GREAL Newsletter - December 2011

Volume 12, Issue 1


Dear Alumni,  The GREAL faculty and current GREAL students wish you and yours a happy holiday season. We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing more about your interesting lives and careers in the commg year.

-- Dr. Margaret Ziolkowski


In Summer 2011, Dr. Irina Goncharenko-Rose (above, far right) again led a group of Miami University students to Russia for intensive studying of the Russian language (Novgorod program). The group also spent a few days sightseeing at various cultural sites in Moscow and St. Petersburg.


We received a gratifying "bump" in contributions from you to our gift fund, which supports extras and study abroad and graduating seniors Awards Day. You may give to the "GREAL Gift Fund" at the Miami University Office of Development, 725 E. Chestnut, Oxford, OH 45056. Or go to: Click on "Other" and "GREAL."


Let us know what you are doing! We are collecting photos and brief paragraphs of our alumni to be featured on the GREAL's home page. Tell us what you've been up to and how your GREAL major or minor has helped and you could be featured on our web site. Send materials to Dr. Jeep at! Visit us at


GREAL is undergoing program review this fall. This procedure, in which every department at Miami engages, takes place every six years or so and involves evaluation by external and internal faculty reviewers of GREAL's majors, minors, programs, and curriculum. In connection with this year's review, GREAL sent a questionnaire to the 99 alumni majors from 2005-2011 accessible by e-mail. 29 alumni, representing all three of our majors (German Studies; East Asian Languages and Cultures; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies) responded.

Interesting facts about this group of alumni that emerged are that almost 75% of them were double majors at Miami, with nearly half of those having a second major in the social sciences; fully 25% currently live outside the US, in countries ranging from Finland and Georgia to Japan; almost half live in Ohio; two-thirds are employed and most of the other third are enrolled in graduate programs in the humanities; those who are employed work primarily in business, government, and education.

To the delight of the GREAL faculty, the vast majority of these alumni respondents expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the education provided by their GREAL major and provided helpful suggestions for improvement. We in turn would like to express our appreciation to our alumni for taking the time to complete the survey.


Two Miami German Majors have been or will be studying in Munich with the Wayne State Junior Year in Munich Program in 2011. Amy Newman and Emily Krienast. Sara Beaumont will attend the Spring 2012 semester. Lissa Goins completed a semester in Marburg. Alyssa Lott studied in Lüneberg.  Rebecca Fradkin is currently studying in Russia. From our Japanese Program, Elisabeth Baran is in Japan.


Jay Bodell (Russian 2011) is teaching English in the Republic of Georgia.

Nicole Booher (German 2010) is currently an associate at Alcalde & Fay, in the Washington, DC area.

Natalie (Brooke) Soto (German 1998) teaches German and Spanish at Fremd H.S. in Chicagoland.

Adam Cook (Japanese 2007) taught English in Hokkaido, Japan for four years through the JET Program, and is currently translating a Japanese Archery Dictionary from Japanese to English. He is going back to Japan in October for another year for the archery training and to complete his translation. Adam became the grand champion of the Japanese Archery Competition in Hokkaido in 2009.

Carrie Ferree (German 2011) is teaching English at Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, China.

Jennifer Jenkins (German 1996) M.A. German; M.A. Scandinavian, PhD German, all U Wisconsin; Assistant Professor and Chair, Scandinavian Area Studies, Pacific Lutheran University

Sean Killian (German 2000) completed an MBA and MS in Corporate Strategy and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, and now works in Chicago for the Boston Consulting Group.

Harrison King (Russian 2011) is a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Meredith (Leland) Theelen (German 2000) has lived since 2007 with her husband in the Netherlands, and works for a Microbiology lab. She is featured on GREAL's website.

Lauren Matthews (German 2006) is now a Technical Writer at Buchanan & Edwards (Washington, DC).

Warren Merkel (German 1996), teaches English in Korea, where he is married. He has published an article on foreign language teaching: ?page_id=2962

Cordelia Moore (REEES 2011) is teaching English in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Greg Ormiston (Russian 2011) is pursuing Slavic Studies at OSU.

Carly Peselnick (Chinese 2007) Chinese major, completed a Master's degree at OSU and has accepted a government position.

Cristina Rue (German 2011) is pursuing graduate studies at Georgetown University and enjoying Washington, DC.

Molly C. Ruppel (German 2007) is an Audit Senior at Deloitte & Touche in Columbus. She recently visited GREAL while working in Oxford.

Taylor White (Russian 2011) is pursuing Slavic Studies at OSU.

Chrissy (Wingerter) Galaise (German 2003) stopped by for a visit to GREAL this summer.

Kate Swift Zale (Russian 2004) is a sonographer at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, where she occasionally encounters Russian-speaking patients.

Chrstine Zielke (German, Chinese 2011) begins her Peace Corps work in El Salvador February 2012, following a year of teaching in China.

Let us know what you are doing! Send your news ( and please include your year of graduation) to


Vitaly Chernetsky presented a paper at an international Ukrainian Studies conference at the University of Wroclaw in Poland in October 2011.

Mila Ganeva is spending the current academic year on sabbatical.

John M. Jeep succeeded Ruth H. Sanders as Chief Departmental Advisor. Jeep, Director of Linguistics -- now a College of Arts & Science Program -- is currently serving as Interim Director oflnternational Studies. The 25th annual Intensive German Summer ended successfully, recruitment for the 2012 group is underway. Jeep was named to the Executive Advisory Committee of the Junior Year in Munich Program.

Benjamin Sutcliffe returns in January after a semester sabbatical.

Former faculty member:

Hirayama Ruri, Japanese instructor from 2006-08, taught Japanese at the University of Pennsylvania from 08-11. She will be a Japanese instructor at the New York Japan Foundation Office as of January 2012. She lives with her husband, Adam Hirsch (2006), in NYC.