Congratulations to the Extraordinary Class of 2021

Class of 2021 German Studies logo

With best wishes from the German Studies Department at Duke and the Duke in Berlin Program

Corinne Crane, Ph.D. Associate Professor of the Practice of German
Kristen Dolan, Ph.D. Instructor of German
Stefani Engelstein, Ph.D. Professor of German and Department Chair
Susanne Freytag, M.A. Lecturing Fellow in German and Director, Duke in Berlin Summer Program
Kata Gellen, Ph.D. Associate Professor of German and Director of Undergraduate Studies
April Henry, Ph.D. Lecturing Fellow in German
Daniela Jonas, M.A. Duke-in-Berlin Lecturer
Heidi Madden, Ph.D. Librarian for Western European and Medieval & Renaissance Studies and Adjunct Assistant Professor of German
Jakob Norberg, Ph.D. Associate Professor of German
Thomas Pfau, Ph.D. Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English and Professor of German
Henry Pickford, Ph.D. Professor of German and Philosophy and Director of Graduate Studies
Sarah Pourciau, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of German and Academic Director, Duke in Berlin
Jari Splettstößer, M.A. Duke-in-Berlin Lecturer
Ingeborg Walther, Ph.D. Emerita Professor of the Practice of German
Jochen Wohlfeil, M.A. Resident Director, Duke in Berlin

21 surrounded by garlands

Duke German Graduating Class of 2021

German Majors

Stephanie Crater headshot

Stephanie Crater (Pratt, 2021)

Stephanie is graduating with a triple major in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and German. After graduating, she will be moving to Seattle to work as a software engineer at Microsoft. She eventually hopes to go back to school to get a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Graduate Comments

Studying abroad in Berlin was by far the highlight of my experience with Duke German!  I first went abroad the summer after my freshman year, and I loved it so much I went back to Berlin again from January-August of my sophomore year. Everyone involved in the Duke in Berlin program is absolutely fantastic (special shoutout to Jochen, Susanne, Jari, Fazi, and Lina) and I loved every moment I got to learn from them. I can’t wait to go back and visit! (The picture is me stopping to hug the Brandenburger Tor during my last run with my running group in Berlin before going back to the States.)

Faculty Comments

“It was such a joy to get to know Stephanie last fall in ‘German Underworlds,’ even if only remotely! Her creative, articulate, and incisive contributions on a whole series of difficult texts/films went a long way toward keeping our class discussions alive and exciting for all concerned, and her beautiful, essayistic writing (in German!) was a Benjaminian revelation. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach her.” – Sarah Pourciau

“Stephanie – thank you for all the energy, academic excellence, creativity and your joyful approach to learning that you brought to our Duke in Berlin programs. I had the pleasure of teaching Stephanie for her Advanced German class during the DiB Summer Program 2018 and for her Engineering Track German class for the DiB Spring Program 2019. Stephanie’s relaxed way of sporty competitiveness – combined with a healthy dose of friendly comradery – really helped elevate the level of production of the classes and will no doubt benefit any other academic or professional surrounding. Alles Gute, Stephanie!” – Jari Splettstößer

“Stephanie was on the Duke in Berlin Program / Pratt School in the Spring  of 2019. She was a sheer delight since she not only worked continuously on her German proficiency up to the point where she could follow German University classes at the University of Technology, but also was embedded in research projects on a graduate level. Eventually she presented her Biomedical paper on a conference in the US. She is a model student and made excellent use of her German environment. Stephanie immersed in the host family and spoke German all the time. In my class she contributed and presented on the “Energiewende” and its effects on the German economy and environmental implications. Her involvement in the “Laufbewegung” meant that she met many Germans who shared common interests. She will always remain in my memory as a fine stellar student. Here is wishing all the best and a big thank you that she came to Berlin!” – Jochen Wohlfeil

“I never had the pleasure of having you in my class, Stephanie, but it was such fun to spend time with you on the Duke in Berlin summer program! Your “Lebensfreude” was infectious, and you did so much to contribute to our wonderful group. I have been so impressed by all you’ve accomplished in such a short time. I wish you all the best!” – Susanne Freytag

21 surrounded by garlands
Sydney McKinney headshot

Sydney McKinney (Trinity, 2021)

Sydney is graduating with a double major in German and Public Policy. Next Fall she will be working as a Strategy Analyst at Deloitte in Washington, DC.

Graduate Comments

My time studying abroad in Berlin was one of my most memorable experiences in Duke German, and in my Duke career generally. I spent a summer and fall semester in Berlin and made friendships that will last a lifetime. The best part was being able to use my German practically, like in coffee shops and restaurants. Experiential learning is always more enriching than theoretical!”

Faculty Comments

“What a wonderful and enriching class we had during the Duke in Berlin Summer Program 2018. Sydney’s infusion of excellently packaged opinion made every class discussion and debate worthwhile. It was simply a joy to read Sydney’s texts and listen to her eloquent presentations. Also, Sydney’s social and communicative skills really shone during group work activities as well as on our class excursions, making the entire processes more engaging for everyone involved. Alles Gute, Sydney!” – Jari Splettstößer

“Sydney McKinney was in my advanced German and Culture Class in Fall 2019 after she had been to Berlin during the summer. Her German was excellent and she belonged to the best in the course. She received outstanding grades, was  very focused especially since she wanted to continue to graduate school. Her research paper in my class focused on the debate about Nazi architecture and how we should use it today. The question at the core of the paper revolved around the challenge we face when dealing with the legacy of the “Third Reich.” While some buildings such as the ministry of Finance are using the former “Reichsluftfahrt Ministerium,” the villa where the systematic extermination of Jews was decided has been used as commemoration site and educational institution. All the best, Sydney!” – Jochen Wohlfeil

“Sydney’s diverse academic talents served her well in a course she took with me on German representations of America: she has excellent spoken and written German, a sharp and critical sensibility, and pays keen attention to the ways that different media communicate and express problems and ideas. I greatly admire Sydney’s confident, no-nonsense attitude and know it will serve her well in life. Congratulations and all the best, Sydney!” – Kata Gellen

21 surrounded by garlands

Sibora Seranaj (Trinity, 2021)

Sibora is graduating with a double major in Statistical Science and German. Next year she will attend graduate school at Columbia University for Applied Analytics.

Faculty Comments

“I taught Sibora in four advanced German courses and it is an honor and pleasure to call her my student and friend! Sibora has a truly humanistic spirit: she is genuinely moved by the aesthetic and philosophical implications of art and literature, and consistently offers deep and penetrating reflections on what they can teach us about the nature of human feeling, thought, and behavior. I have particularly enjoyed reading some of my favorite authors – Joseph Roth, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil – and looking at German prints and drawings at the Nasher Museum of Art with Sibora this semester in our independent study on “Modern German Literature and Art.” She is a truly sharp, sensitive, and productively skeptical reader. More often than not, I leave our sessions having learned something new from this amazing student and human being. Good luck with all your future endeavors, Sibora! Please keep reading German literature, and please stay in touch!” – Kata Gellen

“What a pleasure to get to know you in Berlin the summer of 2017 and then to have you as a student in my German Media and Culture seminar the following year. You brought a unique perspective to the class and reminded everyone that the American view of the world was not the default. I loved how you never felt the need to temper your opinions. It was a thrill. I wish you all the best, Sisi!” – Susanne Freytag

“Sisi – congratulations! When we met for Sisi's Advanced German class during the Duke in Berlin Summer Program of 2017, Sisi filled the classroom with her fun-loving attitude and most of all with intriguing out-of-the-box enquiry and criticism. Sisi's Albanian background often lent her a different perspective that put to question basic assumptions held by others in the group. Thank you for a joyous and academically enriching encounter, Sisi!” – Jari Splettstößer

21 surrounded by garlands
Cassandra Turk headshot

Cassandra Turk (Trinity, 2021)

Cass is graduating with a double major in German and Economics, and a minor in Math. After taking a gap year, she plans on attending graduate school to get a PhD in economics.

Graduate Comments

My favorite experiences in the German department have all been the result of its wonderful faculty; getting to attend small classes with the chance to get to know each professor personally, and not just be a face in an auditorium, is what really helped me to grow and learn in the German classroom.

Faculty Comments

“Cass was a pleasure to teach (twice!) and a delight to get to know. She distinguished herself through her carefully thought-out and insightful contributions to class discussions, as well as through her calm, friendly, and patient demeanor. I could always count on Cass to approach even the most difficult objects and questions with openness and perceptive attention. It was clear that she felt at home in the Duke German Department, and we will miss her!” – Sarah Pourciau

“It was wonderful to spend time with you in Berlin the summer of 2018 , Cass. Your openness and sense of camaraderie contributed so much to the group. I was so pleased to have you in my German Media and Culture seminar the following year. Your enthusiastic participation and thoughtful insights helped make the class such a pleasure to come to every day. I wish you all the best!” – Susanne Freytag

“It has been wonderful getting to know Cass Turk this past semester in my German sociolinguistics course. Cass always made meaningful contributions to our class discussions, regularly connecting the readings to important real-life issues and perspectives. I always enjoyed reading her thoughtful reflections about the German language, and it was especially rewarding to see the great strides she made in her German. I am excited to follow Cass’s career as she embarks on life beyond Duke. Congratulations, Cass, on this great achievement!” – Cori Crane

21 surrounded by garlands

German Minors

Will Brodner headshot

Will Brodner (Trinity, 2021)

Will is graduating with a major in Political Science and a minor in German. He’s currently waiting to hear back about a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Germany.

Graduate Comments

My most memorable experience with the Duke German Department has to be my time abroad with Duke in Berlin during Fall 2019. I’d recommend it to anyone!

Faculty Comments

“I would love to have you in every language class I teach, Will. It was such a joy to come into the 102 classroom every day and already find you engaging your classmates in German. It’s been a while, but your fun-loving approach to learning, your curiosity and thoughtful insights were memorable. I wish you all the best!” – Susanne Freytag

“I have now taught Will for almost an entire year, and he has brightened my (virtual) classroom the entire time. He has an absolutely delightful attitude, which allows him to find interesting things to say about virtually any kind of object whatsoever; I have never seen him act even remotely cynical, and yet his contributions are never lacking in sophistication. I can always count on him to help me carry even the most difficult German conversations in productive directions, and his unique stylistic voice translates beautifully into German. The world is lucky to be gaining Will, but we will be sorry to lose him.”  – Sarah Pourciau

“It was a pleasure to have Will Brodner as a student in my German 203 class a few years back. Will made great gains in his German and always brought a great sense of humor and outlook on life to class. It was great to reconnect with him this past year when he needed his German proficiency tested and to see how skilled and beautiful his German had become! Congratulations, Will, on a great run at Duke and best wishes to you for the next stages in your career!” – Cori Crane

21 surrounded by garlands
Bob Ding headshot

Ziyang (Bob) Ding (Trinity, 2021)

Bob is graduating with a double major in Mathematics and Statistical Science and a minor in German. After graduating, he will go to New York to work as quantitative strategist for Goldman Sachs, while simultaneously working on his startup.

Graduate Comments

My favorite experiences in Duke German were definitely Filmabend and Kaffeestunde. A lot of practice in German. Otherwise I would not have been able to speak German aside from reading and listening.

Faculty Comments

“I had the pleasure of getting to know Bob Ding during his first semesters learning German at Duke. As a student in my German 101 and 102 classes, Bob always exuded much enthusiasm and a true openness to learning about other perspectives. He was a terrific student eager to learn more and improve his German. Congratulations, Bob, on graduating and on earning a German minor!”  – Cori Crane

“Bob is a dedicated student of German with a great sense of humor and a wonderful, unique German writing style. His impressive discipline and determination will stand him in good stead as he moves on to explore life after Duke. I very much enjoyed getting to know him last spring and wish him all the best!” – Sarah Pourciau

21 surrounded by garlands
Anna Dombrovskaya headshot

Anna Dombrovskaya (Trinity, 2021)

Anna is graduating with a major in Philosophy and a double minor in German and Visual & Media Studies. She plans to shoot a short documentary project this summer, and to work in film in the future.

Graduate Comments

My time with Duke in Berlin was one of my favorite Duke experiences, and I hope to get back to Berlin sometime in the future! I am also grateful for my courses with Amy Jones, an incredibly encouraging professor, and with Dr. Pickford, who hosted additional sessions after our philosophy class to discuss readings in German. Dr. Pickford has also been wonderful in helping me explore my academic interests and providing support and advice as I navigated this.

Faculty Comments

“It was my great fortune and privilege to get to know Anya early in her undergraduate career, when she took my course “Marx, Nietzsche, Freud.” Not only did she write papers that were extraordinary in terms of intellect, creativity, and expressiveness, but in office hour visits and a subsequent “flunch” it became clear just how extraordinary she is. The daughter of Russian émigrés, who also had lived in Germany, with a keen interest in literature, film, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, Anya’s inquisitiveness is far-ranging and her thinking always deep and insightful. We stayed in touch and so I was lucky enough to witness how her interests and aptitudes evolved, from conversations about education and access when she was teaching one summer in Durham public schools, to her interests in studying and making documentary films, to her writing a senior thesis in the Russian department on the films of Bergman and Tarkovsky. Anya is not only someone who will excel in whatever she does, she is someone whose very choice of pursuits is intrinsically thoughtful. I look forward to learning of her future endeavors with the utmost admiration.” – Henry Pickford

“Anya Dombrovskaya came to Berlin in 2020 and  we had to finish my course online like so many of that class. I was happy that we had several  weeks together in class on site in Berlin so we at least knew each other in person. Anya’s German was already very good when she came but she also made really good use of her period in Berlin. She stayed with a teacher and actress and they had a vivid exchange of ideas. She completed my course on the comparison and development of German Film in Expressionism and Film Noir – very solid research and wonderful images. Moreover she continued and completed a lengthy paper in the Department of Philosophy of the Freie Universität on Plato and received an excellent grade. She belonged to the best group of students in my class. All the best to you, Anya!” – Jochen Wohlfeil

21 surrounded by garlands

Mohaimenul Islam (Pratt, 2021)

Mohaimenul is graduating with a major in Mechanical Engineering, a minor in German, and a certificate in Aerospace Engineering.

Faculty Comments

“It was such a pleasure to get to know you on the Duke in Berlin summer program. I was thrilled to have you in my German Media and Culture seminar a year later. Your intelligence, diligence, sense of solidarity and kindness are just few of your wonderful attributes. I wish you all the best on your life’s journey, Mo!” – Susanne Freytag

“Mohaimen was a pleasure to have in my Advanced German class a few years ago, in which we discussed films and texts that explored the question of freedom and authority. His logical mind and questioning spirit made our discussions lively and thought-provoking. Congratulations and all the best to you, Mohaimen! – Kata Gellen

21 surrounded by garlands
Sahar Kaleem headshot

Sahar Kaleem (Trinity, 2021)

Sahar is graduating with a major in Biology and a double minor in German and Chemistry. After graduating, she will be attending Brown University’s Master of Medical Sciences Program in the summer and hopes to attend medical school after the program.

Graduate Comments

I really enjoyed attending Kaffeestunde during my time in the German department. It was an amazing way for me to interact with other students of different levels and with some native speakers, as well. I remember attending Kaffeestunde during busy weeks, and it was an amazing way for me to relax and play boardgames while also practicing my German.

Faculty Comments

“Sahar came to Berlin with the 2019 summer program. She is a great student who I remember fondly. She is attentive, very intelligent, with a good feel for the German language. I am sure she will make her way and I wish her all the best on it.” – Daniela Jonas

“I really enjoyed watching Sahar grow as a German speaker and writer in my spring 2020 seminar, “The Image of America in German Culture.” The class was large and intimidating (with several native speakers), but Sahar found her voice and made wonderful contributions. By the end of the class, she was writing sophisticated essays and giving detailed presentations on various aspects of the intersection of German and American culture. It was a pleasure to teach you, Sahar, and I wish you all the best!” – Kata Gellen

21 surrounded by garlands
Pengcheng Liang headshot

Pengcheng (Cosima) Liang (Pratt, 2021)

Cosima is graduating with a double major in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and a minor in German. She is going to graduate school for PhD in Biomedical Engineering next semester.

Graduate Comments

My best memories was the half year I spent in Berlin. It was a nice little break from Pratt and a fantastic cultural experience.

Faculty Comments

“What a pleasure it was to have you in my 102 class as you were preparing to go to Berlin. It’s always so much fun to learn from my students and you certainly taught me about musicals I had no idea existed. I always appreciated your unique insights. Congratulations and all the best to you!” – Susanne Freytag

“Pengcheng (aka as Cosima) was a fun participant in my Engineering Track German class for our Duke in Berlin Spring Progam 2019. An expert for everything to do with race cars and animal-like robots, Cosima showed us the most intriguing German companies constructing flying robot-jellyfish and the likes. Also, Cosima was a constantly reliable source of excellent academic output – never shying away from diverging into elaborations on her other passion: musicals! Alles Gute für dich, Cosima!”  – Jari Splettstößer

21 surrounded by garlands
Alice Liao headshot

Alice Liao (Trinity, 2021)

Alice is graduating with a double major in Statistical Science and Economics and a minor in German. Next year she will be working in an investment bank in New York.

Graduate Comments

“I had so many memorable experiences in the German department. I would say the most memorable one is the first German presentation I gave in German 203 because that’s when I started to realize I could communicate and share ideas in German. I still remember the presentation was on die Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and I misspelled “Elbphilharmonie” so many times in my slides. Of course German 350 was memorable too because it was one of the hardest classes I had at Duke. I had never imagined I would take a German class with native Germans, but somehow I managed to survive (a huge thanks to Professor Gellen).” – Alice Liao

“Alice Liao was a delight to have in my advanced German seminar ‘The Image of America in German Culture.’ Discussing this topic in a class with native speakers and with international students from across the globe was a truly enlightening experience for all! We explored questions of diversity, stereotyping, and acculturation from a myriad of theoretical and personal perspectives. Alice wrote insightful papers and gave compelling presentations on a number of topics. I appreciated her curiosity about the materials, her openness to different ideas and attitudes, and her willingness to contribute to our class conversations, despite the somewhat intimidating environment. I wish you all the best with your future endeavors, Alice!” – Kata Gellen

“Truly inspirational! This is what immediately comes to my mind when I recall Alice Liao. Alice is a student of exceptional motivation and intellectual capacity, who took great interest not only in German courses, but also in the Durham community. Alice is one of the finest students I had the pleasure of teaching and I have no doubt she will make a difference in the world. It was such an honor working with you.” – April Henry

“It feels so long ago now, but I remember what a wonderful student you were in 203. You were so diligent and dedicated and made such amazing progress in only one semester. I hope you continue to enjoy learning German and I wish you all the best in life!” – Susanne Freytag

21 surrounded by garlands
Mochen Ma headshot

Mochen Ma (Trinity, 2021)

Mochen is graduating with a major in Political Science, a minor in German, and a certificate in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. His current plan is to go to law school.

Graduate Comments

After having been in Berlin for only a few days, I was fortunate enough to attend the performance by the Berlin Philharmonic at the Brandenburg Gate. As part of the celebration for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the philharmonic performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It was definitely a great experience with the others in the program...even if the scorching weather beforehand forced me to pay three euros for a bottle of water!

Faculty Comments

“Professional, dedicated, and intelligent are just a few words that describe Mochen (Phil) Ma who took my German 204 course in the fall of 2018. It was pleasure having him lead the class in numerous political debates with insight, maturity, and humor. I look forward to hearing about Mochen’s future success. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!” – April Henry

“Mochen Ma attended the Duke in Berlin Program in Fall 2019 and always contributed very stimulating aspects to the discussions in the advanced German class. Part of the class refers to current issues in the media that often initiate lively discussion and interaction. Phil, as he was called, came always well prepared and reflected on the consequences any decisions would have on society in the future. His lengthy paper in my class drew an analogy on the expression of architecture as political statement. Being in Germany ( Berlin ) he compared architecture of the Nazi Period as well as GDR architecture. The paper was also monitored and assessed by Prof. Dr. Pabsch the art historian of the Duke in Berlin Program. He ranked among the best students in my class. Here is wishing him well and all best in his future endeavours.” – Jochen Wohlfeil

21 surrounded by garlands
Anya Parks headshot

Anya Parks (Trinity, 2021)

Anya is graduating with a major in Evolutionary Anthropology and a minor in German. She has spent the last three years as a research assistant in the Duke Puppy Kindergarten and is excited to continue her research career as lab coordinator for the Boston College Canine Cognition Lab. 

Graduate Comments

“Going to Berlin was amazing!  Almost every day, my sneakers would take me somewhere new. My host mom made me realize just how old everything in Berlin was. During my runs, I would look and realize the depth of the city’s history; the fact that the streets were full of stories was a constantly shocking revelation. In being completely uprooted from home, I was able to better understand it, and consider the stories I hadn't before.” – Anya Parks

Faculty Comments

“Anya Parks completed the course Ger 390 online during the Spring Semester 2200 – We had very lively discussions on the historical development and respective Zeitgeist issues in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. We mainly used the open source reference of GHDI and Anya often focused on the issues related to people of color and LGBTQ in Germany. She researched on Afro-Germans, discrimination and racism in a historical context. Her lengthy paper revealed her deep understanding of the topic. It was enriching to listen to her account on the current debate in the US as well as Germany. All the best to you, Anja!” – Jochen Wohlfeil

“What a delight it was to have Anya Parks in my beginning and intermediate German classes at Duke. Not only did Anya bring a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and commitment to her German studies, but she also was one of the most thoughtful and reflective language learners I have met. I always enjoyed our conversations in class and in office hours about language, culture and even comedy! I know you will go far, Anya! Congratulations on this big milestone!” – Cori Crane

“What a pity that our Duke in Berlin intensive German classes of Spring 2020 were stopped short ahead of time. Anya, an experimental anthropologist in the making, was more than ready to go for delving into more research on this side of the Atlantic – more than likely to do with one of her many interests: bats. Anya was a pure pleasure to have as a student in our class, which certainly has to do with her academic prowess but even more so with her warm and caring personality – Anya always keeps a close eye on everybody’s well-being. Alles Gute, Anya!”  – Jari Splettstößer


21 surrounded by garlands

Annie Roberts headshot

Annie Roberts (Trinity, 2021)

Annie is graduating with a major in Environmental Sciences, a minor in German, and an Energy and Environment Certificate. Next year she will be moving to Washington, D.C. to work as a climate change researcher for ICF.

Graduate Comments

I was so fortunate to be able to do Duke in Berlin during the summer of 2019. While I loved improving my German, it seems to be the mundane daily activities that still stick in my mind, like morning runs in Treptower Park, riding the U-Bahn home from class, and drinking lattes at the cafe near my apartment. My roommates and I would also split a Ritter Sport nearly every day. This obsession culminated in a trip to the Ritter Sport Museum, where I bought 7 kilograms of chocolate to take home. Berlin was truly a magical summer.

Faculty Comments

“It was a pleasure to first get to know you during the Duke in Berlin summer program. I so appreciated your flexibility and easy-going nature, and you did so much to contribute to a wonderful group atmosphere. You brought the same enthusiasm and relaxed vibe to our German Media and Culture seminar in the Fall, not to mention your intelligence and wit, all of which helped make 340 such a fun class for me to teach. I wish you all the best, Annie!” – Susanne Freytag

21 surrounded by garlands

Christopher Shin (Pratt, 2021)

Chris is graduating with a double major in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science and a minor in German. He will be working in Software Engineering in Virginia this coming fall.

Graduate Comments

“For me, living in Berlin as well as being able to travel to places like Lübeck and Hamburg with my class were several defining moments of my time at Duke, and I will always appreciate and cherish those memories.  The connections I made through Duke German, whether with professors, peers, or places, also shaped my time at Duke and will afterwards as well.” – Chris Shin

Faculty Comments

“I will never forget having you in my beginning German class (102) as you were preparing for your semester in Berlin. Your insouciant approach to class was unparalleled that semester, but you always knew your stuff and knew it well. It was great fun spending some time with you in Berlin during your semester there. Congratulations and all the best!” – Susanne Freytag

“A cool guy if there ever was one, Chris definitely showed up academically for our Duke in Berlin Engnineering Track German class in our Spring Program 2019. The top quality of Chris’s output was always to be counted upon. Chris seems to be the kind of person who knows what he wants and will always be capable of finding the best ways to reach his goals – with blond hair or without. Alles Gute, Chris!”  – Jari Splettstößer

21 surrounded by garlands
Charlotte Thomas headshot

Charlotte Thomas (Trinity, 2021)

Charlotte is graduating with a major in Chemistry and a double minor in German and Biology. Next year she will be doing research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and planning to go to medical school in the future.

Graduate Comments

My most memorable experiences in German stem from the small class sizes and the intimacy of the learning environment. Our classes were always fun, and I came to not only know, but become friends with people I otherwise never would have crossed paths with. I could always walk into Old Chem and run into someone that I know; it truly was a place unlike any other on campus.

Faculty Comments

“It was my pleasure to have you in two classes over the last few years. I was particularly impressed by your strong leadership skills and focus, two of your many strong attributes.  I knew I could count on you to actively participate in class, always contributing thoughtful, intelligent comments and questions. I’m sure you’ll do amazing things in the medical field, Charlotte. All the best to you!” – Susanne Freytag

“I had the pleasure of teaching Charlotte Thomas intermediate German in the fall of 2018.  Her contributions to the class discussions were above all thought-provoking. Charlotte’s tenacity and drive never failed to astound me. Congratulations Charlotte! I wish you all the best.” – April Henry

21 surrounded by garlands
William von Guionneau headshot

William von Guionneau (Trinity, 2021)

Will is graduating with a double major in History and International Comparative Studies and a minor in German. He will be moving to New York in July and starting a job at a private equity firm.

Graduate Comments

Perhaps the most memorable experience I had at Duke was going abroad to Berlin for my Junior Fall Semester. It was an incredible learning experience and cultural immersion that I will always cherish.

Faculty Comments

“Will is a kind, gentle spirit who excelled in my Advanced German course in spring 2019. Will consistently made insightful comments and wrote excellent papers on the various literary and political topics we covered in the class. In particular, I remember his enthusiasm for our visits to the Rubenstein Library, where we looked at their extensive collection of Nazi-era publications. Will made some amazing finds by scouring newspapers from the 1930s! I’m glad Will got to spend a semester in Berlin, perfecting his already excellent German. Congratulations, Will. I wish you all the best!” – Kata Gellen

“It’s been a long time, but I won’t quickly forget our little 204 class your freshman year. With your keen intelligence and generous spirit, you contributed so much to make it a very special class. It was a pleasure to get to know you. Congratulations and all the best!” – Susanne Freytag

21 surrounded by garlands
Hongxuan Wang headshot

Hongxuan Wang (Pratt, 2021)

Hongxuan is graduating with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics and a minor in German. Shortly after graduation, he will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University

Graduate Comments

My experiences at Duke German are all about connecting with people, be it the other members at Duke or the Berliners. Kaffeestunde is a perfect example. In fact, I had the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of people that Kaffeestunde had been my news hub for learning about all the happenings at Duke. Such interpersonal experiences continued as I participated in Duke in Berlin during my junior year, where I get to connect with an even larger community. During my time in Berlin, I met some of the friendliest and the most talented people I have ever encountered, many of whom continue to inspire me with their passion and attitudes in life. They have taught me different things, from how to righteously honor history to how to become a more responsible engineer.

Faculty Comments

“Hongxuan (or “Max”) and I not only shared his Engineering Track German class for his Duke in Berlin Spring Program 2020, but also hour-long conversations on the train during our excursions. Max is a delightful personality, whose modesty, open-mindedness and perceptiveness concerning intercultural differences really stuck out. In a class full of heritage speakers and native speakers of German, Max easily held his own and progressed at a very fast pace, getting ready for classes at the Technical University of Berlin. Alles Gute, Max!” – Jari Splettstößer

21 surrounded by garlands
Rita Wang headshot

Rita Wang (Trinity, 2021)

Rita is graduating with a double major in Public Policy and Psychology and a minor in German. After graduating, she plans to go into strategy consulting.

Graduate Comments

Many of my favorite Duke memories are from Duke In Berlin. From discussing Berlin history next to the Berlin Wall to learning about German art and architecture in Berlin’s world-class museums to bonding with my host mom over German desserts, my time in Berlin was an incredible, unmatched experience that I'll never forget.

Faculty Comments

“Rita is a wonderful student, attentive and well humored. During her time in Berlin she attentively observed the habits and customs of the Germans, which led to interesting discussions in the course. She also knew exactly about the tradition of Kaffeeklatsch and Apfelstrudel and gave a great presentation about it. It was good to have you in class.  All the best for your future.”  – Daniela Jonas

“It was such a pleasure to have had you in my German 203 class and to see how far you’ve come since then. Congratulations and all the best!” – Susanne Freytag


21 surrounded by garlands

María Zurita Ontiveros headshot

María Zurita Ontiveros (Trinity, 2021)

María is graduating with a double major in Theater Studies and History. After graduating, she plans to continue to work as a theater director.

Graduate Comments

My experience in the Duke in Berlin program were some of the highlights of my Duke Career. I loved my experience in German classes in the department and also in Berlin, with Helen Saenz, Maggie Reif, and Daniela Jonas, as well as with Matthias Pabsch.

Faculty Comments

“Maria, you are full of energy. Maria is very interested in politics and society but above all she loves the theater! I think she got to know every theater in Berlin and not just the big theaters.  Maria has a clear and distinct view on things and is not afraid to discuss. That's great. I wish you all the best for your future.”  – Daniela Jonas