Foreign Languages

2000-2002 Profiles

Erika Rose Cramton Barnes  ('00)
Ms. Barnes was born and raised in Hillsdale, Michigan, moved to Cookeville in 1995, and is a graduate of Cookeville High School (1997). In the summer of 1998 she studied French in Angers, France at CIDEF for six weeks. Previous to that she had traveled to France for a three-week tour with her high school French Club (1996). While at Tennessee Tech she waited tables at O'Charley's and Shoney's and worked for the Department of Foreign Languages. She also worked as a French interpreter at ITI Worldwide in Cookeville. Ms. Barnes graduated with two degrees, magna cum laude, and she is the first graduate of the new program in World Cultures and Business. In May 2001 she completed an M.B.A. at Tennessee Tech and shortly thereafter married Jason Barnes. She began Law School at Vanderbilt University in Fall 2001.

Cason Griffin ('00)
Mr. Griffin is a 1994 graduate of White County High School. He received his two degrees from Tennessee Tech magna cum laude. In 2000-2001 he was a graduate student in engineering at Auburn University. He is currently an industrial engineer for the Department of the Army at Fort Benning, Georgia 31901.

Angel Rabelo ('00)
Ms. Rabelo's plans were to teach Spanish at the high school level.

Mary Margaret Webb Sprinkle ('00)
Ms. Sprinkle is a 1996 honors graduate of Springfield High School in Robertson County. As a member of the Tennessee Tech Honors Program she earned her B.S. in World Cultures and Business cum laude in cursu honorum. While in her senior year in high school she also took courses at Volunteer State Community College. During her studies at Tennessee Tech she also took a few courses at Austin Peay State University and French courses through Wayne State University.

Laura Elizabeth Barnes LaPrad ('00)
Born in Nashville, Ms. Laprad is a 1996 graduate of McMinn County High School. From 1996 to 1998 she attended The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. She spent Summer 2000 studying at the Université Laval in Quebec, Canada and in December 2000 she received her B.A. in French magna cum laude. In November 2000 she wrote that she was working for Acuity Marketing in Franklin, TN, a publishing/marketing company -- a job she really enjoyed.

Her current employment is as the Independent Living Activities Director, Blakeford at Green Hills.

Monica Guzmán Nelson ('00)
Mrs. Nelson is a graduate of Andrew Jackson H.S., took courses at Delgado Community College and the University of New Orleans in Louisiana. She came to Tennessee Tech after completing work at Columbia State Community College. In January 2001 Mrs. Nelson began working for Setech in Murfreesboro. Setech is an integrated inventory management company that owns and maintains indirect materials and parts for companies such as Delphi, Sara Lee, and General Motors. It has 19 sites throughout the U.S. and two in Mexico with a third one in the planning stages.

In March 2001 she wrote: "I was originally hired to do data entry, but when Setech found out I was a Spanish major they immediately put me to work on some translation work and last month they sent me to Reynosa, Mexico for a week to help with translating job procedures. I am having a nice time but I am missing having students and learning through teaching."

Not to worry! In Fall 2001 Monica began a new job as a teacher of English as a Second Language for the Rutherford County (TN) School System at Smyrna H.S. and Blackman H.S.

In 2002 she married Ben Nelson, a mechanical engineering graduate of Tennessee Tech with a minor in German. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson moved to Würzburg, Germany where Mr. Nelson works for SiemensVDO. After living in Germany for 3 years, Mrs. Nelson learned the language and became so immersed in german culture that she wanted to stay indefinitely, but in 2004 Mr. Nelson's job took them to Shanghai, China. Their son Diego Guzmán Nelson was born in Shanghai in 2005. Although she is busy as a home-maker in Shanghai, Mrs. Nelson also teaches English part-time to elementary school students in Shanghai. Her ESL training at Tennessee Tech has been a great asset to her in this regard. Currently they still live in Shanghai and are trying hard to learn Mandarin.

Meredith Jenkins McMahan ('00)
Mrs. McMahan was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and raised in Lawrenceburg, a small town in the southern part of Middle Tennessee. She is a graduate of Lawrence Co. H.S. and took summer courses at Columbia State Community College and Chattanooga State Technical Community College before coming to Tennessee Tech. She studied Spanish in Spain for six weeks in Granada, Andalucia, Spain in the summer of 2000. She also spent the summer of 1992 in Saltillo, México as a high school student. As a member of ABUSUA, Tennessee Tech's West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, she has been to Ghana, West Africa, twice. Since January 2001 Mrs. McMahan has been the Spanish teacher at White County High School in Sparta. She is also teaching night courses to adults interested in learning Spanish. She has a class of nurses in McMinnville and another class in Sparta. Her future plans include graduate school ("hopefully at the University of Wisconsin, Madison") for graduate work in Spanish Education, ESL, and Ethnomusicology. Mrs. McMahan's parents are MaryLynn and Jim Jenkins, residents of Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

As of Fall 2006 Mrs. McMahan is teaching Spanish at Southern High School in Anne Arundel County Schools in Harwood, Maryland, where she and her husband have both teaching positions.

In Fall 2001 Mrs. McMahan wrote: "Tennessee Tech's Department of Foreign Languages is such a wonderful environment in which to nurture and develop a passion for foreign language and a proficiency in your subject area. I learned so much from all of my professors, and even from the professors I never had in class!! The Department is so close-knit that you feel like you are a part of a family. The saddest part about being a part of the Department is graduation! I miss my professors so much and wish I had more time to come and visit the Department which made me the educator I am today! I would like to thank Dr. Campana, Dr. Kintz, Dr Fernández, Dr. Laurila, Dr. Hays, Dr. Viera, Ms. Shettlesworth, Mr. Heina, Dr. Evans, and Mrs. Venable, who helped me through school and made my experience such a fantastic adventure. I miss you all and think of you often!"

In February 2007 Mrs. McMahan wrote: "My husband, Chris, is now band and orchestra director at Glen Burnie H.S. in Glen Burnie, MD. We are both very busy in our new city of Annapolis, but love our jobs and our new home. No kids yet, but the latest additions to our family are two adorable Bichon Frisé puppies that we absolutely love. We miss everyone in Tennessee! Hope all is well at Tennessee Tech! Love you all!

Andrew Case ('01)
Over the years we have had many outstanding students, even several who graduated summa cum laude. But Mr. Case is our first departmental graduate to complete his career at Tennessee Tech with a perfect 4.0 average! And that is for two degrees (Spanish and history). Mr. Case is the recipient of numerous awards including the Derryberry Award and the W.A. Howard Scholarship from the university as well as the David Lloyd and Shirley Mae Gehman Scholarship and the Marjorie and Sidney McGee Award from the department, the latter for outstanding service work for the department beyond academics. He spent one year in Mexico on an ISEP exchange and a year in Spain on a Rotary Scholarship.

Mr. Case was born in Durham, N.C., has lived in Cookeville since 1984 and is a graduate of Cookeville H.S. He spent the Summer and Fall of 1998 in Monterrey, Mexico on an ITESM program and Fall and Spring 1999-2000 at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. In Summer 2001, Mr. Case attended an archaeological field school at Mission San Antonio in California for which all nine participants received college credit. (For more information see: During his two study abroad experiences he traveled throughout Mexico and Spain. In addition, in Summer 1999 he traveled to Puerto Rico, and in September-October 2001 to Cuba.

Mr. Case worked for Perdue Farms, Inc. in Monterey, TN from March to June 2001 as a translator/interpreter, and before that for Staffing Solutions in Cookeville, again as a translator/interpreter on a Tennessee Tech Co-op Program. He also worked freelance as a translator/interpreter and a Spanish Tutor.

Mr. Case's mother is Karen Case, formerly Secretary in the Tennessee Tech School of Agriculture and a May 2001Tennessee Tech graduate with an M.A. His father, Steve Case works in the field of technological solutions, and his brother, Gary, also a Tennessee Tech graduate, works with open-source computer operating systems in the research triangle of North Carolina.

Mr. Case's future plans are to work in the field of international development or foreign diplomacy. Mr. Case is a May 2004 graduate from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, with a focus in Latin America. After completing his graduate studies, Mr. Case has worked as a political and security analyst at iJET Intelligent Risk Systems in Annapolis, Maryland, and he looks forward to a career in research and analysis with a focus on Latin America.

In September 2001 Mr. Case wrote: "I've either taken language courses or worked part-time for the Tennessee Tech Department of Foreign Languages since before I was a full-time student at Tech. All the faculty and staff have been extremely supportive of all my decisions, facilitating my educational opportunities here and abroad. I truly feel that this department cares for its students, and I hope prospective students consider taking foreign language classes at Tech. Even if not all students become foreign language majors, I believe a basic knowledge of any foreign language will help all students receive a complete university education."

He added in April 2007: "The Tennessee Tech Foreign Language department faculty and staff helped me gain the vital skills I use on a daily basis in my career. I believe the personal attention I received from Professors Campana, Fernandez, Hays, Laurila, Shettlesworth and Viera was a unique college experience - one that my friends and colleagues envy. As a native of Cookeville, I never expected to become so interested in foreign languages and cultures, but they have enriched my life and led me to new and interesting experiences."

Lisa Dissel ('01)
In a 2016 update, Ms. Dissel stated that she was a high school special education teacher for three years after her graduation from Tennessee Tech. Then, after a few years of travel (Spain, France, Bavaria, Germany, Austria, China, Czech Republic), she went back to school to become a pastry chef in 2010.

After two years of pursuing her passion for pastry, Ms. Dissel had her first child in 2012. Since that time she has been a stay-at-home mom, helped tutor her 16 nieces and nephews in their high school Spanish courses, and baked numerous birthday and wedding cakes along the way.

Ms. Dissel added: "I reflect back on my time at Tennessee Tech and realize that I am so fortunate to have had professors, coaches (volleyball) and peers who were instrumental in my success in the classroom, on the court, and in life since Tennessee Tech. I have only wonderful memories of the FL Department, and of Dr. Campana, with whom I remain in contact even today through Facebook!"

Scott Holcombe ('01)
Mr. Holcombe is a native of Florence, Alabama. His family moved to Irving, Texas when he was four years old and to Mt. Juliet, TN when he was fourteen. He is a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School. He spent two months of cultural study and observations in Sweden.

Mr. Holcombe's work history includes the U.S. Marine Corps and Athens Construction Company as well as the Department of Foreign Languages (for which work he received the Marjorie and Sidney McGee Graduation Award for Service.) He is a member of Alpha Mu Gamma.

As of June 2001, Mr. Holcombe is working as a Nuclear Engineer, BWR Fuel Engineering, Nuclear Fuel, for Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga. He is the fourth student to complete an "International Engineering" emphasis with a B.S. degree in engineering and a B.A. degree in German. In Fall 2001, Mr. Holcombe wrote that he was checking into beginning a degree in physics from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and a M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, perhaps beginning in Spring 2002. He added: "Everyone in the Department of Foreign Languages is very helpful and enthusiastic about teaching. My German classes were always fun."

In 2006 Mr. Holcombe took a position with Westinghouse and now works for them in Sweden. Mr. Holcombe wrote in February 2007 that he is adjusting well to life in Sweden, and he is keeping up his German as well as doing very well in Swedish.

Micah Puncochar ('01)
Mr. Puncochar was born in Massachusetts but raised in Nashville and is a graduate of Brentwood High School. In Spring Semester 2000, he studied in Madrid, Spain. He has traveled through Spain, Mediterranean Europe, and Turkey.

He has worked in hotel management in the Greek Isles and as an independent contractor for Southwestern Company, for which he was an organizational leader. He also worked for Puncochar Enterprises in Brentwood and as a sales consultant for Unfair Advantage in North Carolina.

In June, 2003, Mr. Puncochar began serving a two-year tour in Paraguay with the Peace Corps doing small business development with a farmers' cooperative. He assisted in their marketing efforts and basic business efficiency issues. Currently he works as a pharmaceutical representative for Merck & Company in Nashville.

About his interest in Spanish, Mr. Puncochar wrote: "My dad grew up in California and always spoke a little Spanish. I always thought it would be great to speak it fluently." Mission accomplished!

Mr. Puncochar also commented: "When I came back from studying and working in Europe the Department of Foreign Languages was more than helpful with my classes here at Tech. It was comforting to know that my time spent in Spain was not only a great time, but a productive time at that."

Jennifer Lee Bradley Davis ('01)
Ms. Davis was born in Nashville, raised in Dickson, TN, and is a graduate of Dickson County H.S. She spent one summer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and studied in Fall 2001 in Monterrey, México at the Universidad Regiomontana. She earned two degrees from Tennessee Tech: B.A. in Spanish and B.S. degree in World Cultures and Business. Her other foreign travels include approximately 5 years living in Japan, four mission trips to México, and a visit with family in South Korea.

Ms. Davis worked in sales at the Bible Factory Outlet at Opry Mills in Nashville and as Customer Service Specialist for Upper Room Ministries in Nashville. She served as Team Assistant for Shared Mission Focus on Young People for the United Methodist Church and is currently Bilingual Assistant, Office of Hispanic/Latino Ministries for GBOD. She has one younger sister who is a 2003 graduate of Tennessee Tech in education, and her youngest sister followed as a chemistry major at Tennessee Tech.

Ms. Davis is married to Jason Davis, a May 2001Tennessee Tech graduate in civil engineering. Jason works as a structural engineer for Gate Precast in Ashland City, TN. You can check out the family Web Page at:

In January 2002 Ms. Davis wrote: "The faculty in Foreign Languages take a genuine interest in all their students and are always available for one-on-one help."

Ms. Davis stopped by to visit in March 2004 and was pleased with the Euro Café and Cinema, the student library, and the student study center, all created between February and August 2003.

Leona Taylor Morelock ('01)
Lasting Impressions
Certified Wedding & Event Consultant

Ms. Morelock was born in the United Kingdom and is a graduate of Lebanon H.S., Lebanon, TN.

Robert Stanton ('01)
Mr. Stanton is a graduate of Cookeville High School. In Fall 2000 and Spring 2001 he studied in France on the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) and earned two degrees from Tennessee Tech: a B.A. in French and a B.S. in World Cultures and Business. Until 2003 he worked at Fleetguard-Nelson in Cookeville as a customer service representative for French. He left there to pursue graduate work, and in 2004 he received his MBA from Tennessee Tech. He also worked at Wells Fargo while in graduate school.

In October 2004 Mr. Stanton started work as a branch assistant at AmSouth Bank in Cookeville. In December 2004 he married Whitney Johnson, who completed her B.S. degree in education at Tennessee Tech in 2005. Later that year Mr. Stanton returned to work for Wells Fargo Financial, this time in Knoxville, Tenn.

Alicia Evans Toline-Hale ('01)
Ms. Toline-Hale is a 1998 graduate of Farragut High School in Knoxville. She received her B.S. degree in Secondary Education-French from Tennessee Tech in 2001.She was the French teacher at The Highlands School, a private school in Mountain Brook, Alabama where she teaches French to children ages 4 - 8th grade, and she wrote: "I love it!"

She continues: "My grandfather is a professor emeritus from Tennessee Tech, and he is also a French speaker; therefore Tennessee Tech was a natural choice for me. I really enjoyed the professors and helpful staff that made my days in the FL department enjoyable and really prepared me to teach! Also, I am currently teaching with a newer method called TPRStorytelling."

Alicia is now a Gifted Specialist at Brookwood Forest Elementary School in Mountain Brook, AL.

Holly Pratt Duarte ('02)
Ms. Duarte is a graduate of White County High School in Sparta, TN. In 2000-2001 she studied at the University of Madrid, Spain.

Ms. Duarte worked as International Customer Assistance Representative for Fleetguard-Nelson Division of Cummins Engine Co., Cookeville (now Cummins Filtration), then for Cummins Filtration in Nashville as Americas Communications Specialist and now as Americas Marketing Campaign Manager. The Cummins Web Page can be found at:

Derick William Shular ('02)
Mr. Shular was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. He graduated from Powell High School in 1997 and came to Tech knowing that he wanted to do something in the international field. He said that he was excited to be one of the first to sign up for the World Cultures and Business program because it fit his goals perfectly. In his junior year he spent two semesters in France with the ISEP program, one on the Swiss border and the other in Normandy.

Since July 2002 Mr. Shular has been working as Director of Exports for E.N. Beard Hardwood Lumber in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Andrea Erin-Marie Colson-Smith ('02)
Ms. Colson-Smith was born in Tarzana, California, graduated from Newbury Park High School (CA), and attended Boston University in 1998-99 before coming to Tennessee Tech.

Ana Margarita Colindres Parsons ('02)
Ms. Parsons was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and is a graduate of McMinn County High School (TN). While enrolled at Tennessee Tech, Ms. Parsons also completed courses at North Carolina State University - Raleigh, and at Wake Technical College in Raleigh.

Stephanie Elizabeth Quinn ('02)
Ms. Quinn is a graduate of Beech High School.

Scott Keesley Walker ('02)
Mr. Walker was born and raised in Brentwood, TN and attended Brentwood High School. Throughout his childhood, Mr. Walker's parents took him to many countries and places so he could experience different cultures and languages. So far, Mr. Walker has been to 15 countries and 35 states. Since Mr. Walker's mom is a high school Spanish teacher, and his dad is an International Banker, Scott decided to follow in their footsteps by pursuing the World Cultures and Business (WCB) program.

After looking at programs in many universities, Mr. Walker chose Tennessee Tech because of its on the WCB program, its close proximity to Nashville, its size, and the more intimate campus life. It also helped that his father and grandfather were both graduates from Tech as well. Although Mr. Walker went through Tech in three academic years, he spent a year living in Cochabamba, Bolivia as a missionary after his freshman year, learning fluent Spanish in the process.

After returning from his year in Bolivia, Mr. Walker started his own small business in his dorm room in Evins Hall. He sold blinds and plantation shutters to customers from Cookeville to Knoxville. Since he had worked in this industry all through high school with some family-friends who owned a blind/shutter factory, he chose to keep it going during college to earn "travel money."

Mr. Walker attended three of Dr. Richard Finch's infamous Latin America Trips (Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Peru) during his college years. For his internship, Mr. Walker partnered with a local entrepreneur in Franklin, TN who owns some corporations, many dealing in international affairs. He traveled to Italy three separate times as part of this internship and got to work shoulder-to- shoulder with Anthony Robbins on several occasions. After graduating in 2001, Mr. Walker bought a house in Franklin and continued running his business full time out of the house.

Louise Elin Holmvik ('02)
Ms. Holmvik, a native of Sweden, is continuing her education at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she expects to complete her MBA in May 2005. She visited the Department in Summer 2003.

Gloria Esther Infante Horenburg ('02)

Rachel Carrie Sparks Mayes ('02)
Ms. Mayes is a graduate of Lee-Davis High School in Virginia. Before completing her B.A. in Spanish she had already received a B.S. degree in technical communication from Tennessee Tech.

Kristy Leigh Foster ('02)
Ms. Foster is a graduate of Jackson County High School. While at Tennessee Tech she attended an intensive Spanish language program at the University of Costa Rica.

After graduation Kristy taught ESL in Jacksonville, FL. In May 2006 she completed her M.A. at Tennessee Tech in Instructional Leadership. Since then she has been the Spanish teacher at Jackson County High School.

Luciana Silva Tamburini ('02)
Ms. Tamburini completed a B.S. degree in World Cultures and Business at Tennessee Tech. Her plans were to continue her education with a Master's degree at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile she taught English while waiting for training to join a consultant company in Rio.

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