ’20, I knew I always wanted to study abroad in college, but what I didn’t know was what a life-changing experience studying abroad in Hamburg would be! I am a Psychology and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies double major with a minor in German Studies. At the University of Hamburg, I was able to find courses I wanted to take in all of my academic interests, and learned so much about German culture and history. I also volunteered at an art collective in Hamburg called “Die Schlumper” that works with people with special needs, and I had so many great experiences through that. While abroad, my language skills improved exponentially, and I met amazing people from all around the world. Questions? Just email me!

German Studies Majors and Minors News

Adam Rashkoff Baltner ’13 (GRST major) has been living in Vienna for the past few years. From 2013-2015, he taught English at two high schools in Vorarlberg, Austria. He then worked for another year as an English teacher at a technical school in Vienna. Since 2015, he has been in a Master’s program in the Department of German at the University of Vienna. He just finished all his course work and is currently writing his thesis. Adam recently published an article about the teacher strikes in the United States which was published on the Austrian political blog Mosaik.

Adam is married and will become a father in October.

Madalene Smith-Huemer ’14 (GRST/HIST major) has been pursuing an M.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University and is spending the summer working at an anti-human-trafficking NGO in Belgrade, Serbia, called Atina. Her work includes helping to teach German at the refugee camps near Belgrade and designing and writing a guidebook for Serbian employers on how to hire refugees.

Wy Ming Lin ’16 (GRST/NS&B) is currently working at a psychology research lab at New York University following his year-long stay in Cologne and Leipzig through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. Wy Ming will be moving to Germany in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in Neural and Behavioral Science at the University of Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg. He is looking forward to speaking German again, enjoying some German beer, and visiting friends around the country!

Philip Katz

Philip Katz ‘17 (GRST/HIST) is planning to apply to law school in the fall while continuing to work as a paralegal in New York.

Carter Deane ’18 (CSS major and GRST minor) will be spending this summer working at a restaurant before moving to Köln with the support of DAAD’s 10-month Research Fellowship. The latter will allow him to continue his research on the legal history and current status of Islamic religious groups that remain unacknowledged by the government of Nordrhein-Westfalen. His research will be centered around recently unsealed documents in the State archive which detail the first application for official status and rights by an Islamic religious community. This first application, like all those that followed, was ultimately rejected by the State.

Jack (Hans) Guenther

Jack Guenther ’18 (GRST, HIST, COL) received high honors for his honors thesis, “‘Gateway to the World’: Hamburg and the Global German Empire.” He graduated with University Honors, received the Blankenagel Prize and Robbins Memorial Prize, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Jack has received a full scholarship for a 5-year Ph.D. program in history at Princeton University. This summer he will return to Hamburg, Germany to do more research at the Warburg Archive.

Katherine Peterson

Katherine Paterson ’18 (THEA/ENVS and GRST minor) completed an honors thesis in Theater this year called (at)tend, which explores urban farming and theater as sites of coming together and building community. The thesis included a performance component which involved building a greenhouse and growing vegetables. This year, Katherine received the Outreach and Community Service Award from the Theater Department and the Sophie and Anne Reed Prize for the best poem/group of poems. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. Future plans include touring with a production of up your aesthetic in July. up your aesthetic, a former Wesleyan theater capstone project, premiered in the Theater Studio in the spring of 2017. The show is touring in upstate New York, Vermont, Philadelphia, and ending at the Capital Fringe Festival in DC. If you are in the area, please come see it! After the tour, Katherine plans to continue working in the theater, eventually making the move to New York City in the fall. Hopefully German will find a way into these plans as well!

Sophia Shoulson

Sophia Shoulson ’18 (GRST/COL) received high honors for her thesis, “All Tales Are True.” She received the Prentice Prize and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. After graduation, she will work at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA.

Christina Sickinger

Christina Sickinger ’18 (GRST/ECON) received the Scott Prize for her work in German Studies, the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award, and she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. She is working for Aberdeen Standard Investments in Manhattan.

Chris Steidl


Chris Steidl ’18 (GRST/HIST) will be moving to Boston in September to do nonprofit work! Still up in the air is what that work will be, but he is as always optimistic and open for whatever comes.

Caroline Adams ’19 (GRST/AMST) will be living in Brooklyn this summer where she conducts research for Professor Bork about family history and German-Jewish immigration during the 19th century. She will also be delving into research for her own German Studies senior thesis about Karl May’s indianer novels and their impact on modern cultural perceptions of indigenous life in German culture. Additionally, she is taking a class at Brooklyn College and learning for the first time how to navigate the New York subway system! She is very excited to pursue this research with the generous help and support from the Helmut und Erika Reihlen fund, Professor Bork, Professor Winston and the German Studies department! She is looking forward to a wonderful, wonderful, German-centric summer!

Anna Apostolidis ’19 (GRST/ANTH) received the Blankenagel Prize and a scholarship from the GRST Helmuth and Erika Reihlen Fund to support her research in Berlin this summer. Anna will be spending four weeks in Germany’s capital where she will conduct archival research on the Humboldt-Forum’s planning, looking at correspondence and records of buildings and exhibits.

Lizzie Whitney

Lizzie Whitney ’19 (GRST/COL) will be spending part of her summer in Hamburg and Berlin. In preparation for her honors thesis, she will see as many plays as she can and explore how classic German texts are performed and reinterpreted in the contemporary sociopolitical climate. For her research project, she received funding from the GRST Helmuth and Erika Reihlen Fund.


Lily Davis ’20 (FGSS/PSYCH major and GRST minor) will be interning at an organization called Environment Oregon. She is working on a campaign to keep plastic out of the Pacific Ocean and keep our planet safe.


Will Bellamy ’19 (GRST/ENGL), Hannah Cooper ’20 (GRST/FILM), and Scott Walkinshaw ’20 (GRST/COL) are currently studying with the Smith program in Hamburg. Karen and Julia from Smith College the Hamburg program director, Jutta Gutzeit, together with Wesleyan students Will, Hannah, and Hendrik recently visited Professor Bork in Hamburg-Blankenese. After a walking tour through this picturesque village on the Elbe River, they relaxed for a few hours on Frau Bork’s balcony with Kaffee und Kuchen. As the German semester is still in session, they are busy studying before they can ultimately relax and enjoy their well-deserved vacation.

Will is currently also collecting material for his honors thesis. He is planning to write about the Austrian writer Elfriede Gerstl (1932-2009).

Hannah has been focusing this semester has been on improving her language skills and exploring German culture and history in the decades following the Second World War. She’s looking forward to returning to Wesleyan in the fall to continue her studies.

Carter Deane ’18 wins DAAD scholarship

Carter Deane has been awarded the prestigious DAAD fellowship to spend next year in Köln.

This year we mark the 35th anniversary of Wesleyan’s sesquicentennial, on which occasion the then director of the DAAD in New York, Manfred Stassen, made Wesleyan a Partner-Universität. Manfred had taught in the College of Letters before going to the DAAD. He died in February in Bonn at the age of 78.