GRAMELAC Alumni Newsletter - November 2017

November 2017
Volume 18, Issue 1

News from the Chair

Dr. Margaret ZiolkowskiDear Alumni and Friends,

Greetings from the Department of German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. We are off to a good start again this year with our programs, with a current total of 106 majors (62 in East Asian Languages and Cultures, 29 in German, and 15 in     Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies) and 190 minors (17 in Arabic, 46 in Chinese, 62 in German, 50 in Japanese, 11 in Russian, and 4 in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies). Our plans for the coming summer’s intensive language programs in Germany and China are      already underway. 

This past August marked the establishment of a special GRAMELAC Study Abroad Fund. The kickoff event took place on Move-In Day and garnered several contributions to the new fund. These contributions will help us realize our goal of providing support for students studying abroad for the summer, the semester, or the year. With Miami’s institutional emphasis on study abroad, the number of students so engaged increases every year. If you would like to help us with this effort, please go to the last page in this newsletter and click on the web address provided to take you to Miami’s University Advancement gift giving page. Your gift will be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes for a pleasant holiday season!

Margaret Ziolkowski

The Second Annual Hummus Competition

This year the Annual Hummus Event was a  joint venture between Arabic and Hebrew students, making a statement: Make Hummus not war!! The event started the event with a short trailer of the movie "Make Hummus Not War" followed by a funny music video clip about Hummus. Then students were divided into three groups, each with both Hebrew and Arabic students, and started to work on our recipes.  The outcome was delicious!! Many variations of this highly delicious and super healthy Mediterranean dish.  Special thanks to Mr. Saleh Yousef and Mr. Amit Morag for organizing, and to all the students and visitors that contributed to the diversity and wonderful outcome of this event.
Students Making Hummus 2017 Students Making Hummus 2017

Hebrew Students Celebrate Purim

Purim - The Jewish costume holiday was celebrated with the Hebrew 102 and 202 classes. We got some reinforcement from  "Friends from Israel"- two Israeli volunteers in a gap year before their army service- bringing Israel to the local Jewish and non-Jewish community (Hadas and Alon).
So, what is Purim? The jolly festival is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates thesalvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day,” as recorded in the Megillah (book of Esther).
Purim 2017 Celebration with HBW 202 Class

Students Surprise with Hanukkah Sweaters

Students wearing Hanukkah sweatersFive of the Hebrew class HBW 101 (Viv, Magan, Yoni, Yael and Rachel) decided to surprise their Hebrew teacher by coming to their final exam wearing special, hand decorated sweatshirts. They all self decorated their sweatshirts in the spirit of the coming Hanukkah, or some Hebrew class jokes. This was done as part of the Hillel Hanukkah Ho-down that was held a few nights prior. Happy Hanukkah to all!

GRAMELAC Award Ceremony

Gretchen Shelby and Graham von Carlowitz with Dr. DiDonatoThe 2016-2017 GRAMELAC Awards Ceremony was held Wednesday, May 03, 2017 in 322 McGuffey Hall at 4:00pm. The Chair of the department, Dr. Margaret “Gretchen” Ziolkowski, welcomed everyone and then announced the Cultural Presentations.


Presented by students enrolled in Dr. Quanyu Huang’s CHI 330 course during the spring semester: Gwendolyn Benzia, Ross Berger, Jacob Bryant, Madison Cain, Bonita Charoenwong, Danielle Kunkel, John Lechleiter, Joseph McCafferty, Kelsey McCrum, Jinkyu Na, Hunter O’Hare, Marie Powers, Kelsey Reider, MacKenzie Rocuquemore, David Tallman, and Claire Williams.


German Lied ("Die Lotosblume" by Robert Schumann) was performed in German by Kyra Maria Klontz. She is a senior with a double major in Music Education and Music Performance with minors in Special Education and Music Theater.


For a complete list of awardees and honorees, including an extensive photo gallery, please visit the GRAMELAC 2017 Awards Ceremony Web Page.

Dr. Mila Ganeva announced the Brietenbucher recipients and the non-dept. Student Achievement awards.

New Faculty for 2016-17: Wesley Lim

Dr. Wesley LimWhat do German and dance have in common? Other than Oktoberfest, one thing both studies share is GRAMELAC’s new Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Wesley Lim.

Originally from Texas, Lim did not begin his journey in academia in German (which he now teaches here at Miami), but in Finance and Dance. While the business portion of the degree was more of a way to please his parents – “I don’t like doing the business of [finance]… it was like, ‘why am I here?’” Lim says – the Vanderbilt University graduate had a true passion for dance. “I wanted to become a dancer and choreographer later, but I sustained an injury and had to have surgery.”

After dancing with his injury became too much, Lim decided to begin studying German. He initially learned the language during high school, where many of his peers were German immigrants. Lim also wanted something different than what his undergraduate degree in Finance offered him – when contemplating what his next steps were after his injury, he felt as he wanted to learn something more global. “As a twenty-year-old, it’s hard to ask yourself these questions; these large, global, existential questions, especially when you’re in business,” Lim remarks, “It’s not like they’re thinking, ‘what do you think of the world?’ They don’t really think that way.”

After teaching English in Japan for 4 months, Lim discovered a love of teaching. “I like that the students feel empowered,” Lim says. During the fall ’16 semester, Lim taught two sections of German 201 and one section of 301. Lim noted that he is enthusiastic about teaching at Miami because of the school’s liberal arts structure. “I’m excited to teach film in the spring [’17],” Lim remarked, “I always like to teach more film. I’m really open to all the classes I have to teach.” At Miami, Lim will be able to take full advantage of his eclectic compilation of degrees, and teach classes that he is passionate about. After many years of teaching, “I still love it,” says Lim.

Opportunities To Practice A Language

If you are a student that would like an opportunity to meet with others to practice Arabic, German, or Japanese in a relaxed environment, below is a list of the Language Tables in the Dept. of GRAMELAC.

  • Arabic Language Table—Meets every Wednesday at 5pm in 124 IRV
  • German Language Table (Kaffee im King)—Meets every Wednesday at 4pm in the King Café.
  • Japanese Language Table—Meets every Wednesday at 7pm in 118 IRV.

Light refreshments are usually served during these meetings so bring your friends and have fun while you learn.

 “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

~Nelson Mandela~

German 322 Students Visit Holocaust Center

German Students Visit Holocaust Center

German students enrolled in GER 322 during Miami's Winter Term (January 2017) had a field trip to Cincinnati's Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education as part of their course experience. According to their Mission Statement, the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education "educates about the Holocaust, remembers its victims and acts on its lessons. Through innovative programs and partnerships, CHHE challenges injustice, inhumanity and prejudice, and fosters understanding, inclusion and engaged citizenship. Resources include traveling and permanent exhibits, teacher trainings, and innovative programs."

Upcoming Winter and Summer Courses

2018 WINTER TERM (201815)

GER 232: The Holocaust in German Film, Lit, & Culture (3)

  • Being taught totally online!
  • Instructor: Dr. Mariana Ivanova
  • Classes begin January 2nd and end January 26th.

2018 SUMMER TERM (201830)

GER 219: Introduction to Linguistics (3)

  • Taught totally online!
  • Instructor currently unknown.
  • Classes begin May 22nd and end June 29th.

GER 231: Folk and Literary Fairy Tales (3)

  • Taught totally online!
  • Instructor: Dr. Sascha Gerhards
  • Classes begin May 22nd and end June 29th.

GER 232: German Literature, History & Film (3)

  • Taught totally online!
  • Instructor: Mariana Ivanova
  • Classes begin July 2nd and end August 10th.
Dr. Mariana Ivanova
Dr. Mariana Ivanova
 Dr. Sascha Gerhards
Dr. Sascha Gerhards

German Honor Society News

Each year the German Honors Society, Delta Phi Alpha, meets at a restaurant to enjoy each other's company and to celebrate the occurrence of any new members. Below is an image of this group’s meeting in 2016.

Fall 2016 Group Initiation Photo

left to right: Jay Yeager, Travis Collins, George Beverley (1968 initiate), Ryan Pettit, Deborah Cornett, John M. Jeep, Allison Van Twisk, Dan Richardson, Neal Hawkins

Special Student Recognitions


One of our own students received Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to help fund his study abroad experiences during the fall 2017 semester. Bryan Kubota, senior, psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures double major, will participate in Miami's Kansai Gaidai exchange program in Japan. 

Two of our own majors received Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to help fund their study abroad experiences during the spring 2018 semester.


The following students have taken the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. JLPT is an internationally accredited language examination organized by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services.

Level 2:

  • Binheng Wang
  • Jinwen Xie
  • Hongrui Zhang (graduate student)
  • Zijing Zhao

Level 1: (Highest Level)

  • Ju Liu—has been admitted to Tohoku University, one of the best universities in Japan, for his graduate studies.

Undergraduate Research Forum

Graham von Carlowitz, an International Studies and German double major, gave a poster presentation of his research at the Undergraduate Research Forum on April 26, 2017. His presentation was titled “Exploring German’s Immigration History in Light of the Refugee Crisis: An Examination of Integration. Von Carlowitz noted that his view on research expanded alongside his grasp of the German language.

"I learned that research can be interactive, whether that means sharing ideas with my advisor [German professor Mila Ganeva], or acquiring new ideas from everybody—classmates, friends, and, specific to my research, interviewees," he said.

2016-17 Conferences Faculty Attended

Dr. Irina Anisimova

  • The Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies Conference, Washington D.C., Nov 2016
  • American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, Austin, TX, Jan 2017
  • 19th Annual Russian Film Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2017.

Dr. Elizabeth M. Bergman

  • International Association of Arabic Dialectology, Marseille, France, Jun 2017.
  • North Atlantic Conference on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics, Leiden, Netherlands, Jun 2017.

Dr. Mila Ganeva

  • German Studies Association Conference, San Diego, CA, Oct 2016.
  • German-French Connections and Collaborations, Paris, France, Oct 2016.
  • University of Munich Conference, Munich, Germany, Jul 2017

Dr. Sascha Gerhards

  • German Studies Association Conference, San Diego, CA, Oct 2016

Dr. Kazue Harada

  • Association for Asian Studies and American Association of Teachers of Japanese, Seattle, WA, Apr 2016
  • Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Urbana-Champaign, IL, Oct 2016
  • Wiscon 41, Madison, WI, May 2017.

Dr. Mariana Ivanova

  • German Studies Association Conference, San Diego, CA, Oct 2016.

Dr. Wesley B. Lim

  • German Studies Association Conference, San Diego, CA, Oct 2016.

Dr. Noriko Reider

  • Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Urbana-Champaign, IL, Oct 2016

Dr. Liang Shi

  • Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Urbana-Champaign, IL, Oct 2016

Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe

  • Association for the Study of Nationalities, NYC, Apr 2016
  • The Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian
  • Orient and Literature—Literature of the Orient, Torun, Poland, Mar 2017.
  • Havighurst Conference, Rome, Italy, Jun 2017.

Dr. Haosheng Yang

  • Association for Asian Studies and American Association of Teachers of Japanese, Seattle, WA, Apr 2016
  • Cultural China/East Asia Changchun, Jilin Province

Opportunity to Live in Germany

Congress Bundestag Exchange LogoAFS Internation Exchange Logo

Sean Cullen“The Congressional-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program is a youth ambassador partnership between Germany and the United States, created to promote cultural and professional exchange. The program includes two months of intense language classes, a semester at a German University, and a five month long internship at a German company. As a participant, meals and housing in Germany and travel to and from Germany are provided. I am honored to be selected and am very excited for my departure in July, 2017. I encourage anyone who wants an opportunity to live in Germany for a year and explore future careers to apply for the 2018-2019 program.”


Sean Cullen
Mechanical Engineering


The 2018-19 CBYX application period for students in the AFS region is open! Go online to start an application. All applications must be submitted by 11:59PM Pacific on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

Basic Eligibility:

To be considered eligible for a CBYX scholarship, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • Born between February 3, 2000, and August 17, 2003
  • A current high school student at the time of application, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale

Go online to read additional eligibility criteria from the U.S. Department of State for the 2017-2018 program year.

Applications are evaluated based upon:

  • Evidence of the personal qualities essential for adjustment to another culture, such as flexibility, curiosity, open-mindedness, sense of humor and tolerance for adversity
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Motivation for a cross-cultural experience Academic merit

2016-17 Alumni Speaker Series


Mr. Cook’s lecture was scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at 4pm in 040 Irvin Hall. The title of his talk was “Self-Discovery Through Language and Culture: The Benefits of Language-Inspired Exploration.”

He reflected on how language learning not only enriches personal relationships, but also provides invaluable perspective and creates career opportunities in an increasingly global society.

Having graduated in 2007 with a major in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a Japanese Concentration, he went on to teach English with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) in Hokkaido, Japan and pursued cultural interests for five years. Now, Mr. Cook works as the head of North American sales for a Chinese manufacturing company.

This event was co-sponsored by the Office of Career Services and the Department of GRAMELAC.


A lecture was held via Skype with Journalist Wesley Dockery on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at 4pm in 040 Irvin Hall. The title of his talk was “From Oxford to Germany: Life as an International Journalist in Europe.” Mr. Dockery shared his point of view on how learning a second language can be a career booster and take you places you never dreamed of.

"Greetings, my name is Wesley Dockery and I graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor's in Political Science and a minor in German. After graduation, I secured an internship with Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster which prompted me to move to Bonn, Germany. I now work as a full time journalist here, where I cover the refugee crisis in Europe".

This even was co-sponsored by the Office of Career Services and the Department of GRAMELAC.

2016-17 Guest Lecturer


Dr. Skopal is an Associate Professor at Masaryk University located in Brno, Czech Republic.

His lecture was scheduled for Monday, March 27, 2017, at 4pm in 040 Irvin Hall. “Risky Business?: Czechoslovak Film Industry and International Co-productions with Eastern and Western European Partners, 1956-1989” was the title of his talk.

Dr. Skopal's recent research projects have been focused on local cinema culture (“History of distribution, exhibition and reception in Brno, 1945-70”, and “Local cinema history in Leipzig, 1945-1970”), culture transfer, or cinema co-productions.

Recently he has published a book based on a comparative research on cinema distribution and exhibition in Czechoslovakia, Poland and GDR in the period 1945-1970 (The Cinema culture of the Northern Triangle. Movies, Cinemas, and Cinema-goers in the Czech Lands, East Germany and Poland, 1945-1970. Brno: Host, 2014).

This event was co-sponsored by The Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, The Film Studies Program and the Dept. of GRAMELAC.

German Studies Association Conference

Two of our German faculty members attended the 4oth Annual GSA conference held Sept. 29—Oct. 2, 2016, in San Diego, California. They both presented their articles during the session themed German Film Import/Export, Exchange, and Collaborations during the Cold War (1945-1990)

  • Dr. Sascha Gerhards—“From Competitors to Collaborators: Negotiating Migration in the Polizeiruf 110 and Tatort Crime Television Series.
  • Dr. Mariana Ivanova—“Business Beyond the Ban: Film Exchange and Co-Productions between East and West German Partners (1946-1961)”
Dr. Mariana Ivanova
Dr. Mariana Ivanova
 Dr. Sascha Gerhards
Dr. Sascha Gerhards

Miami Has a New German Club

German FlagEndlich ist es soweit - Miami now has an official German Club! President Ellie Timmons and Treasurer Jessica Bettridge have been working hard to make it happen: they have written a constitution, attended various training sessions etc. Dr. Catherine Grimm is the faculty adviser.

This club is to act as a forum for students to expand their German language skills and learn more about German culture outside of the classroom. We will seek together to broaden our knowledge of the German-speaking countries and the practices, traditions, and customs of regions. Miami University German Club is a place to learn more about an interesting culture and make friends who share this interest.

If this sounds like a group you would like to be involved with, sign up on the Hub or stop by one of their meetings or events. Speaking German or being enrolled in a German class are not requirements for membership.

Contact Information:

P: (813) 325-5712

We Count On Your Financial Support

No matter the size of your donation, it has the ability to help shape and change the life of each student that understands the importance of learning a second language and becoming involved in the culture of a different area of the world. To give to the department of GRAMELAC, follow these easy steps:

Option 1: Study Abroad Scholarship Fund

  • Go to Miami’s University Advancement website.
  • Once on the Advancement page, click the “WAYS to GIVE” tab at the top of the page and choose “ONLINE GIFT” from the submenu.
  • Choose the option for the type of donation you wish to make.
  • Type in the amount of your gift and then check the option to “Give to the area of your choice” under the “Designation” heading.
  • Type “GRAMELAC” in the Search box and it will take you to the correct option to choose.
  •  Click on the <Continue> button and it will take you back to the original page.
  • Continue filling out the form and when done, click the <NEXT> button.
  • Follow the remaining directions.

Option 2: Dept. of GRAMELAC Gift Fund

  • Go to Miami’s University Advancement website.
  • Once on the Advancement page, click the “WAYS to GIVE” tab at the top of the page and choose “ONLINE GIFT” from the submenu.
  • Choose the option for the type of donation you wish to make.
  • If you wish to support the Department in general, once you are on the Designation screen, choose “Other fund” and click <Continue>.
  • In the “Designations” section of the original page, type in 1587-001.
  • Continue filling out the form and when done, click the <NEXT> button.
  • Follow the remaining directions.

As always, from the bottom of our hearts, we THANK YOU for your consideration to support your department!

If you are located in the U.S.A. and would like additional hard copies of this newsletter sent snail mail to you,

just email your request to and we will be happy to fulfill your request.