A Note From the Chair

CATEGORIES: April 2014

Greetings from ISU where spring is finally upon us!  As we approach the end of the academic year, I reflect on all of the good work we have been able to do. The Department has enjoyed a tremendously successful year on all fronts: enrollments in our language courses are up, we have reached a new high with numbers of majors and minors in WLC, and students and faculty alike continue to achieve noteworthy awards for their supreme accomplishments.  In fact, awards is the subject of my note to you this semester.  On April 13th the faculty convened for the Annual Awards Ceremony to celebrate the fine achievements of our students.  I include here excerpts from my welcome as well as the list of the extraordinarily talented and hard working students who were received awards this year.


Distinguished Students, Parents, and Friends,

Welcome to the 2014 Department of World Languages and Cultures Awards Ceremony!

The Department of World Languages and Cultures teaches annually over 14,000 student credit hours through 9 languages: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, Russian and Spanish.  In addition to majors and minors in the aforementioned areas, we also house the Classical Studies program, the International Studies program, the Languages and Cultures for Professions program, the World Film studies program, and we collaborate across campus on unique and innovative programs with the College of Business, College of Design, College of Engineering, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  As a result, our students hail from nearly every discipline on campus making the student cohort of the Department of World Languages and Cultures among the most diverse and active at ISU. Indeed, many of the highest achieving students on campus are primary and secondary majors in World Languages and Cultures.  For example, WLC majors constitute 23%—or roughly 1/4—of  all Iowa State inductees to Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most widely recognized academic honor society.

Our faculty are equally high achieving.  Many professors have earned teaching honors at both the College and University levels through excellence awards, making our faculty one of the very best and most respected at Iowa State. It should not be surprising, then, that over the past decade, on course evaluations, our students have annually given these exceptional teachers a 4.45 out of a possible 5.0 for overall teaching excellence.  This is possibly one of the highest overall instructor ratings on campus.

None of that is possible, however, without our challenging and high performing students, our reason for gathering today.  Each spring the faculty of the Department of World Languages and Cultures assembles to recognize the excellence of our students through awards and scholarships.

Today we honor those who have asked probing questions and who have committed themselves to finding the answers—no matter how daunting the task.  We honor those who worked well into the evening and rose enthusiastically in the morning.  We present awards to those who are incapable of giving up or giving in, to those whose enthusiasm and commitment in and out of the classroom is infectious.  Enthusiasm is a wonderful force for learning because it sets fire to the imagination and propels one to ask the difficult questions and to master complex topics. Commitment is equally important for without it one cannot reasonably hope to perform at a higher level day in and day out. Today we are celebrating enthusiasm, commitment, and utter hard work.

And, let us not forget the parents, friends, mentors and loved ones who stood beside these tremendous awardees, supporting their study and steadfastly encouraging them to succeed on all fronts.  Students may have worked alone or in groups but they had, I am sure they will agree, the support and encouragement of family and friends. Without that support, it would have been difficult for them to succeed so marvelously.

Allow me to quote Miguel de Cervantes’ main character Don Quixote, whose timely and poignant advice to his sidekick Sancho Panza is quite applicable on this esteemed occasion:

“Take care (…) to guide your life on the path of virtue, and if you take pride in doing virtuous acts, there’s no reason to be envious of princes and lords. Because blood is inherited and virtue is acquired. Virtue is precious in itself, and blood in itself is worth nothing.”

These outstanding students have taken a long and arduous and honorable journey to master a second language, thereby opening access to the world’s cultures and placing them on the virtuous path toward becoming global citizens. Today, we congratulate their well-deserved success.


Ronald A. Schubert Scholarship

  • Kelly Ann Zieser
  • Benjamin John Folkmann
  • Hannah Marie Early
  • Taylor Ellen Finn


Sarah Dahlke Memorial Scholarship

  • Morgan Michelle Bahl


Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Scholarship

  • Benjamin John Folkmann
  • Caleb Benjamin Evers


Van Iten Study Abroad Scholarship

  • Christopher Perez


Louise Semmons Scholarship

  • Brenda sue Tyrrell
  • Caleb Benjamin Evers


Languages and Cultures for Professions Global Professional Award

  • Alexander Hansche
  • Eric Woestman


Outstanding Students in Chinese First Year

  • Nick Alexander Corwin
  • Rose Angela Criscione
  • Mehdy Faik
  • William K. Jeong
  • Mohamad Lotfi
  • Siti Mahfuzah
  • Elizabeth Miranda Quam
  • Jungyun Yoo


Second Year

  • Ashlee N. Fredericksen
  • Christina E. Ling
  • Christina Carey Hillman
  • Laurelin Elizabeth Haas


Third Year

  • Cindy April Meyer
  • Kristina Roe Brown


Outstanding Students in Classical Studies

  • Beginning Latin
  • Joshua M. Anderson
  • Jared W. Bloom
  • Megan L. Johnson
  • Haley M. Nixt


Intermediate Latin

  • Rachel E. Alison
  • Melissa R. Grunder


Outstanding Graduating Classical Studies Major

  • Alexandra J. Adams
  • Amanda J. Veen
  • Jessica S. Wohlers


2013-14 Marcus Aurelius Scholarship in Classical Studies

  • Zackery G. Hackbarth
  • David W. Parkinson
  • Brenda S. Tyrrell


Outstanding Students in French

  • Senior Honors
  • Taylor R. Larson
  • Abigail M. Rizzo
  • D.J. Soults


Outstanding Students in German

Beginning German

  • Nathan Schwartz
  • Breeanna Planica
  • Matthew Norvalls


Intermediate German

  • Kelsey Hrubes
  • Cole Peters


Advanced German

  • Theresia Ohms
  • Paul Troupe


Graduating Senior

  • Eric Woestman


Outstanding Students in Russian

First Year

  • Richard Bechtol
  • Caitlin Brown
  • Noah Hagen
  • Peri Jacobsen
  • Tonya Merrbach
  • Benjamin Sheller


Second Year

  • Kaia Morgan
  • Breeanna Planica


The ACTR Russian Scholar Laureate Award

  • John Fleming


Distinguished Achievement in Spanish

  • Robert Hanson
  • Christine Kirpes
  • Brittany Peterson


Outstanding Graduating Senior in Spanish

  • Taylor Anne Barriuso


Students invited to join Phi Beta Kappa

  • Mariah Griffith (French)
  • Nickolas Hans Kraus (German)
  • Melynda Tess Hoover (French)
  • David J. Murray (German)
  • Haley Marie Nixt (French)
  • Brittany J. Peterson (Spanish)
  • Kathryn Ann Powers (French)
  • Deanna K. Steinbach (German)
  • Hannah Leigh Vanevery (Spanish)
  • Eric John Woestman (German)