Department of Foreign Languages

1990-1994 Profiles

Deanna (Light) AMAR ('90)

Deanna Light (now Deanna Amar) was born in Nashville, grew up in Hendersonville, Tenn., and is a graduate of Hendersonville High School. In addition to her B.A. in Spanish, she earned a B.A. in English from TTU. She has done graduate work at the University of Georgia and earned an M.A. degree in Liturgical Studies at Catholic University of America. Foreign travels have taken her to Russia and Estonia (both still the Soviet Union at the time) in 1990, and the United Kingdom in 1999 and 2000.

Mrs. Amar is an Export Analyst for Kimberly-Clark ("best known for Kleenex, but I work in the health care products division in International Exports," she reports) and is assistant director of music and liturgy at the Church of St. Brendan in Cumming, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. She has published some of her musical compositions, played guitar on recordings of liturgical music, and directed a 25-voice adult choir and a 30-voice children's choir.

Mrs. Amar says that she uses her Spanish much of the time in the International Division of Kimberly-Clark. In 1995, while she was a graduate student in linguistics, she won the Carmon Award for Creative Use of Computers in the Humanities from the University of Georgia for her research in the statistical mapping of linguistic features. In recent years Mrs. Amar has added to her list of accomplishments the publication of several sacred hymns she has composed.

In 2001 she wrote: "I really enjoyed my time at TTU and my study in the Foreign Language Department. Cookeville's small-town charm and proximity to Nashville and Knoxville made it a perfect learning environment, and the personal attention given to foreign-language majors by the faculty and staff of the Department of Foreign Languages was outstanding -- and continues to be so for its alumni. The enrichment provided by TTU's excellent and nationally recognized Honors Program continues to prove itself immensely valuable in my work as an export analyst and in my creative life as a writer and choir director. TTU is a great starting point for any incoming student -- with the tools and training you get at TTU, the sky's the limit!"

Pamela Nickrand, LT, USN ('90)

LT Nickrand is a graduate of St. Charles H.S., St. Charles, Illinois. A naval aviator who has served in the U.S. Navy since 1994, she is a helicopter aircraft commander, flying the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter. From April 1997 to July 2000 she was stationed at Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 46, Naval Station, Mayport, Florida, where she deployed on two six-month Mediterranean cruises on board the USS Caron (DD970) and the USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) respectively. While embarked on the USS Vella Gulf from March 1999 to September 1999, she flew over 300 flight hours in support of Operation Allied Force / Noble Anvil in Kosovo. During her deployment she was able to visit many European and African countries, where. on occasion, she was called on as the ship's French interpreter. She is currently assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 40, Naval Station, Mayport, Florida as an SH-60B instructor pilot and the squadron legal officer.

Viktoria Slucka Purisch ('90)

Susan Upton ('90)

Ms. Upton is the German teacher at Livingston Academy. She is also a registered nurse and has worked as an emergency room nurse at Livingston Regional Hospital.

Angela Harris ('91)

Photo of Angela Harris in New Guinea. Born in Dickson, TN, Ms. Harris grew up in Greeneville and Jackson, TN and is a graduate of Northside High School in Jackson. Thanks to her travels, in addition to speaking Spanish Angie learned and used Tok-Pidgin in Papua New Guinea for two years, Korean in Korea for three and one half years, and Nepalese in Nepal for two years. Ms. Harris was kind enough to tell her whole story in her own words below:

"Hola, Apinun nau, Namaste, & Annyong hashimnika! It is an honor to be able to contribute to the TTU Foreign Language Department's website. I graduated from TTU in 1991 and have been grateful for Dr. Campana, Ms. Shettlesworth, Dr. Viera and the entire foreign language staff ever since. They were my mentors, my teachers, and my inspiration to embark on journeys around the world that changed my life forever.

As soon as I graduated from Tech, I joined Peace Corps in hopes of going to Central or South America to immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking world. But little did I know that Peace Corps was going to send me to the other side of the world -- all the way to a tiny little island in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea to be specific. Needless to say, I didn't use Spanish there, but it was a great opportunity to learn a new language and begin my career in education.

After serving for two years in Papua New Guinea, I had the 'travel bug.' It was through Peace Corps that I learned about the great opportunities to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) overseas. South Korea, being a hot spot in the mid-nineties for teachers, welcomed me to Asia. In Korea I taught ESL on the beautiful island of Cheju-do and then in the hustling metropolis of Seoul. With my background in language and education, I was given the task of setting up ESL programs for institutes and universities in Seoul.

Being in Asia, I couldn't resist all the opportunities to buy cheap tickets and go to other Asian countries during school vacations. Nepal was the one that stole my heart, so after three and one half years in Korea, I bought my ticket to Kathmandu and taught ESL again in the capital's most reputable language center for over two years.

After eight years abroad, I just recently returned to Nashville. I am the ESL Director and FLES Director for the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute (TFLI), a state government agency which offers an astounding 140 world languages year round! (No typo, it really is 140 languages!) And finally, I am speaking Spanish again! I'll admit, sometimes I try to use Korean or Nepalese when I'm stuck, but like my teachers told me, 'use it, or lose it!' Now it's all coming back to me.

If you are interested in learning a foreign language or making a career out of it, I'd tell you to start at TTU. The staff in the Foreign Language Department at TTU must be commended on their dedication, patience, and love of languages. Although I may feel at home in other places around the world, I can undoubtedly say that the staff at TTU was like family to me. THANKS TTU!!!"

And THANK YOU, Ms. Harris!

Diana Gehman ('91)

A native of Santa Clara, California, Ms. Gehman is the Spanish teacher at York Institute. She is licensed in French and German as well as Spanish, and she spends part of each summer improving her fluency in Welsh.

Dr. Anjali Sahai ('91)

Dr. Sahai is a graduate of Cookeville High School. She received her two degrees (B.S. in Chemistry with a biochemistry specialization and B.A. in Spanish) summa cum laude in cursu honorum. She earned her M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee, Memphis. After completing her residency in obstetrics and gynecology, she is now working at UCSF as a clinical instructor.

While she was a student at TTU she wrote: "The Department of Foreign Languages at Tennessee Tech has a true sense of esprit de corps. Its small size allows students and faculty to know each other on a personal basis. Furthermore, the Department has an excellent teaching staff and many special facilities available to the foreign language majors. This is a department that cares about its students and takes their input seriously."

Treasure Moore Swanson ('91)

After her B.A. in German at TTU Ms. Swanson completed a Master's degree in library science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1994). She currently works as Circulation Librarian Dept. Head in Cleveland, TN.

While a student at TTU Treasure wrote: "Tennessee Tech's Department of Foreign Languages stands for competence and commitment. When extra help is needed or when classes conflict they go the second mile in assisting the student. Ms. Shettlesworth is an example of that commitment. When Spanish 301 conflicted with a class in my major (German) she taught me, one on one, for an entire term. That allowed for continuance in Spanish for a year and a half longer (along with my German). Thanks Ms. Shettlesworth! Thanks to the Foreign Languages Department! "

In Feb. 2007 Ms. Swanson wrote: "I enjoyed my time in the Department of Foreign Languages. My professors were helpful and encouraging, and they remain so."

Anne-Marie Kintz Craft ('92)

Ms. Craft is a graduate of Cookeville High School. She taught French and pre-algebra for one year at Algood Junior H.S., then French and U.S. History for two years at White County H.S. in Sparta. She then became the French teacher at Scott County H.S. in Huntsville, TN, home of the Huntsville Highlanders, at which time she wrote: " I love it. The students are great!" Unfortunately the school system decided to eliminate the French program at the end of the 1999-2000 school year, so Ms. Craft moved to a larger school, Waverly Central H.S.

She currently teaches French, U.S. History, and special education at Sequatchie County H.S. in Dunlap, TN.

Ms. Craft has four children: William Joseph (born 1994), Andrew Christopher Blane (born 1996), and Stephanie Lillie-Anne (born 1998), and Christian Austin (born 2006). Anne-Marie is married to Eric Craft.

Michael P. Campana ('92)

Mr. Campana was born in Jersey City, New Jersey but spent the first twenty-three years (minus the first two months) of his life in Cookeville, where he graduated from Cookeville H.S. Michael has a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in Secondary Education, both from TTU, as well as a Master's degree in Educational Psychology (Gifted & Talented) from the University of Virginia. Additionally, he has attended the summer immersion program in Spanish at Middlebury College (Vermont).

Mr. Campana currently lives in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he teaches middle school and high school Spanish at James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School, an International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) World School, which has been rated one of the top public high schools in the country. Beginning September 2004, he has served as the coach/ sponsor of Robinson's "It's Academic" quiz bowl team. He is also the "voice of the Robinson Rams" in his capacity as the school's basketball and volleyball public address announcer, and in recent years has served the same function for the Virginia High School League's Concorde District and Northern Region basketball championships.

Mr. Campana is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in American Education (2008), as well as multiple editions of Who's Who Among American Teachers.

Mr. Campana is the son of Dr. Phillip Campana and brother of Lisa Campana Chappell, who is also a TTU graduate (1990). Michael's mother, Paulette Campana, took classes at Tennessee Tech as well, then went on to complete her A.A. degree at Brescia College (now University) and her B.A. at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she later served as Director of Alumnae Affairs and Annual Giving.

Dr. Campana and Mr. Campanal were responsible for the design and maintenance of the TTU Department of Foreign Languages web site from 1997 to 2007.

James E. Coode, Jr. ('93)

Mr. Coode was born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in the U.S., Germany, and Italy, where he graduated from Brindisi American High School, San Vito Air Station, Italy. In 1993 he spent a summer on the I.C.E. international work program working on a pig farm in Münsterland, Germany.

In addition to his B.A. degree in German from TTU Mr. Coode has earned a B.A. in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Until recently he was working for the Hyatt Regency Resort at Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado. His duties included serving as host and "jack-of-all-trades" for the Patina, Hyatt's fine dining restaurant. Those who know Mr. Coode are not surprised to find out that he was considered to be the best at all his various tasks. (His new nickname is "Random Task"!). His work at TTU as a cafeteria worker paid off in his jobs as steward, banquet set-up worker, and banquet server. In 1998 he returned to Tennessee and visited us in 1999. Mr. Coode worked for the Campus for Human Development. Mr. Coode is the brother of N. Marie Coode, a 1992 TTU graduate in English-Journalism, and the nephew of William Coode, a 1976 TTU graduate in history.

In Summer 2000 Mr. Coode wrote: "Sometimes you can tell how good a department is by the person who is running it. Dr. Campana has been a tireless advocate of the creation of a Foreign Language Department suited to the needs of those learning a foreign language. Every time I visit I observe some innovation or new piece of technology at work. Also, I was blessed to have an opportunity, while a student, to be a part of the selection process for a new professor. The input of all foreign language majors was taken fully into consideration by Dr. Campana and his selection committee. No other head of a department I know would ever do that! Simply put, Dr. C. cares about you as a student and a person. And he has assembled a group of competent instructors who also care about you. When I think of my days in the Department of Foreign Languages at TTU, the Allstate motto comes readily to mind: ("You're in good hands with . . ."!)

In April 2007 Jim wrote: "Last year a German parishioner totally validated my German, which I hadn't used all that often since college. Not only did she say I spoke it well, but that I sounded natural. I admittedly was impressed by the vocabulary I could still use. What a great foundation for my German education Tennessee Tech has been!"

Lucinda Myers Morabito ('93)

In 1999 Ms. Morabito completed her Master's in Curriculum & Instruction at TTU.

Update - May 2012: Lucinda currently works for the Vermont Department of Education in Montpelier, Vermont, as a Data and Reporting Coordinator.

She writes: "Studying a foreign language definitely broadens a person's viewpoint, especially when combined with other liberal arts classes in a degree program. The Department of Foreign Languages and TTU definitely can provide you with a quality education that can help you prevail over life's challenges."

Amy Sue Ayers Kelly-Graham ('93)

Ms. Kelly-Graham is a graduate of Sullivan East High School. She earned degrees in both French and German and was an exchange student in Lyons, France on the CLARIFE Exchange Program for one semester. She may have been the first student at TTU to have had academic advisement by e-mail across the Atlantic! Ms. Kelly-Graham was the French teacher at Scott County H.S. until she moved to a position with the Anderson County School System at Clinton H.S., where she teaches French and German. The TTU tradition continued at Scott Co. HS, though, when Anne-Marie Rainey (TTU '92 - see above) took over as the French teacher there. Ms. Kelly-Graham and her husband, Mark, have two children. A few years ago she was featured in a television commercial for the Saturn Corporation.

In 2001 Ms. Kelly-Graham earned an M.S. degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and in May 2007 an Ed.S. degree in Supervision and Administration from TTU.

While at TTU Amy wrote about the Department of Foreign Languages: "There is a genuine atmosphere of caring from the professors toward the students that is not found in larger departments, especially when you go to get advised. Our Department is small enough that everyone knows everybody else on a casual level, but it is better equipped than some of the larger departments I visited before I started college. I was amazed that it all fit on one floor and that a small staff could accomplish some of the tasks so capably. This is a great place to be -- a home away from home."

Amy's comment on her latest information update: "Tech Rocks!"

Amy Miller ('94)

Ms. Miller is a graduate of Scott High School and earned a degree in Human Ecology with a concentration in Merchandising and Design in May 1991 before taking courses toward secondary school licensure and a degree in Secondary Education - Spanish. Ms. Miller has her own translation business, Interpreters International, and has taught Spanish for the Department of Foreign Languages and the Extended Education Program at TTU as well as for the Putnam County School System. She is currently the Study Abroad Coordinator in the International Education Office at TTU.

In February, 2007 Amy wrote: "Learning a foreign language has been invaluable to me in all aspects of my career, and the TTU Foreign Language Department has been very instrumental in helping me reach my goals."

(Updated May 2012)