Department of Foreign Languages

2008-2009 Profiles

Leslie Michelle Brooks ('08)

Ms. Brooks was born in Nashville and graduated from Cookeville High School. In the Fall of 2005 she attended the International Business School in Rennes, France, with the Magellan Exchange Program.

Avery Edwards ('08)

Ms. Edwards was born in Murfreesboro, TN, and raised there and in Hermitage. She graduated from Hume Fogg Academic High School in Nashville. Avery spent Spring 2006 studying at the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstatt, Germany through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). In addition to her B.A. degree in German, Ms. Edwards also completed a B.S. degree in Secondary Education-German.

Ms. Edwards was also the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Teaching Assistantship and planned to spend 2008-9 teaching English in Berlin, Germany. At the time, she was only the second student in TTU history to receive a Fulbright award (and both were German majors!)

Before she left for Germany in September 2008, Ms. Edwards wrote to Dr. Marketta Laurila, the department chair: "I could not have been better prepared for my time spent abroad by the German program and faculty at TTU. I learned that immediately when I arrived in Eichstaett and began to communicate with Germans on a daily basis. I was so well-prepared lingually and culturally. Dr. Weidner, Dr. Campana, and Dr. Evans did such an incredible job as my educators and mentors, and I can already see that Dr. Baker is going to be wonderful as well. Without them, I don't think I could have gotten the Fulbright. Dr. Barnard also was so incredibly helpful throughout the whole process. I couldn't have done it without her belief in my ability and her willingness to spend hours and hours with me.

"I have felt very supported by the entire FL department, and I really appreciate all that you have done for me through the last five years. It is a fabulous program, and TTU students who make it part or most of their college careers are so lucky."

John Ryan Egly ('08)

Mr. Egly completed two degrees: in German and in Mechanical Engineering. He received a good job offer from the German firm, Schott AG, which is "a leading international technology driven group whose base product is special glass." Mr. Egly expects to be sent to Germany in September 2008 as part of his work for the Louisville affiliate of Schott AG.

Mr. Egly was born and raised in Murfreesboro, TN, and graduated from Riverdale High School there. In 2006-2007 he studied at the University of Trier, Germany, through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). While at TTU, he did internships at WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), H.E. Parmer, and Mahle GmbH.

After graduation Mr. Egly wrote: "Knowledge of a foreign language has opened many doors for me, and, more importantly, has exposed me to a different world. The Foreign Languages Department at Tech made it all possible!"

Lindsey Grissom ('08)

Ms. Grissom completed a double major in English and French.

She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from Oak Mountain High School there. In high school she spent 14 days in France (Paris, Provence, Côte d’Azur) and then, while at TTU, spent a semester studying in Grenoble, France (with weekend trips to Switzerland and Germany). She also spent a week in Paris. After graduation she plans to be Assistant Director of Summer Camping Programs at Camp Sumatanga for summer. In 2008-9 Lindsey will be teaching English in the area of Grenoble, France for a year, after which she plans to attend law school.

Michelle Lowe ('08)

Ms. Lowe completed two degrees, Biology and German, and she graduated in cursu honorum.

She was born in Krugersdorp, South Africa, and grew up both there and in Murfreesboro, TN. She graduated from Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro. Her travels include three TTU-sponsored trips: Spring Break in Berlin as part of the Berlin Seminar, Spring Break in Vienna as part of the Vienna Seminar, and a trip to Ireland with the Honors Program. She also spent parts of summers in England, Italy, and Germany. After graduation Ms. Lowe will be attending Vanderbilt Graduate School for a degree in biomedical engineering and then work in industry in that field. She would like to work for a German company in that field. At graduation Ms. Lowe wrote: "The Foreign Languages Department has been SO good to me. The people are all so caring. I did the German major for fun, and it was hard work, but also the best decision I have ever made!"

Jonathan Mahan ('08)

Mr. Mahan was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was raised there and in Smithville, TN, where he graduated from DeKalb County High School. In Spring 2007 he attended the Spanish Language School in México.

Lindsey McEwen ('08)

Ms. McEwen was born and raised in Kingsport, TN, and graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School there. While at TTU she was a volunteer tutor for Hispanic children at Jere Whitson and Park View Elementary Schools in Cookeville. After graduation Ms. McEwen plans to return to Kingsport and teach Spanish at the middle or high school level. At graduation she wrote: "The FL department at TTU has been very supportive of me and of my education over the past four years. The professors and support staff have been very encouraging and always helpful when I had questions or problems. I have enjoyed each course that I have taken in the department. The professors know their content and they teach it in a way that encourages critical thinking and that has challenged me to explore the Spanish language and the various associated cultures. The Foreign Languages Department at Tech has made me a life-long learner and has helped me develop a passion for my major. Spanish is not just another thing to memorize and study for me; it has become an important part of my life. After studying Spanish at Tech I have a broader knowledge and understanding of other cultures. Thanks to my professors for investing their time and energy in my education."

Stefan Padillo ('08)

Matthew Tabers ('08)

Mr. Tabers was born in Martin, TN, and raised in Brentwood, where he graduated from Brentwood High School.

Joshua Bordes ('08)

Erika Burnham ('08)

Ms. Burnham earned degrees in German, French, and History, and was a member of the TTU Rifle Team. She also received a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany.

Evgenia Yartseva ('08)

Ms. Yartseva was born and raised in Korolev, Moscow region, Russia. She was a member of TTU’s tennis team.

At graduation she wrote: “I would like to thank everybody, who helped me during three years of college. Without the help of all my professors it would be impossible for me to graduate. Thank you very much. I loved my experience of being a student at Tech, majoring in a foreign language. It was great.”

Holley LaFever ('09)

From 2004 to 2011, Ms. LaFever worked as a lab assistant and file clerk at Community Pathology in Cookeville, TN.

In 2011, Ms. LaFever was awarded a Fulbright ETA grant and had the opportunity to teach English in Gymnasium Verl,Germany for 9 months. Once her time in Germany was up, she went on to work in Incheon, South Korea as a guest English teacher at Mansoo Elementary School from 2012-2016. Ms. LaFever has just finished her contract there and is currently taking some time off to travel the world. Once finished, she will go back to the U.S. and begin looking for employment.

Kayla Collins ('09)

Ms. Collins completed her Spanish degree in December 2009.

While completing her degree, she studied in Valencia, Spain for 5 weeks and in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, for 4 weeks. She says these were some of the best experiences of her life.

Upon graduation Ms. Collins planned to attend law school. Then she will either go into private practice as a defense attorney or possibly work with the Department of Immigration.

Amelia Tritico ('09)

After completing her Spanish degree at TTU, Ms. Tritico took some time off and worked various jobs around Tennessee in the financial, educational and promotional career fields. She returned to school in 2012 and graduated with a Master's in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University in May 2014. She is currently working in the marketing/communications field as a Digital Specialist for Shaw Industries. Though she doesn't use her foreign language degree on a daily basis, she credits her time at TTU and studying abroad in Costa Rica "For helping to shape the woman she is today."

Trevor Sweafford ('09)

Mr. Sweafford earned degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Spanish in December. He spent a week in Andalucía, Spain, visiting the cities of Córdoba, Sevilla, and Granada. While in school he was the recipient of the Frederick Heina Memorial Scholarship and was the treasurer of Alpha Mu Gamma and a member of Amigos. Mr. Sweafford plans to work toward a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Amanda (Dennis) Harrell ('09)

Ms. Harrell graduated with a Spanish degree in December 2009. She spent a semester abroad at Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Immediately following graduation, she planned to work at Averitt Express in the International Department working on Mexico shipments and customs/inbound freight. She also plans to attend graduate school.

Regarding her experience with the TTU Foreign Languages Department, Ms. Harrell said, "The professors I have had at TTU in the Foreign Language Department have been at the top of all my professors I have had throughout my years here at Tech. They genuinely care about and challenge their students in a way that not all professors do. They are also unique in that they learn all their students' names. We are a tightly knit group, and I have loved my experience here."

Allen Kittinger ('09)

Mr. Kittinger received a degree in Spanish with a concentration in German in December 2009. He spent a week in Berlin with one of his German classes and three months in Peru acting as a translator for his missions group. While in college, Mr. Kittinger was also very involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM).

"Overall, the department is great, the Spanish program is excellent, and the professors are amiable, very helpful, and knowledgeable. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Groundland for his help during my college career," said Mr. Kittinger about his time spent in the TTU Department of Foreign Languages.

james aaron white (Biology, french & german, '09)

After completing both double degrees and a double major at TTU (B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Foreign Languages, with concentrations in both French and German), Mr. White earned his Master's in History with a graduate minor in French from UT Knoxville in 2012. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in medieval history at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada; he expects to complete his doctoral work in May 2017.

Mr. White has received several awards, including the Council of European Studies Pre-Dissertation Fellowship in 2015. This award funded two months of research in Paris, where he says he used his French training extensively.

In a 2016 update, Mr. White also said: "I actively use French and German in my research, as well as languages I have learned after TTU (Latin, Italian and Swedish). I also train other graduate students in French translation at the University of Alberta. My language training at Tech has given me an enormous advantage in my graduate studies."