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tennessee technological university

Department of Foreign Languages

Sylvia White Aldridge ('70)

1435 Montana Drive
Conway, AR 72034-3452

Sherry Dorris Blanchard ('70)


Associate Principal
Franklin Special School District
Poplar Grove School

Sherry was born in Springfield, TN, lived in San Francisco, California from ages 3 to 13, then returned to Nashville, TN where she graduated from (now defunct) Donelson High School. After her graduation from TTU she spent a year living with a German family in Kaiserslautern, Germany. In addition to her B.A. in French Sherry holds both the M.A. (1984) and the Educational Specialist (1998) degrees from TTU in educational administration and supervision. She was a teacher in grades 6 and 8 for five years before becoming a principal in a K-5 school. Her son is a TTU graduate in agriculture. After years of being principal in Roane County (TN) Sherry relocated to the Nashville area to be near her daughter and three grandchildren, her son and his family, and her mother. She became Assistant Principal of the Poplar Grove School in the franklin Special school District. We were happy to receive a phone call from Sherry in March 2001. Shortly thereafter she wrote: " I've been away from the department, but in touch with Tech through my son's and daughter's years at Tech. Still very proud to have three degrees from Tech."

Larry Lee Barr ('71)

115 Regency Court
Fayetteville, GA 30215-1838


Larry is a graduate of South Broward High School in Hollywood / Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He began his TTU career as a major in Secondary Education-Mathematics and then changed to the then-new B.A. program in Spanish. He was the Office Manager for the Campus Crusade for Christ, International, in Miami, Florida, for a while, then he moved to Georgia.

Roy Bilbrey ('71)

648 Walker Hollow Road
Monterey, TN 38574-3058

Office: 427 N. Willow Ave.
Cookeville, TN 38501

Office Phone: 931-528-8801

Roy Bilbrey (Ph.D., A.B.P.D.C.) is a licensed psychologist and has a practice in Cookeville (hours by appointment at the telephone number above). Previously he was a probation officer for a number of years. Roy also teaches PSY 2010 (General Psychology) and PSY 2050 (Psychology of Adjustment) at Tennessee Tech as Adjunct Faculty.

A few years after his graduation from TTU and while he was working on his Ph.D., Roy wrote:

"Although it has been several years since I graduated from Tech, I have not forgotten the Department of Foreign Languages. I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

I can look back on my German courses and feel a sense of gratification and fulfillment, for there have been many instances when my knowledge of the German language has been most helpful. I have conversed with German people in their native tongue, have been able to read books that included German phrases, and have translated for others. Perhaps the greatest benefit to be derived from my training and instruction in German is the fact that I will be able to meet the foreign language requirement for the Ph.D., for which I am now a candidate.

I feel fortunate to have had the high quality of instruction provided by Dr. Campana and Mr. Heina, and I am grateful to both of you for your interest and enthusiasm shown to me and to other students. You can be proud of your department and be assured that your good work is appreciated."

Patty Jane Powers Derycke ('71)

Louisville, TN


Patty is a native of Cookeville. After completing her B.A. in French at TTU she earned an M.A. in French at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1974). In the summer of 1972 she worked as an au pair in Paris and Nice.

Patty worked in Knoxville, TN for ten years for Philips Consumer Electronics Company (manufacturer of Philips and Magnavox products); she was the Customer Service Coordinator for International Sales (Canadian accounts), then the Logistics Customer Service Manager, then the Senior Logistics Account Manager, managing for five years the logistics supply chain activities for a major national account, Sears. The job included forecasting, order management, customer service, and supply chain improvements. She increased shipment dollars for the account by 93% within three years. Philips was awarded the coveted Sears' Partners in Progress vendor partner award for three years and the Sears sales account team was awarded Sales Excellence, the top sales award internally for three years.

Prior to working for Philips, Patty was a Manager of Merchandise Information for Miller's Department Store in Knoxville, TN and a French teacher for the Sevier County Schools in Gatlinburg, TN. She is now retired.

In March 2001 Patty wrote: "I was very appreciative of the individual attention provided by the professors and instructors of French at Tennessee Tech. They were always available to provide help, guidance, and encouragement."

(Updated May 2012)

Günter Dietz ('71)

We were saddened to learn from his wife that Günter died in April 2001.

Mary Evans ('71)

2946 E. Menlo St.
Mesa, AZ 85213-1683


Mary teaches advanced and regular ninth grade English at Stapley Jr. High School, 3250 E. Hermosa Vista, Mesa, Arizona 85213 as well as Introduction to French. She serves as Career Ladder Evaluator, a mentor, and a faculty sponsor for Christians in Action and National Jr. Honors Society. She and her husband, Bob (Tech graduate '71), have three children.

James M. Knox ('71)

2410 Swan Pond Road
Harriman, TN

Associate Professor of English
Roane State Community College
276 Patton Lane
Harriman, TN 37748

In addition to his B.S. degree in Secondary Education-French, Jim also holds the M.A. degree from TTU in English (1978).

Melinda Bilbrey Swann ('71)

710 Brown Avenue
Cookeville, TN 38501-2841


Melinda is Vice President and Secretary, Collins Manufacturing Company, 809 East 20th Street, Cookeville, TN 38501. She and her husband, Ronald, have three children.

TTU gives Outstanding Business Leadership Award to Ron and Melinda Swann
Cookeville, Tenn. (July 02, 2004) — Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business Administration has awarded this year’s Outstanding Business Leadership Award to Cookeville’s Ron and Melinda Swann.

The couple owns the Collins Manufacturing Co. Founded in 1983, the business designs, manufactures, markets and distributes salon equipment to beauty and barbershops and spas throughout the United States.

Ron and Melinda Swann are both graduates of Cookeville High School and 1971 TTU graduates. At TTU, Melinda studied French and English, while Ron earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He returned to the university to pursue a master’s in business administration, which he earned in 1980.

Members of the First United Methodist Church, the couple has three sons, Ben and Robert, who both also work at Collins, and Jeff, who teaches history at Cookeville High School.

The Outstanding Business Leadership Award is given annually to recognize individuals or organizations who have made exceptional contributions in the field of business.

Nominations may be submitted by any member of the College of Business Administration Foundation, and selection of the award is made by the College of Business Administration Foundation’s Awards Selection Committee.

--Tracey LeFevre, Office of Public Affairs, TTU

Robert Banks ('72)

7059 Raleigh Millington Road
Millington, TN 38053

Bob Edwards ('72)

2519 Apache Trail
Murfreesboro, TN 37129-6550

E-mail address is

In 1999 Bob took a position with Fleetguard, Inc. in Cookeville. For many years he worked in social services for the Tennessee Department of Human Services in Knoxville, and he is also a licensed French teacher. In February 2000 he began teaching a course in Spanish for Leisure Services in Cookeville in the evenings. A few years ago, after receiving his teaching licensure, Bob taught Spanish at Powell Knoxville. Here is his brief biography in his own words:

"After leaving Tennessee Tech, I moved to Knoxville for a number of years. I worked with the Tennessee Department of Human Services for most of that time. I resigned to return to TTU to become certified in teaching, after which I returned to Knoxville and taught for a couple of years in the Knox County School System. I was even once called upon to teach Spanish I for one semester! Thanks to Ms. Shettlesworth's excellent instruction, I received high marks on my evaluations, although I had had only two years of Spanish at TTU! Thank you Ms. Shettlesworth!!!

(As an aside, I was once on stand-by to London and wound up on a plane to Mexico City! Since I had not spoken a word of Spanish in years, I went first to a librario, or bookstore to buy a book on English for travelers. In Mexico, there aren't many books on Spanish for travelers! At first I had a hard time communicating with the lady at the front desk of my hotel. We discovered that we both spoke French better than we spoke each other's native tongue and did very well from then on! Thank God, Dr. Campana "advised" me to take Spanish!)

I am currently employed at Fleetguard-Nelson in the Aftermarket Department in Cookeville. I am in charge of the accounts in Eastern Canada including Quebec, of course. What goes around comes around. Thanks for all you've done..."

In 2001 Bob has left his position at Fleetguard-Nelson to pursue other interests, especially teaching, which he misses. From discussions with Bob about students and teaching techniques it is clear that he is an excellent and effective teacher. In Fall 2001 he began teaching Spanish and French at Trousdale Co. H.S. in Hartsville. As of 2004 he teaches Spanish and French at Smyrna H.S.

Sandra Williford Rodgers Mitchell ('72)

233 Colt Drive
Nashville, TN 37221


Sandra also completed a degree in nursing (1979) and worked as a Registered Nurse in the Open Heart Surgery Unit at Saint Thomas Hospital, 4204 Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37202. She and her husband, Gary, have one son.

Janet Whiteaker ('72)

Assistant Professor
Academic Development Program Coordinator
Campus Box 5171
Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, TN 38505

Phone: (931)-372-3456 (office)


Janet is a native of Cookeville, graduated from Putnam County Senior H.S. (now Cookeville H.S.), and was TTU's first graduate in German. She then earned an M.A. degree in English at TTU and taught as a graduate assistant and adjunct faculty in the TTU Department of English and the English Language Institute (Department of Foreign Languages) from 1977-85. She also received Developmental Education Specialist certification from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. From 1985 to the present she has been Instructor and then Assistant Professor in the Academic Development Program at TTU, teaching courses in developmental English. She is the Program Coordinator of the Academic Development Program at TTU and has served also as the departmental data analyst and computer information systems coordinator. She has had brief foreign travel experience in Mexico.

Janet is co-author of Developing College Skills in Writing, 2000, Pearson, 3rd ed. She is also the author of Writer's Stylebook, 4th ed., Pearson, 2001; and Research and the Library: The Basics, 1996, TTU. Several of her poems have been anthologized (1993, 1994, 1995, 2000). She has completed six novel-length works, the latest of which, titled ARIANA, appeared in 2003.

Janet's sister and brother-in-law are both TTU graduates and her niece is currently a student here.

Janet was kind enough to provide the following comments about her studies here: " background in foreign languages has served me well over the years. Foreign language study allows for a closer scrutiny of how language works than could ever be obtained in an English class, even one being taught by an old-line grammarian who reveled in diagramming sentences. Language study has helped me be better prepared for the variety of language problems that I encounter daily in the classroom. I have a better 'ear' for hearing what variations in language are saying to me about the person and his/her background, as well as a better idea of how to deal with those variations. Studying other languages has also taught me tolerance for what a non-native speaker has to deal with in an unfamiliar atmosphere."

Karen Jean Cordell Williams ('72)

23288 NE 15th St.
Sammamish, WA 98074


Karen and her husband, Rod, have two children: Andrea and Amy.  In December 2002 Karen, Rod and daughters visited the Dept. of Foreign Languages while visiting family here. (Rod's sister, Dr. Karen Burdette, is an Associate Professor of Spanish at TTU.)

Update - May 2012: Karen currently teaches French at Eastlake High in Sammamish, Washington. She has also taught History at Eastside Catholic High in Bellevue, Washington, and French and History at Frisco High School in Frisco, Texas.

Dr. Eloise Barnes-Jurgens ('73)

632 Long Hollow Road
Elizabethton, TN 37643


In addition to her B.S. in Secondary Education with double majors in English and Spanish, Eloise holds an M.A. in Education with a major in curriculum development and a minor in administration with a thesis topic on multicultural education. She obtained her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 1996 from East Tennessee State University with a dissertation on "Southern Appalachian Settlement Schools as Early Initiators of Integrated Services." She is a teacher of Spanish and French (and occasionally AP English 12) at Science Hill H.S. (John Exum Parkway, Johnson City, TN 37601). She is married and has two sons and one grandson. In addition to her years of experience in Tennessee, Eloise has also taught in Georgia and Texas and on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Kayenta, Arizona.

Eloise was the subject of a feature article in the TEA News, May 2001 (Tennessee Education Association) about her use of technology in the classroom. Dolores Conant, a music teacher at Science Hill H.S., wrote to the TEA: Dr. Jurgens is one of the most progressive and effective teachers I have ever seen....Her classes are online and parents can see her students' work and check their grades online. Eloise showed the TEA interviewer her television/computer work station setup and commented: Every teacher should have one and be required to learn to use it for curriculum-based instruction.

Commenting on her undergraduate foundation at TTU she was kind enough to refer to our department as "one of the most underrated foreign language departments around."

Thank, Eloise, and we are equally proud of your work and of being selected for a feature article by the Tennessee Education Association.

Leesa Rae Buskirk Honeycutt ('74)

1511 Cannon Drive
Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742-3403

At last report, Leesa divided her time between being a homemaker and serving as Child Care Director, Jones Memorial Child Development, 4131 Ringgold Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37412. She and her husband, Larry, have two children.

Claudia Loftis Anderson ('74)

2711 Advent Court South
Bowie, MD 20716

Claudia received an M.A. degree in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and she was a Spanish Professor at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina from 1975 to 2000. Her life took a very happy turn in Spring 2000 when she and James C. Anderson were wed. As soon as the school year was over they packed up and moved to the Washington, D.C. suburbs. In twenty-five years Claudia has not missed sending greetings a single Christmas, and we really appreciate the contact and the loyalty.

Jan Presley ('74)

Juanita Houdeschell Schrader ('74)

Calle 57 #579ª x 74 y 74A
Mérida, 97000 Yucatán

tel/fax 923-3736

Web Page:

Nita (or Anny as she now prefers) is a native Tennessean. She received a BS in Secondary Education , History, English, French, Spanish (1971) and a B.A . in French, History (1973). While she was a student at Tennessee Tech she piloted a program of elementary school French at the Tech Campus School. After receiving her B.A. in French she taught English composition at TTU as a graduate assistant, served as a part-time instructor for the Department of Foreign Languages and the English Language Institute at TTU, teaching French and English as a Second Language (ESL). Then she taught freshman and sophomore French as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Romance Languages, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Upon her return to Cookeville she taught ESL in the Putnam County Adult Basic Education Program; then French at TTU in intensive summer programs and ESL in the university's English Language Institute; then French at Jackson County High School, French at Cookeville Junior High School, and French, Spanish, and English at Upperman High School in Baxter. She also had additional studies in Spanish at Wichita State University for certification (1987). She also organized tours to France and Mexico during this time. She was chosen to attend the Tennessee Governor's Academy in 1988 and was a Mellon Fellow for a 2-week seminar in Latin American Topics in 1987. From 1985 to 1989 she attended the annual meetings of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, which is a regional affiliate organization of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

She has lived in Mérida since 1989 and from 1991-1996 was the Academic Director for TEFL classes and English classes at the binational Instituto Benjamin Franklin de Yucatán (the largest English school in Mérida with 1000 students). From 1996 to 1998 she was the Director, TEFL classes at Centro de Idiomas del Sureste in Mérida and since 1998 she has been teaching English as a Foreign Language at the Universidad de Mayab, a small Catholic university just outside of Mérida, run by the Legionaries of Christ, the order of the university's "founding fathers."

She has given many workshops for teachers, at the Instituto Benjamin Franklin de Yucatán, at the Binational Institute in Veracruz, and at CIS, and given English classes in three different banks, French and English in a tourist syndicate, and French to a group of missionaries. She presently gives company classes to two groups at Gamesa. She has attended many workshops in Mérida, and also MEXTESOL in 1998 and a two-week workshop for teachers at Binational Institutes in Mexico City in 1993.

Her travels include visits to France, Belize, Cuba, and Guatemala as well as various sites in México. Some of her sports interests are shown in the photos. For the past three years she has spent about six weeks in the winter and ten weeks in the summer in Paris.

In 1995 Nita wrote: "I feel my preparation at TTU more than prepared me for dealing with all sorts of people and for learning different methods of teaching. The numerous workshops provided by the University and the State of Tennessee also helped to provide an openness to new methods and different styles, and gave us the opportunities to meet other teachers and learn more about the language and culture we were working with. I have never at any time in my various careers felt that going to a University with a small Department of Foreign Languages has been an impediment to what I wanted to do. I got enough basics there and then more advanced courses to prepare me for Graduate School and for travel in other countries."

Ellen Blair Aspengren ('75)

Lisa Grisham Brown ('75)

Lisa completed an M.A. at TTU in 1985 and teaches English and speech at Upperman H.S. in Baxter. She is the author of several very popular romance novels.

Connie Hullander ('76)

355 Peninsula Drive
Anderson, SC 29626


See 2012 Update Below

Connie was born and raised in Chattanooga and is a 1972 graduate of Tyner High School (now Tyner Academy) in Chattanooga. After completing her B.A. in French with teacher licensure at Tennessee Tech she received an M.A. in French from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1978, and taught at the University of Hawaii for one year. She then returned to the Chattanooga Public Schools where she taught high-school French at Hixson High School and later at Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Then she served as a director of the West Alabama Home Health Services in Selma, Alabama, Omni Home Health Services, Inc. in Chattanooga, and Manager, ANMED Home Care Services (Anderson Area Medical Center) in Anderson, SC. Currently she teaches French classes at Tri-County Technical College, P.O. Box 587 (Highway 76), Pendleton, South Carolina, 29670. School Telephone: (864)-225-2250 and does contract work to teach French with some local industry and contract work with the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) for the State of South Carolina. Her work with DDSN consists of facilitating group meetings made up of a focus person (who is a disabled individual in the community), family members, department staff, and any community members who work with, support, and care about that person. The meetings plan the care for the focus person for the coming year based on the requests, preferences, and needs of the person. She then writes up reports and planning documents to define the plan of care for that person.

Connie's foreign travel for leisure has been to France, Greece, and Switzerland. She is married to TTU alumnus Dale A. Hullander.

Recently Connie was kind enough to tell her career story:

Bonjour! My name is Connie Hullander. I was a student of Tennessee Technological University from 1972 - 76. I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in French and Education. I then went to the University of Hawaii with a graduate teaching assistantship and earned my Master's Degree in French.

Although I taught French full-time for a couple of years, my life took a different turn a few years later and I ended up in the health care field. I have continued to teach, however, on a part-time basis at community colleges and continue to do so. After nineteen years as the director of home health care companies, I am currently self-employed doing contract consulting work for the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs in South Carolina. You might think that French would have been no help to me in health care. Au contraire! There are so many ways that understanding other languages and other cultures is useful in almost any field but I would like to point out a couple of things that were especially helpful in the medical field.

  • Studying French gave me a very good grasp of word meanings and bases. I have found that I have always been able to determine the meanings of the most lengthy and complicated medical terms through my understanding of vocabulary in French and Latin.
  • Understanding sentence structure and grammar is an excellent basis for writing business letters, contracts, policies and procedures, and all of the other business documents needed in health care or in any other field.
  • Communicating with a wide variety of people is a skill that is taught by language in a way that no other area can emphasize quite so well. It's very important in the medical field to be able to communicate information in more than one way to be sure that vital instructions or precautions are clearly understood. Speaking another language teaches you how to think about all the different possibilities there are for doing that.
  • Accepting other people and other cultures is a great benefit gained through the study of other languages and the cultures of other countries. In today's world of health care or any field, we must all be able to accept and respect all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs, living conditions, habits and attitudes. I can think of no better way to develop a true interest and love of people than to understand them better and studying languages and culture is one of the best ways to do that.
  • Learning a language stretches the brain! As you learn a language, you learn new ways of thinking and bringing together pieces of information to refit them into a new format in order to say something new. It is a different way of thinking and learning than memorizing dates or facts. Everyone can benefit from learning to use their brain to see more than one way to do things and to see more than one point of view.

I often tell my students in French classes that there is a French expression: On ne sait jamais comment vont tourner les choses! which means that "you never know how things will turn out." You never know where life will take you. YOU may end up working one day in France, Spain, Germany, Africa, China or who knows where. I hope you'll speak the language!

I cherish the time I had at Tennessee Tech and the professors I had there in the Department of Foreign Languages. I had a wonderful opportunity for close study with professors whom I respected and whose expertise I valued. I would like to thank Dr. Robert Jones, Dr. Claire Saint-Léon, Dr. Kenneth Kintz, and Dr. Phillip Campana. Each of these gave freely of their time and knowledge and offered me every opportunity for individualized help when I asked for it. I can honestly say that the quality of their teaching and their ability to reach students equaled any I have seen elsewhere.

Update - 02/03/2012: Connie continues to teach first- and second-year French at Tri-County Technical College in South Carolina. In addition, she took up fiction writing a few years ago and in April 2011 had a book published by Echelon Press. It is a young adult novel called "Snowstorm," and can be purchased at,, etc. Congratulations, Connie!

Veronica Umoren ('76)

St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral
P.O. Box 58
Maiduguri, Borno State

We had lost track of Veronica for many years partially because much of her mail had piled up in a workplace that had not paid its postal bills. Last summer we were pleased to hear that she was well and working at the boys' section of a private college in Nigeria.

Wayburn Crabtree ('76)

Since graduation Wayburn has been employed as an engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Lilian Wdowiak Lawrence-Crabtree ('77)

108 Port Drive
Madison, TN 37115-3457

Lilian was born in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and grew up in Florida, California, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and graduated from Cumberland County H.S. After receiving her B.A. degree in Spanish and German she was a graduate assistant in German at Florida State University and at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has also taken courses at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and at Tennessee State University. She is a German and Spanish teacher at Hunters Lane Comprehensive H.S. in Nashville and a regular attendee at the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association meetings.

Lilian's foreign studies include one summer in Guadalajara, Mexico, two months in Switzerland, and a summer in Leipzig, Germany. Her other travels have taken her to Greece, Italy, France, England, Holland, the Czech Republic, and Luxembourg. Her dream spot is Cornwall, England.

In addition to assistantships while in graduate school Lilian has done a lot of tutoring in foreign languages and some translation work. She also held jobs at JCPenney Co. and Waldenbooks.

Lilian reports that daughter Jessica (15) is a freshman and daughter Lily Catherine (13) an eighth grader at ML King Academic Magnet H.S. in Nashville. Her husband, Wayburn (TTU, '76 -- see above), is an engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Diane Payer Knight ('77)

120 Minnear Street
Cookeville, TN 38501



Diane is the secretary in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Tennessee Tech. Previously she was administrative assistant for the TTU English Language Institute (1977-86). Her husband, Rick, is also a Tennessee Tech employee.

Elena Godinez Sain ('77)

5545 Heath Row Drive
Birmingham, AL 35242


Elena also holds an M.A. degree from TTU. She is a special education teacher in the Hoover City Schools. She and her husband, Stephen, have two daughters.

Gerlinde Heina ('78)

701 Hardwicke Drive
Knoxville, TN 37923-2422

In addition to her B.A. in German, Gerlinde earned an M.A. in English from TTU in 1986. Until December 2000 Gerlinde was the German and French teacher at West H.S. in Knoxville. She is now enjoying retirement.

Annis Shaver ('78)

807 Grants View Ct.
Centerville, OH 45459-3128


Annis was born in Chattanooga and raised in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN. She is a graduate of Bradley Central H.S. in Cleveland. Annis and her husband, John ('79), were in Heidelberg, Germany from 1995 to 1998 and then returned to a stateside assignment in Georgia (see below). Their four tours of duty (11 years total) in Germany have made it possible for them to travel all over Europe. Annis received an M.A. degree in German from Louisiana State University. Because of John's military assignments Annis has taught in a number of locations: German for the University of Maryland, European Division, in Ansbach and Illesheim, Germany (1981-82) and Garlstedt and Schweinfurt, Germany (1988-91); basic skills instructor for communications, reading, math, and English as a Second Language for Big Bend Community College in Ansbach (1980-83) and Garlstedt and Schweinfurt (1987-92); German levels 1-5 at Old Mill Senior H.S. in Glen Burnie, Maryland (1984-87); and German for the Goethe Institute and Big Bend Community College in Schweinfurt (1992). She also served as Interim Master Teacher for the German Head Start and Basic Skills Education Program in Schweinfurt (1991), recruiting, hiring, training, and evaluating teachers for the program. She has also taught in the Fauquier County Public Schools in Warrenton, Virginia; the Richmond County Schools and the Columbia County Schools in Augusta, Georgia (1993-94); and was a volunteer coordinator in English as a Second Language for the Army Community Service in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (1992-93). While in Augusta, Georgia (1994), she taught German at the University of South Carolina at Aiken and at Georgia Military College in Fort Gordon, Georgia. In Heidelberg, she taught Business English at several firms in the Heidelberg/Mannheim area. After returning to Georgia, she again taught at USC Aiken and Georgia Military College. From November 2000 Annis and John were at John's duty station at US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, Florida.

In May 2004 Annis received her Ph.D. in the teaching of English as a Second Language at the University of Miami (Coral Gables). At the same time John retired from the Army.

In 2005 Annis took a position as Assistant Professor at Cedarville University, 251 North Main St., Cedarville, OH 45314.

In June 2000 Annis wrote: "The foreign language program at Tech is excellent. A smaller department is much better than a large department. A wise advisor once told me: 'It is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond."

Dr. Debra J. Allen ('79)

17915 Holderness Lane
Pflugerville, TX 78660-5128


Debra was born and raised in the Detroit, Michigan metro area and graduated from Lutheran High East. While a double major in history and German at TTU she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany for a year after graduation. She is still the only recipient of a Fulbright student scholarship at TTU. She also visited Germany for a month as part of a university exchange program for Concordia University at Austin. Historic preservation was the topic for her Fulbright study year in Germany and she worked in historic preservation in South Carolina prior to joining the faculty at Concordia University at Austin as Associate Professor of History, where she began her eight year in 2000-2001.

In September 2000 she wrote: "The liberal arts programs at TTU are very strong! I double majored in history and German and can't say enough in praise of the faculty, the facilities, and the environment at TTU. These majors provided me a very solid basis for graduate work at the Masters and doctorate levels! I have had many opportunities to use my German in both research and travel. I believe that as the world continues to grow "smaller," second and third language ability is increasingly gaining in importance."

Lissa Gail Culbertson Boxy ('79)

534 Jackson Street
Kingsport, TN 37660-3206


Lissa was born in Kingsport, Tennessee and is a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School there. While at TTU she spent a year at the Sorbonne in Paris through a program sponsored by the University of Cincinnati. After receiving her B.A. in French from TTU she was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and then switched to the University of Dallas for an M.B.A. in International Business. She was the International Export Representative for the Atlanta, GA office of McGraw-Hill Book Company and then the International Business Advisor for West-Holland Foreign Investment Agency, Koninginnergracht 14e, POB 16067, 2500 BB The Hague, Netherlands.

Rhonda Ann Hinkle Mitchell ('79)

Dr. Gina Peterman ('79)

149 Deer Run Ct.
Angier, NC 27501-7054


Gina was born and raised in Harriman, TN and is a graduate of Harriman H.S. After her B.A. in French Gina earned an M.A. in English from TTU and then a Ph.D. in English at the University of South Carolina. She taught French and English at Gallatin Middle School and at Gallatin High School and was an Instructor in the Department of English at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She is currently Associate Professor of English, Campbell University, Box 507, Department of English, Buies Creek, NC 27506. Department of English telephone: 910-893-1565.

In Fall 2001 Gina wrote: "The love of language and of words (not just their meaning, but the beauty of their sounds) that my professors in TTU's Foreign Languages Department nurtured in me eventually led me to my academic career teaching American literature."

LTC (Ret.) John Shaver, III ('79)

807 Grants View Court
Centerville, OH 45459-3128


In addition to his B.A. in German, John also earned a B.S. degree in Secondary Education from TTU. He also received the MMAS degree from the Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

John and his wife, Annis ('78) were in Heidelberg, Germany from 1995 to 1998, where John served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Following that he was the Deputy Commander of the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia. In Fall 2000 he took the position of Deputy Commander of the Joint Intelligence Command, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Florida (see below). John and Annis previously spent tours of duty in Ansbach, Bremen, and Schweinfurt, Germany.

John was born in Karlsruhe, Germany and raised in Nashville, TN, where he graduated from McGavock H.S. He received a Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) commission in the Regular Army in August 1979. In addition to the four tours of duty in Germany (11 years total), John's work with military intelligence has taken him to assignments at Fort Meade, Maryland; Vint Hill Farms, Virginia; and Augusta, Georgia. The tours of duty in Germany have made possible extensive travels throughout Europe.

John's military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC), the Army Commendation Medal with OLC, the Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He holds a Master of Military Art and Science from the Army Command and General Staff College and is also a graduate of the Military Officer Advanced Cryptologic Course, the Combined Arms Service Staff School, the Cryptologic Skills for Junior Officers Course, the Signal Security Officer Course, the Electronic Warfare/Cryptologic Tactical Officers Course, the Basic and Advanced Military Intelligence Officer Course, and the Airborne School. In Summer 2000 he was in Norfolk, VA at the Joint Service School, part of the Armed Forces Staff College. Effective 1 November 2000 Annis and John are at John's new duty station at US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, Florida, where he is Deputy Commander of the Joint Intelligence Center. US Southern Command is a joint operation overseeing Central and South America.

In May 2004 John retired from the Army after 25 years of service, and Annis received her Ph.D. in ESL. John then took a position as a Director of Staff at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (USAF) at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. Annis teaches at nearby Cedarville University in Cedarville.

John commented about his experiences at TTU: "A great place to meet your future wife!" John and Annis are in good company among our departmental graduates who met their future spouses while completing their undergraduate degrees here.