German at Aquinas College

Alumni Profiles

Morgan Meredyk (’18)
Employer: Lach Diamond, Inc

"I am excited and ready to apply the knowledge and skills gained through my German Studies courses and my time abroad – both professionally and personally. After graduation, I will be working at the German company Lach Diamond, Inc., where I believe my skills and background knowledge of the German language and culture will be a great asset and resource for the US subsidiary of “Lach Diamant”. As a German Alumna, I will continue to stay connected with the AQ German program, and I may even join a German language group in the Grand Rapids area to further and develop my intercultural skills. Of course, I am also very interested in heading back to Germany one day! But until then I will continue to share my knowledge and love for the German culture and language with those around me. I am forever grateful to Aquinas College and the German Program for the many opportunities to flourish in this field of study."

Ena Babic ('17)
Employer: Eisele Connectors

Ramil Collier (’16)
Employer: Aquinas College

Casey Nagelkirk ('15)
Employer: Stenger & Stenger

Catherine Biewer ('15)
Employer: PRA Global Development

Kelly Petzold ('15)
Employer: MAHLE

Shelby Denhof ('14)
Employer: Rockford HS

Joshua Jezske ('14)
Employer: Teoma Systems

Bettina Mulligan ('14)
Employer: The Lighthouse Group

Bradley Ransom ('13)
Employer: International Internships LLC

Emily McAfee ('12)
Employer: Kaplan International Pathways

Rebecca Weishaar ('05)
Employer: Foremost Insurance Company

I first started learning the German language in high school to learn more about my family's background and culture heritage, and the history of Germany. I went on a week-long trip with my German class to Germany and loved it! I continued with German at Aquinas to fulfill my general education requirements and realized that I didn't want to stop furthering my knowledge of Germany, its culture, and its language. After one semester with Dr. Kati Gross, I knew that I wanted to major in German. I spent one semester at the University in Tübingen on the study abroad program through Aquinas where I was able to expand my knowledge of Germany, the language, and its culture. Without Aquinas and Kati, my German knowledge would not be where it is today!

Gail Gromaski ('04)
Profession: Fulbright Assistant Teacher in Vienna/Austria

Who ever thought that knowing a foreign language like German would open so many doors to amazing, live-changing experiences? I started learning German in high school, but I never felt any sort of confidence in the language until I had spent some time in Kati Gross' German classes. Only then did I realize what sort of incredible things I could now do because I knew German. The summer after my sophomore year of college at AQ, I was hired at a catalog clothing company in Bavaria as a marketing intern. My German languages skills enabled me to live and work in another country and among another culture, and not only did my German improve during this time, but my eyes were opened to an entirely new way of doing things. These are lessons that cannot be learned in any book, only by witnessing and experiencing them for oneself. My ability to speak, read, write and understand the German language also led me to obtaining a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Austria after I had graduated in 'O4. I taught Austrian high school students English and about American culture during my eight months there. Even though my work was in English, the ability to speak German, I believe, was essential to my ability to effectively communicate with the students and help them understand a native English-speaker (myself) who didn't have any background in the methods of teaching ESL. Speaking German also provided me with a way "in" to the hearts and minds of the Austrian people, and I know that I left there with significantly more friends than I would have, had I relied only on the Austrians' ability to speak English.

It scares me to think about where and who I might be right now had I never learned German, since my experiences living in German-speaking countries have truly shaped who I am today, both personally and professionally. I think that in knowing German, one is able to experience the very essence of the people who speak it, and that, for me, has perhaps been the most remarkable experience of them all.

Phillip VanDenBrink ('04)
Profession: ESL Teacher, Wasatch Academy, Mt. Pleasant, Utah

The German program at Aquinas has helped to lead my path in its current direction. I teach English as a Second Language in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. My first experience with teaching was at Aquinas tutoring students in German 101. It was a rewarding experience for me and for the first time I realized that it could be a career option for me. My second experience with teaching is directly related to where I am now. I taught a small ESL group in Germany while on my study abroad. That was the best job I'd had up until that point. This job led to the job I got in France after I had graduated. I am at my current job because I got experience in France. I got the job in France because of my experience in Germany. I got the job in Germany because of my tutoring at Aquinas. My future goal is to restart the German program here at Wasatch Academy where I work, and I believe there is enough interest in the student body. There is no real way that I can ever fully repay Dr. Kati Gross for the excellent advice and direction that she gave me through her courses at Aquinas.

Amber Metro ('01)
Profession: Self-employed in Marketing and Consulting, Part-time English Trainer for foreign speakers

Directly after graduating from AQ in May 2001, I headed right off to Munich, Germany in order to gather some work experience in Germany. I worked as an intern at Siemens AG and was able to work directly with International Business and German, the two degrees I completed. I was with Siemens for 11 months and worked in the department "Information and Communication Corporate Key Accounts." It was a very multicultural environment and I learned a lot about politics in general, working with other cultures, the structure of a big German company, German systems and much more theoretically and in the practice. After my internship was up I decided to stay in Germany but not continue my career in this direction. Because of the temporary situation of uncertainty and change, I decided to teach English in order to stay in Germany easily. I then started my own business and am still working in a team with successful German business people. We are expanding and my team consists of a diverse mix of people. Now, instead of working with only Germans, I am pleased to be working with people from Greece, Iran, Croatia, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden and Poland. This is very interesting for me and is the main reason for my staying in Germany . Nevertheless, I still teach English part-time at the German American Institute. By teaching at the institute I stay in contact with some nice Americans and we can celebrate our traditions together, yet at the same time, I have the opportunity meet many new people from all over the world, speak English and then get paid for it! At the moment I am enjoying life here in Germany and plan to stay at least for the next few years or so. Thank goodness I participated in Kati Gross' German program, otherwise this way of life would have been significantly less likely!

Colleen (Cone) Gish ('98)
Profession: German Teacher, Indiana and Michigan

Deutsch ist wunderbar! German is great! Who would not want to learn the language of a people whose culture has global reputation? The German influence is seen in almost aspect of the global society. From recycling to cars to beer and wine, the Germans positively pervade the world at large.

At first I had no intentions of majoring in German at Aquinas. However, after one semester with Jane Fortier, the German Professor back in 1994, my intentions changed. The story unfolds further like this: In order to fulfill some General Ed requirements, I chose to take German 102, knowing that I would get an A and be done with another requirement. Well, Jane's teaching style clicked with me so well that I wanted to continue with German. Over the next three years, I delved into the German language and culture, learning to expand my horizons and discovering a passion for grammar, memorizing new vocabulary, and challenging myself to express myself in a different language. Jane nurtured my love of German and inspired me to study abroad in Salzburg, Austria.

When I returned from Austria, I continued my studies, but this time with Professor Gross. It certainly was an honor to work with a native speaker and someone as dynamic as her. Under her supervision and patience, I continued to become more knowledgeable and motivated to become more proficient in my abilities as a German speaker. I continued my studies at Wayne State University, earning a Master's in German, and then teaching German in Michigan and Indiana. Ich danke Jane und Professor Gross! I thank Jane and Professor Gross for their encouragement and guidance as a student of German at Aquinas. And as stated at the beginning, Deutsch ist wunderbar!

Opportunities in the job market. Knowledge of German improves your chances on the job market. Many German companies abroad, many foreign companies in Germany and companies with close business connections with the German speaking countries all look to recruit workers with language qualifications. Within the European Union it is not only specialists but also students and scientists with knowledge of German who can find many interesting training, study and job opportunities. Source: AATG Listserv