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The Enduring Spirit of Labor Featuring the Art of Anna Kaminski

TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant Anna Kaminski will exhibit and participate in a public lecture on April 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Regis Center for Art. The exhibition called The Enduring Spirit of Labor speaks to injustices rampant in labor industries and services and celebrates the struggle against systemic forces of injustice. Anna and other artists featured in the exhibition have worked collaboratively and individually on projects that speak to deeper dimensions of human rights violations in labor industries, challenging participants to consider elements of injustice existing beyond physical and explicit violence.

The Public Program for The Enduring Spirit of Labor will feature artist introductions and a discussion led by Anna Meteyer, Anna Kaminski, and Lindsay Keating. The discussion will highlight the role of artistic advocacy in social justice, the critical need to fuse art and political activism, and the advantages--and challenges--of incorporating interdisciplinary work into the fine arts. A Public Reception with the artists and curators will follow.

New Staff in the Language Center Main Office

Who are the students working at the front desk in Jones Hall 110 this semester? Here are short self-introductions from the new Language Center Main Office student staff.


Alex Fox

My name is Alex Fox. I am a English Major here at the University with a Poli Sci minor. I am a senior at the U of M and transfer from a community college in Connecticut. I speak English and am currently taking Spanish 1004; I have a little experience with the language from my time in California. Otherwise I enjoy playing the drums and illustrating as well as discussing current trends in global politics.


Chloe Gansen

I'm a junior majoring in Journalism, specifically Public Relations, with a minor in Public Health. I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin, which is a city about 30 minutes south of Madison. After graduation I would like to work for a nonprofit in or around Minneapolis. In my spare time I enjoy swimming, running and cooking. I took some French in high school and I am currently in my final semester of French here at the U. I've really loved learning a new language and I hope in the future I will have an opportunity to travel to France or another French-speaking country.


Nick Ott

I'm a first year student here at the U with hopes to double major in Strategic Communications and Economics and to double minor in German and Spanish Studies. I've lived my whole life (until now) in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, a small town right outside of Milwaukee. I like to keep myself busy between my two jobs and school, but when I do have free time, I like to swim, hang out with friends, watch Netflix, buy things on Amazon, and tweet. After college, I hope to go into the Peace Corps, serving in a Spanish-speaking country.


Shoua Thao

I am new to the Language Center Main Office team this Spring semester of 2014. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Political Science, Mass Communication, and Design - in other words, I am pursuring a Bachelors of Individualized Studies Degree here at the Univeristy of Minnesota. I am from Brooklyn Center, so not too far. Whenever I have time, I love to go play flag football which I am currently active in my Hmong community and we go play in women's flag football leagues annually. I also enjoy playing volleyball as another hobby. I look forward to getting to know you guys and gals better!


New Classroom Support Staff - Spring 2014

The Classroom Support Team has added two new hires this semester - Amber Davidson and Carissa Polo. They are both bright and eager to help with anything related to our classrooms and technology, and have many interests in language!


Amber Davidson

My name is Amber Davidson, and I'm a freshman here at the U. I grew up near a small town in northern Minnesota called Detroit Lakes. I'm majoring in history, and I'm working towards completing a minor in Spanish, as well. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of my passions is learning new languages, and I'm planning on taking as many language classes as I can in the future. Also, in my spare time I like to make music- I sing and play guitar, and I play trombone in the University Band, as well.


Carissa Polo

My name's Carissa! I'm a freshman from Huntley, Illinois, which is a small suburb just outside of Chicago. I'm currently taking Spanish at the U and I am trying to keep up with basic French and Portuguese when I can. In my spare time you can usually find me figure skating, writing for my blog, or filming for my youtube channel. Because music is one of my favorite things in the world, I love going to concerts and working with/for various musical artists.


New Multimedia Lab Staff - Spring 2014

This Spring semester, the Multimedia Lab in 135 Jones Hall has three new Lab Attendants. They are from different parts of the US and have different backgrounds, but they're all available to help you with your technology needs in the Lab!


Hodan Jama

My name is Hodan Jama and I am a Nutrition major here at the University. I am a transfer student and I have been here at the U for two years now. I enjoy shopping with my friends and watching 1980s ice dancing. I am planning to apply to Public Health program after I graduate. One of my dreams in life is to travel around world and experience different cultures and cuisines.


Alex Fox

My name is Alex Fox. I am a English Major here at the University with a Poli Sci minor. I am a senior at the U of M and transfer from a community college in Connecticut. I speak English and am currently taking Spanish 1004; I have a little experience with the language from my time in California. Otherwise I enjoy playing the drums and illustrating as well as discussing current trends in global politics.


Jamal Abdi

My name is Jamal Abdi. I'm from a small town in southern Minnesota called Owatonna. I am a sophomore majoring in both Political Science and Communications. I'm part of Pre-Law Society and the UMN debate team, and I plan on going to Law school after my undergraduate studies. I am also contemplating studying abroad next year for a semester, probably somewhere in Europe. My first language is English but I also speak Somali. In my free time I like to read and watch weird documentaries.

Meet the Lab Attendants from last semester

Read their story:  Getting to Know the Multimedia Lab Attendants

Congratulations to Rachel Faynik Marbell!

Congratulations and best wishes to former World Languages Day assistant Rachel Faynik Marbell, who completed her MA program in International Education. She is now working as the France Programs Coordinator at Intercultural Student Experiences. Although she graduated from the university, Rachel has maintained ties to campus by volunteering with World Languages Day, and continuing to serve as an assistant Gopher Hockey Cheerleading coach.

During the November 15, 2013 game against Mankato State, Jeff's Cagle (a graduate of Mankato) surprised Rachel with an an on-ice proposal. Fortunately, she said yes, and you can see the video on YouTube.

Beth Kautz on Professional Leave Spring 2014

Beth Kautz has been awarded a P&A Professional Development Leave by the College of Liberal Arts during spring semester 2014. Beth will divide her time between a writing project and traveling in Germany. During the first part of the semester, she will focus on writing a book chapter for a forthcoming volume: "Exploring Environmental and Sustainability Issues in the Intermediate-level Foreign Language Curriculum." Content-Based Foreign Language Teaching: Curriculum and Pedagogy for Developing Advanced Thinking and Literacy Skills. Ed. Laurent Cammarata. Routledge, Forthcoming.

During her 6-week trip to Germany, she will be networking with colleagues, visiting many secondary and post-secondary institutions (a curricular focus in German 1003), and absorbing as much as possible about current events related to sustainability and Germany's transition to renewable energies or "die Energiewende." Major stops along the way include: attending the annual conference of the Fachverband Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Association of German as a Second Language) at the University of Münster, shadowing two undergraduates (her niece and nephew) at the University of Leipzig, meeting with the Tandem coordinator at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg, with whom Beth has successfully carried out Skype exchanges with German 3011 and 1003 students the past several years, and finally attending a two-day event "Nachhaltigkeit: Wirtschaftsbremse oder Zukunftschance" (Sustainability: Economic Constraint or Opportunity for the Future) at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz.

She will return to the CLA Language Center and GSD on May 19th, just in time to teach her Green Germany class at World Languages Day 2014!

CLA Outstanding Service Award Recipient!

Congratulations to Stephanie Treat, Office Supervisor in the CLA Language Center, who has been selected to receive a CLA Outstanding Service Award for 2012-2013.

We know her to be a tireless administrator and innovative advocate for language teaching and learning. She has successfully worked with a wide variety of constituents to produce the annual World Languages Day, to shepherd the Advanced Certificate in Spanish Language from the beginning through its approval by the Regents, to collaborate with language programs and the testing staff in managing personnel to generate new models of assessment, and to guide much of the business of the Committee on Second Language Education (ComSLE) through its process. In addition, she was a key member of the team that generated the SLA Working Group report this past year. This is truly a well-deserved award.

There will be a CLA Staff Appreciation Ceremony on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall, McNamara Alumni Center to recognize all individuals and teams receiving these awards.

Please join me in congratulating Stephanie and plan to attend the award ceremony next week.

Dan Soneson, Director, CLA Language Center

Congratulations to Jenise and Margaret!

Congratulations to Jenise Rowekamp, former Director of the CLA Language Center and current ESL instructor on her recent marriage to Margaret Miller.

Here is a short message from Jenise:

After 22 years together, we were able to get married. We eloped at our friends' home where they served as our witnesses and we as theirs with a neighborhood judge presiding.

It was very, very low key as we all preferred. We went out to dinner after and were home by 9:00, which must have something to do with being in our 60's and having to go to work in the morning.

We are all very proud to live in a state where we can exercise our equal rights. None of us thought we would live to see this day, and we feel so privileged to be the first generation with the right to marry. It truly is a great thing to celebrate.

Thank you all for being so supportive and accepting, treating us as equals over all these years.


Getting to Know the Classroom Support Staff

Who are the students working in Jones 5 this semester? Here are short self-introductions from the new and returning Language Center Classroom Support student staff.


Jonathan Prestrud

My name is Jonathan Prestrud, and I'm a senior at the University of Minnesota -- a transfer student -- and I am majoring in Linguistics. I come from New Prague, Minnesota. As for languages, I've studied five: German, Korean, Spanish, French, and Norwegian, and have interests in many others. Over the summer, my girlfriend and I traveled to twelve countries, starting in Morocco and ending in Athens, Greece.


Will Benton

Hi everyone, my name is Will Benton. I am originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. I am a senior this year and I am planning on graduating with a Bachelor's in Individualized Studies, concentrating in Chinese, Business and the History of Technology. This will be my third year at Jones hall. This summer, I spent the month of June traveling in London and Spain. I got to meet up with a few good friends there, including the Language Center's own Jessica Troyan.


Keerthana Shankar

Ello mates, my name is Keerthana. I've been in Hopkins, Minnesota since 6th grade. I'm a Junior this year and my major is in Asian Language and Literature with a focus in Korean. I have worked in the LC since Fall 2012. Although my major is in Korean, I know some Spanish, and my main passion lies in Japanese. Now, I'm trying to experiment with Brazilian Portuguese, so if you know some words, shoot em at me! This summer, I mainly worked at Jones Hall as well as Carlson and started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which has become one of my new passions.


Alli Shaw

Hello! My name is Alli Shaw and I am from Minneapolis, MN. I am a sophomore this year and am interested in occupational therapy but am still figuring out my major, as there is no pre-occupational therapy major at the U. This will be my second year working at the Language Center. I studied Spanish for six years and decided to take American Sign Language this semester. This summer I went to a couple of family reunions, went on camping trips, played soccer, and worked at an awesome bakery called Patisserie 46. Looking forward to working with all of you!


Brandon Adams

Shalom all! I'm Brandon and I'm from a small town up north called Fertile, MN. This is my second year at the LC and I really love the atmosphere around the place! I'm a Junior studying English and Jewish Studies with a minor in Hebrew. At the end of this summer I worked on the Event Staff for Orientation and First-Year Programs because I love the Welcome Week program the U has and I always like welcoming the new Freshmen into the university. Excited to meet all the new faces!


Jessica Troyan

Hello all it's great to be back! My name is Jessica, and I was born and raised in Eau Claire, WI which is about an hour and a half drive to the east. I'm a Junior this year majoring in English, Spanish and a minor in technical communications. I have worked at the LC for three years, ever since I was a freshman. I have been interested in Spanish ever since I was in elementary school and this summer I was able to study abroad in Toledo, Spain for six weeks along with traveling to France and Italy. This year I thought I would try a new language and so I am also in the process of now learning Portuguese.


Ruth Zwick

Hello! My name is Ruth. I was born in Michigan but since middle school have lived in the lovely mini-apple. This will be second year at the Language Center and my third year at the U studying Italian and English with an ESL minor. I love Italian and language learning in general and wish I had time to learn more. This summer I worked at the Language Center and American Apparel and enjoyed the mild Minneapolis summer the rest of my time.


Viktor Stelter

Hello, my name is Viktor Stelter. I am from Edgar, Wisconsin. I am a sophomore this year with an undeclared major, although I am leaning toward Scientific and Technical Communications. Although I am currently not enrolled in any language classes, I plan to start Spanish, Russian, or ASL next year. I spent the summer with my friends and worked on a ginseng farm back in Wisconsin.


Molly Scholesser

My name is Molly and I am from a small town called Le Center, MN. I am currently a Junior majoring in both Family Social Science and Early Childhood Education. I have been working at the Language Center since January of 2013. I am not currently studying any languages, but I have three years of experience in Spanish. Over the summer, I took classes and worked at the Language Center in Classroom Support.


Andrew Swenson

My name is Andrew. I grew up in Eden Valley, Minnesota. I am a sophomore studying English and Theater. This is my second year working at the LC. I speak English and also a little German. This summer I worked at a summer camp, hung out with friends, and went on a couple vacations.


Getting to Know the Main Office Student Staff

Who are the students working at the front desk in Jones Hall 110 this semester? Here are short self-introductions from the new and returning Language Center Main Office student staff.


Agnes Hong

I am a Junior studying Anthropology. My focus is in Archaeology. I am also minoring in Asian Languages and Literature and Environmental Science. My hometown is Anchorage, Alaska. In my freetime I like to read, craft, knit, work with computers, and cook. Both English and Korean are my first languages. In high school, I took Japanese and during my last two years at the U I took Chinese to fulfill my language requirement.


Chris Michaels

I'm new to the Language Center main office. I'm really looking forward to meeting and working with everyone here. Though I'm a junior with a major in Japanese Language & Literature, I didn't take my first Japanese language class until this semester. Up to this point, I had been using online resources, books, and Skype as a means of learning the language. I transferred from North Hennepin Community College, which doesn't offer Japanese courses. I plan to study abroad in Kyoto, Japan next year, where I'll attend Ritsumeikan University's intensive Japanese language program. Ever since I can remember, my favorite hobbies have been sports; my favorites are football and basketball. I'm a die-hard Vikings and Timberwolves fan. One of the great things about sports, I think, is that it makes cross-cultural relations much more natural for a lot of people. I've always thought that making connections between different cultures, and learning about one another, is a very important thing. I definitely love the multicultural and multilingual environment of the Language Center. It should be a fun year!


Fatima Babu

This will be my third year at the Language Center. I am currently a senior majoring in Political Science and Global Studies. I was born in a small town in Massachusetts, but I was raised in the Twin Cities. I really love traveling and spending time with my friends and family. I took Spanish in high school and I am currently studying Arabic! I am looking forward to another fun year here at Language Center!


Henry Wahl

I'm a senior majoring in Linguistics. I will hopefully graduate this spring. I'm from Mahtomedi, Minnesota, which is a town to the northeast, about a half hour drive, so it's still part of the Metro. It's right next to White Bear Lake (and Mahtomedi actually means White Bear in Lakota). I'm studying Spanish and Chinese, and hopefully will be able to learn more languages someday.


Hunter Slack

I'm a sophomore this year and will be declaring my major in Marketing soon, with minors in Design and New Media Studies. While I took Spanish from high school up to last year, I realized it wasn't really for me and will not be pursuing any more language study. I'm from White Bear Lake, MN, where I've lived my whole life. When I'm not in school or at the Language Center I'm usually doing something music related. I play in two bands. When I get out of school I plan on moving out west to California, something I've wanted to do my whole life. Hopefully when I do that I will have landed a career in advertising. In addition to working at the main desk in the Language Center, I also serve as the Moodle Assistant for hybrid language courses.


Maya Christensen

I am an undecided major in CLA. I'm from the Twin Cities, south Minneapolis to be specific, and I love being here at the U. I love to run, bike, and do anything active, as well as musical things and being spontaneous with friends. I have studied Spanish, and am hoping to add another language next year.


Miranda Moen

I am from Caledonia, Minnesota, which is way down in the southeast part of the state. I am majoring in Architecture in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture program and it is my 3rd year. I am minoring in Neuroscience with an emphasis in Psychology. I am passionate about just about everything in architecture, but my focus is on how it impacts humanity and communities, especially across cultures. My hobbies include: going on nature walks and bike rides in the early fall breeze, working out, drawing and sketching, photography, watching documentaries and TED talks, and reading just about anything interesting. I studied Spanish in high school, and in the future I will hopefully apply more of my time to studying a language, since I would like to travel across the world. I want to learn about communities as well as help serve them by designing/building low-income housing. (Although I don't think the title fits well). I believe everyone deserves a better quality of life and that housing should reflect cultural as well as personal values, and it doesn't have to be displayed in its financial value.


Roberto Barrios

I'm new to the Language Center this semester. I'm a standing junior, majoring in Economics with a minor in French. Before starting my position in the Language Center, I worked as a Spanish TA for a little over two years and really liked it. I like being exposed to new languages and cultures; I'm currently in my first semester of Hindi, which is really an awesome language. I am from Veracruz, on the east coast of Mexico. I'm usually there during summers and any other breaks I get during the year (especially during the winter months). When not at work or school I'm most likely watching films on Netflix or reading a good piece of detective fiction.


Saoirse McMahon

I'm a senior Psychology major with journalistic tendencies, meaning I used to be a Journalism major but switched last semester. In the future, I'd like to go to graduate school for either counseling psychology or clinical, with a focus in serving multicultural communities. I love vinyasa yoga, cerebral documentaries, and attempting to grow plants. I was born in Dublin, Ireland and have lived in various parts of Minneapolis for most of my life. In the past I have had experience learning Gaelic, Latin, Spanish, and French, but I am most proficient in French. I've worked here at the Language Center for more than two years, first as an Office Assistant and now also as a Communications Editor for the Elsie Speaks newsletter and the LC News blog.


Testing Staff Changes

The Testing Program is pleased to welcome Mary Norman back full time as the Coordinator for French & Italian, German, Scandinavian & Dutch, and Russian. She has been on partial leave for the past two years.

Sherry Scarborough, who has most recently been filling 75% of Mary's position, is leaving the Testing Program to move to Chile with her husband, Dennis. Sherry will teach English online and work as an English-language consultant while continuing her research in Chilean phonology. As Dennis is from Chile, the couple looks forward to being reunited with family and friends, as well as enjoying summer twice this year!

Sherry started at the Language Center as an undergraduate in the TandemPlus Program. She eventually moved to the Testing Program, and continued as a Testing Coordinator after her graduation. We wish her and her family the best as they embark on this new phase of their lives!

Getting to Know the Multimedia Lab Attendants

Who are the students working in the Multimedia Lab in 135 Jones Hall this semester? Here's a short introduction and greeting from all the new and returning Multimedia Lab attendants.


Kayla Collier

Hi, my name is Kayla Collier. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri and am pursuing an Asian Languages and Literature major (and possibly a minor in Psychology!). I am proficient in French, and have about a year or so of Japanese and Mandarin Chinese under my belt. One interesting fact about me is that I initially taught myself the basics of Japanese language, including two of the three alphabets, simple sentences/phrases/idioms and tons of random words.


Dathan Cook

Hi, my name is Dathan Cook. I am from Eagan, Minnesota. I'm taking a beginning course in French this semester. An interesting fact about myself is that I love to snowboard and go every chance I can get during the winter.



Mackenzie Haws

My name is Mackenzie Haws and I am from Libertyville, Illinois (a northern suburb of Chicago). I completed my Spanish Studies minor in Sevilla, Spain last semester and still love to talk with my Spanish host family regularly! My majors are Supply Chain and Operations Management and International Business. I am the middle child of five, and two of my sisters are Gophers as well (a freshman and a recent graduate)!


Jennifer Xiong

Hello! My name is Jennifer Xiong. I was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am currently taking a Japanese language class and I plan to get my BA. I am Hmong (an Asian race) and I am the oldest among my siblings. I have a dog named Baby and I love eating sushi. I am also interested in video production and hope to work in the media later.



Salma Bile

My name is Salma Bile and I am from San Diego, California. I currently live in Apple Valley, Minnesota and I am a sophomore here at the University of Minnesota. I am in the College of Biological Sciences, majoring in Biology and minoring in Arabic as well as Public Health. I am fluent in both English and Somali. I have studied Arabic for a little over two years now after I studied abroad in Jordan in 2011.


Bri Lopez

My name is Brianna Lopez, but I go by Bri. I am originally from Long Beach, California, but have been living in Minnesota since I was 12. My family resides in Pine Island and Zumbrota, two tiny towns in southeast Minnesota near Rochester. I have been living in the Twin Cities for about four years now, and really love it here! I have a dog named Gracie, and I love to bake pastries and cook. I am fluent in English and proficient in Spanish by U of M standards (in other words, I can speak Spanish but it's not always pretty). I am a Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major (GWSS for short) and will be graduating this December. I hope to go on to complete a paralegal certificate program at Hamline and later pursue law school.


Agnes Hong

My name is Agnes Hong and I'm from Anchorage, Alaska. I immigrated from South Korea when I was 2-3 years old and I grew up speaking Korean at home and English at school. I also lived in Los Angeles, California for about 8 years. I'm a Junior studying Archaeology at the University along with a minor in Asian Languages and Literature, focusing on Chinese. I love to cook, read, and spend time doing various crafts.


Language Center Staff Updates

Please welcome Caroline Vang back to the Language Center. She has rejoined the department in the position of Classroom Support / Professional Development Specialist. Caroline assisted with classroom support coordination during Spring 2013. Since then, she has completed her MA in the ESL program, with a research topic related to Japanese heritage learners. She taught ESL full-time this summer, and plans to combine her work at the Language Center with teaching Fall 2013.

We also have a new Assistant Office Coordinator: Rachel Sherman Johnson. Rachel is new to the Language Center, but not to the university. Rachel just returned from South Korea, where she has been working as an EFL instructor. She is a PhD student in CIDE. She previously worked at this university's Learning Abroad Center, and also served as the Coordinator of Asian Studies for the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

We also wish congratulations and farewell to Jenny Boe and Meghan McFadden, who have completed their degree or program and are moving on to teaching Fall 2013. Jenny received her MA in ESL, and Meghan completed the SLC M.Ed initial licensure program for teaching K-12 French and ESL. Both Jenny and Meghan have been with the Language Center since they were undergraduates, and we are fortunate to have had them in our department for so long, and in so many roles. Jenny has served as an undergraduate Office Assistant, a clerical employee, and both an Assistant Office Coordinator and a Classroom Support Coordinator. Meghan started out as a Classroom Support Assistant, and has provided leadership in almost every area at the Language Center since, serving as a Classroom Support Coordinator, interim Lab Coordinator and part of the Testing development team.

Congratulations Kate and Welcome Baby Boy Knisley!


Congratulations to Kate Clements and family, and welcome Baby Boy Knisley who arrived Monday, June 24 around 9 am, weighing 7 lb 14 oz.

Kate will be on leave for the next eight weeks. In her absence, please refer TandemPlus questions to Bri Lopez or email, and Lab questions to Meghan McFadden or email


Language Center Staff Milestones

After this busy spring semester, many of the staff here at the Language Center will be engaging in some important life transitions! We want to highlight some of these milestones and accomplishments by congratulating the following staff members:

Jennifer Boe, Classroom Support and Assistant Main Office Coordinator is graduating at the end of the summer with a Master's in Teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). Jenny's research topic is on sense of belonging in first generations students at the University of Minnesota.

Kowsar Khuriye, Multimedia Lab Attendant, will be graduating at the end of this summer with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Public Health.

Meghan McFadden, Classroom Support Coordinator, is currently in the Second Languages and Cultures Masters of Education department and will be obtaining a Minnesota Teaching License for K-12 French and K-12 ESL in June.

Saoirse McMahon, Main Office Assistant and Elsie Speaks Editor, recently became a U.S. citizen. Her naturalization ceremony took place on March 25.

Francisco Salinas Vega, World Languages Day Assistant, is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics, along with a minor in Spanish. He also recently became a U.S. citizen. His naturalization ceremony was on April 19.

Jessica Troyan, Classroom Support staff, will be studying abroad this summer for two months in Toledo, Spain. She is currently a sophomore.

Caroline Vang, Classroom Support Coordinator, will be graduating with a Master's from the Second Language Studies Department in teaching ESL. Her current paper is about the function of Japanese bilingualism for Japanese-American heritage speakers and how it relates to Japanese-American identity.

Congratulations, everyone!

Congratulations to the 2013 SELP Winners

Did you know that the Language Center employs approximately twice as many undergraduate student staff as continuing non-student staff? Our undergraduate student staff provide primary assistance to students and instructors in public areas like the Main Office and Multimedia Lab, and also provide support to smaller teams like the Dev Studio and TandemPlus. The Language Center could not run without our dedicated and skilled undergraduate team members.

The Student Employee Leadership Program (SELP) provides an opportunity to recognize student employees who go above and beyond expectations in their work at the university through the annual SELPie awards for Outstanding Student Employees. The 2013 winners from the Language Center are:

  • Abdulkarim Maalin: Testing Assistant and Somali LPE Developer
  • Francisco Salinas Vega: World Language Day Assistant
  • Jessica Troyan: Classroom Support Lead Student
  • Henry Wahl: Main Office Lead Student
  • Alaina Witt: Dev Studio Assistant and AV Developer

Classroom Support - Getting to Know Us

This Spring, 10 different student employees work in Classroom Support. They are available from 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday to help you with all your classroom technology and language learning needs.


Will Benton

My name is Will Benton. I am a Junior studying Linguistics and the History of Technology. I am also studying Chinese and am very interested in working in China, mostly as an English teacher, so i am also planning on minoring in Teaching English as a Second Language. This is my second year at Jones Hall and i hope to keep working here until i graduate.


Ruth Zwick

My name is Ruth Zwick. I am a sophomore majoring in Italian Studies and English. I am interested in teaching English in a foreign country, as I know others in the language center are, and am similarly planning on minoring in English as a Second Language. This is my first semester at the language center and I hope to continue working here while in school.


Jessica Troyan

I am Jessica Troyan, I am a sophomore double majoring in English and Spanish and hopefully a minor in technical communications. I have studied Spanish for about nine years and I plan on going abroad to Spain in Toledo this summer to study. I have worked in the LC for two years and hope to continue working here for two more years!


Brandon Adams

I'm Brandon Adams and am studying English, Jewish Studies, and Hebrew here at the university. I'm new to the Language Center this semester and I feel it's a great environment for what interests me the most! I absolutely love the study of languages and one of my life-long goals is to be multilingual in many languages. After my time here at the U I hope to work in humanitarian aid, particularly in the Middle East, one of my favorite areas of study. As I absolutely love the study of other cultures, I've found the easiest way to understand a culture is to study their language. One day I would like to teach in a university, but with so many different disciplines I'm interested in, I'm not sure what I would go to graduate school for. As I'm in my 4th semester of Modern Hebrew I am working on becoming more fluent and I hope to study in Jerusalem soon.


Miranda Moen

My name is Miranda Moen and I am majoring in Architecture and planning on minoring in Neuroscience. In high school I studied Spanish for 3 years and love learning about different cultures but don't currently study them in college. I have been here for 1 semester.


Andrew Swenson

I'm Andrew. I'm studying English. I've taken German classes the last five years and have visited Germany. This is my second semester at the Language Center.

Molly Schloesser

My name is Molly Schloesser. I am a sophomore here at the University of Minnesota. I am currently studying Family Social Science, with a minor in Family Violence Prevention. I am interested in studying Spanish as a potential minor in the near future. I just started here at the Language Center this semester (Spring 2013).


Keerthana Shankar

This is my second semester working at the Language Center. Pleased to meet you all! Although I am still undecided, I am considering an Asian Languages and Literature major in Korean. I was raised bilingual so my native language is actually Tamil. I've studied Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean; none of which I am fluent in yet, but hope to be!


Alli Shaw

My name is Alli and I am a freshman this year at the U. I am currently undecided on my major but I am taking classes that explore my interest in Psychology. I have taken six years of Spanish but have yet to take a language at the U, I am thinking about trying something new as far as the language I decide on. This be my second semester working at the Language Center.


Maxine Kobinski

I'm Maxine and this is my second Semester working in the LC. I am a double major in German and Linguistics, and minoring in ESL. I am interested in Travel and maybe teaching English in foreign European countries. I hope to leave for Germany and study in Berlin for a year, my application is pending so I guess we'll see!

Main Office Assistants - Getting to Know Us

This Spring, eight students work in the Main Office. They are available from 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday to help you with everything from room reservations to checkout equipment.


Rose Nguyen

My name is Rose Nguyen. I am a junior studying political science with a minor in family social sciences. I am interested in learning and researching how American policies affect immigrants and the urban community. I am a Vietnamese and English speaker. I have some past experiences in learning Spanish, French and Arabic and would like to be proficient in those languages as well as in Chinese. This is my first semester working for the LC and I am very excited!!


Saoirse McMahon

I'm Saoirse. I'm a junior and double majoring in Psychology and Professional Journalism. I've been working at the Language Center for about a year and a half now. I edit and write for the Elsie Speaks blog, and am currently a Research Assistant for a lab focusing on career assessment and counseling psychology. I have studied mostly French but also some Latin and Spanish. When I was younger I learned a little bit of Gaelic as well. My name means "freedom" in Gaelic and is pronounced "Seer-sha," in case you were curious.


Hunter Slack

My name is Hunter Slack and I am a freshman at the University of Minnesota this year. I have been working in the main office of the Language Center for a semester now. Currently, I plan on majoring in marketing with a minor in design focusing primarily on graphic design. Together I hope to land a job in advertising when I graduate college. I have been studying Spanish as well since high school and I completed Spanish 3015 last fall. I am also a musician and have been playing various instruments in bands for about four years now.


Henry Wahl

I'm Henry, a Junior studying Linguistics in CLA. I started Liinguistics a semester late, so I'm just doing the basic classes right now. I've taken a smattering of Spanish in Elementary through high school and now am in Span 3104, Introduction to Hispanic Literatures. I'm also in fourth semester Chinese and I hope soon to go to either or both a Spanish speaking or Chinese speaking country to study abroad. I started working at the Language center a bit over a year ago.


Heather Berglund

I'm Heather, and I'm studying music therapy here at the U. In high school I studied French for two years (je ne parle pas bien francais... see I probably didn't even get that right) but I would love to study more languages such as ASL, Spanish, and Russian (just because I think it sounds awesome.)


Fuad Warsame

My name is Fuad; this is my 3rd year and my major is communications with a minor in Marketing. I speak a second language which is Somali. I love learning new languages. I'm currently studying Italian. I've been with the LC Office for about a month.


Miranda Moen

My name is Miranda Moen. I am a sophomore and am majoring in Architecture and plan on minoring in Neuroscience. I have studied 3 years of Spanish in high school but overall find language and that as a way humans interact very fascinating because being fluent in different languages show different patterns in your brain! I have been in the Language Center for a semester now, but was primarily in the Classroom Support area. I am new to the Main Office this semester and look forward to learning new things and expanding my knowledge all things LC!


Jenny Li

Hi! I am currently a freshman originally from Apple Valley, MN. I am minoring in Spanish, but undecided for my major. Other than English, I am fluent in Chinese, particularly Cantonese and also in Spanish. My favorite color is pink and I enjoy eating sushi. One day, I wish to own a Siberian Samoyed dog. In the summer time I enjoy going to the beach and in the winter season I prefer staying warm and cozy listening to some Taylor Swift.

Expanding Our Horizons:Language Teacher Education in the 21st Century
Dan Soneson & Elaine Tarone (Eds.) with Anna Uhl Chamot, Anup Mahajan and Margaret Malone

This edited volume on language teacher education includes fourteen refereed papers based on presentations at either the 6th International Conference on Language Teacher Education (held in Washington DC in May 2009) or 7th International Conference on Language Teacher Education (held in Minneapolis, MN in May 2011). The papers showcase research and practice related to the education of language teachers from many different national and international contexts including foreign language education, English as a Second/Foreign Language, and heritage language instruction. This sharing of ideas and insights into language teacher education in such diverse international, national, and disciplinary contexts is truly intended to help all language teacher educators to expand their horizons and improve their practice.

This CARLA working paper is now available on!

Multimedia Lab Attendants -- Getting to Know Us

This Spring, five different student employees work in the Multimedia Lab. They are available from 7:45 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday to help you with all your technology and language learning needs.


Maryan Abdi

Hi, my name is Maryan (but I used to be known as Fardowsa). I am from Somalia and know three languages (Somali, English, and Arabic). I am an Undergrad Senior this year doing a double major in Psychology and Statistics, and I will be back next year to finish up my Statistics major. After that I am planning to go to graduate school for a Biostatistics major in the School of Public Health. I don't have any big favorites but in my free time I like watching TV shows, cleaning my house, and spending time with family.


Wasim Bachani

Hello! I am currently a Senior majoring in Computer Science.  Other than English I speak a sub dialect of Hindi called Cutchi.  I also have taken four semesters of Hindi and Urdu at the U of M.  I grew up in Minneapolis but my parents are from Kenya.  I enjoy playing sports, especially basketball and soccer.


Kayla Collier

Hi, my name is Kayla and I am currently finishing up my Freshman year here at the University of Minnesota. I plan to major in Asian Languages and Literatures with an emphasis in Japanese, as well as to minor in several other areas as well. I speak English fluently, am proficient in French, and have about a year or so of Mandarin Chinese & Japanese under my belt. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri and chose to continue onto my post-secondary education at the University of Minnesota! I hope to take on a career as a translator and interpreter and to even teach English abroad in Japan one day.


Kowsar Khuriye

Hi, my name is Kowsar, but my nickname is Kowsarina. I am currently studying psychology and minor in public health. I was born and raised in Kenya, but my family and relatives are from Somalia. I am fluent in three different languages, Somali, Swahili, and English. I also read and write in Arabic. I am planning on doing public health outreach program after graduation for about year. Afterwards I'm anticipating studying Community Health Promotion (CHP) at the U of M School of Public Health.


Jenny Li

Hi!  I am currently a freshman originally from Apple Valley, MN.  I am minoring in Spanish, but undecided for my major.  Other than English, I am fluent in Chinese, particularly Cantonese and also in Spanish.  My favorite color is pink and I enjoy eating sushi.  One day, I wish to own a Siberian Samoyed dog.  In the summer time I enjoy going to the beach and in the winter season I prefer staying warm and cozy listening to some Taylor Swift.



New Classroom Support Coordinator

Please welcome Caroline Vang, our new Assistant Classroom Support Coordinator. Caroline is an ESL-MA student whose area of research is in Japanese-American heritage language learners and how/why they code-switch during their conversation. She received her B.A. from the University of California-Berkeley and she currently teaches ESL at the University of Minnesota.

Update from Jenise Rowekamp, Former Language Center Director

Jenise Rowekamp, the former Language Center Director and instructor in the Minnesota English Language Program, is now in Sri Lanka serving as a Senior English Language Fellow at the University of Ruhuna in Matara, which is on the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka.

She and her partner Margaret have a blog. You can follow their adventures in Sri Lanka, and see lots of beautiful pictures of the local sites and wildlife (including both of them riding an elephant) at

Alyssa says goodbye!

Beginning this fall semester, I will no longer be serving the Language Center as the Classroom Support Coordinator.  Instead, I'll be starting a new journey at the University of Minnesota as a full-time ESL instructor in the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP), where I have taught part-time for five years.

While I'm looking forward to my new position in MELP, I will miss working with all of the great second language instructors here at the U of M.  Whether it's helping set up a class blog project or training the Mac DiLL software, I've really enjoyed helping instructors facilitate language learning through the use of technology. It's been really rewarding to be a part of this second language learning community here at the U of M!  

Jenny Boe, the current Office Coordinator, will be stepping in as the Interim Classroom Support Coordinator. In addition, former Classroom Support Assistant Meghan McFadden is now a graduate student, and she will be providing assistance in the morning throughout the month of September. You'll be in good hands with Jenny, Meghan and the student staff in Jones 5.  

Although I won't be helping in the classrooms as I have in the past, I'll certainly remain a frequent user and familiar face in the Language Center classrooms, and I look forward to seeing all of you then!

Alyssa Ruesch

Welcome Francisco, New World Languages Day Assistant

Please welcome the new World Languages Day student assistant: Francisco Salinas Vega. He is a senior majoring in Applied Economics. He is also a native Spanish speaker born in Queretaro Mexico. Francisco believes that learning a new language provides a person with different perspectives, and he has experience with event planning and outreach to the Latino community.

As an update on our previous assistants: Bethany Schowengerdt completed her BA in Global Studies and French, and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Over the summer she taught ESL and worked for AFS, a cultural exchange organization. She is currently preparing for her Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to travel to Rwanda.

Rachel Faynik Marbell completed her MA in International Education this past May. She is now working as the France Programs Coordinator at Intercultural Student Experiences, a non-profit educational organization that helps high school language teachers plan short-term immersion programs abroad with their students. She is still involved with the University of Minnesota through her position as the Assistant Coach of the Hockey Cheerleading Team.

Welcome Bri, the new TandemPlus Assistant

We are pleased to welcome Brianna Lopez to the Tandem Plus team. Brianna, or Bri, is a junior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in English and minoring in Spanish and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS). In the past she participated in a Spanish-English TandemPlus exchange and continues to pursue an interest in language learning and social justice. She looks forward to graduating in the spring of 2014 and hopes to pursue a career in international law. Stop by Jones 135A and say hello to her!

An Update from Former Director Jenise Rowekamp

Jenise Rowekamp, who served as the Language Center Director until 2009, and has continued to work at the U of M as an instructor in the Minnesota English Language Program has an exciting update on her plans next fall:

I have been selected as a Senior English Language Fellow for a position at the University of Ruhuna in Matara, Sri Lanka, which is on the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, famous for whale watching. I'll be working with the English Language Training Unit and junior content faculty to assist them in teaching content courses in English. My partner Margaret will be joining me, hopefully doing some sort of volunteer work - we do know there are batik workshops in the town. The climate is tropical and we're on the beach - come visit!

Congratulations Anna!

Congratulations to Tandem Plus Assistant Anna Kaminski, who received a Boren Scholarship to study in Jordan next year! Anna, who is a junior at the University of Minnesota, has been studying Arabic for three years, and currently is a student in Hisham Khalek's Arabic 5102 class. She studied in Oman in Summer 2011 and is very excited to be going abroad again.

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. To learn more about Boren Scholarships, click here.

Congratulations Bethany, Fulbright Scholar!

Bethany Schowengerdt, TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to travel to Rwanda. From January to September 2013, she will serve as a teaching assistant at a university in Rwanda and also do volunteer work.

Bethany is graduating at the end of Spring 2012 with a double-major in Global Studies and French, and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Her areas of concentration are Africa and the International Political Economy. While an undergraduate at the U of M, Bethany participated in a study abroad program in Senegal, and also served an internship at BestPrep, a non-profit that facilitates guest speaker presentations and an email exchange between high school students and business professionals.

We will always remember Bethany for her friendliness, positive energy, willingness to take on any task, and her commitment to second language education and student support. We wish her the best in her latest international endeavor!

Anna Kaminski Wins Inna Meiman Human Rights Award

On Friday, April 20, LC student staffer Anna Kaminski was presented with the second annual Inna Meiman human rights award from the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota in recognition for her outstanding human rights work. Kaminski, a junior majoring in Art, Global Studies and Social Justice, has been a tireless advocate of human rights, working abroad in 2011 with the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project in Najaf, Iraq and domestically in 2011-2012 on the HeART show in Minneapolis.

Anna has been working at the Language Center for two years. Currently she is the TandemPlus assistant, but true to her generous and helpful nature, she also assists in the Main Office and Multimedia Lab.

Congratulations, Anna!

Mackenzie Haws Wins Big Ten Network Award

Mackenzie, a Spanish student and Assistant Lead Student in the main office has won the 2012 Big Ten Network LiveBIG Scholarship for Outstanding Service award for her volunteer work in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

You can read about this awards, and see a picture of Mackenzie and her little sister with Goldie Gopher at UMNews.

Rachel Says Goodbye

After working for the Language Center on and off ever since I was a Freshman undergrad in 2003, I will be leaving the office in mid-January to pursue a full-time position as the French Coordinator for a non-profit educational organization, called Intercultural Student Experiences. I am excited about this opportunity, but I am sad to leave the Language Center, especially in the middle of World Languages Day planning. This was my second year as primary coordinator for World Languages Day, but I have helped out with the event dating back to its debut in 2004. However, I have no doubt that World Languages Day 2012 will be a success; Stephanie Treat, the previous primary coordinator, will continue planning as usual.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with all the staff, volunteers and participants of World Languages Day and I hope to cross paths again with you in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns about this year's event, please contact Stephanie Treat at or at 612-626-6017

Thanks so much everyone!

Rachel Faynik Marbell

Follow Bethany's Adventures in Senegal


Former Tandem Plus assistant Bethany Schowengerdt is studying in Senegal this semester, where she is learning French (and Wolof) and adapting to West African International Time ("WAIT") . You can follow her adventures on her blog, Bethany in Senegal. We will host a link to her blog on the LC home page.

photo: View across the street from Bethany's hotel in Dakar, Senegal

Outstanding Student Employee Awards for 3 LC student staff

The Language Center is pleased to announce three recipients of the University's Outstanding Student Employee Award: Bryant Cotner, Anna Kaminski and Bethany Schowengerdt.  This award is presented to the top 10% of student employees at the University.  Each of these students played an integral part in the support of language teaching and learning at the University of Minnesota this past year.  

Bryant Cotner works in the Classroom Support area, where he has provided calm and competent assistance to instructors and students alike for the past five years.  In addition to troubleshooting issues in the classrooms, Bryant also served as our undergraduate computing specialist and helped to keep the computers at the Language Center updated and working properly.  He was also instrumental in the remodel of the Jones 15 classroom this past summer.  Bryant is graduating this spring; he will be greatly missed.

Anna Kaminski works in the Main Office area, where she is always eager to help university language instructors and students, however possible. Her enthusiasm and dedication to language learning is admirable and she has been awarded a well-deserved Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Arabic and will be sent to Oman this summer for intensive Arabic instruction and cultural immersion. Although Anna has been with the Language Center for less than two years, it is hard to imagine the office running so well without her.

Bethany Schowengerdt is the Tandem Plus Assistant, where she helps connect language learners both on campus and around the globe. Gregarious, gracious, and unflappable, Bethany has been instrumental in maintaining Tandem's Face-to-Face, Class-to-Class and Guided Conversation programs and also helping launch the new Virtual Face to Face (aka "Skype Exchanges") this year. She is leaving to study in Senegal this Fall. We will miss her presence at the Language Center, but she's promised to keep us apprised of her adventures both in French and English.

Please join us in congratulating our undergraduate staff for their hard work and dedication!

The LC's Pablo Viedma is a super-estrella

The Language Center's Pablo Viedma was quietly launched to international stardom last fall when he was the guest host for the Spanish TV show Madrileños X el Mundo. Each week, this show on the Telemadrid TV station features Madrid natives (Madrileños) who are living in different cities around the world. In his 15-minute interview, Viedma, a transplanted Madrileño turned Minneapolitan, gives a tour of the U of M, the lakes, and downtown Minneapolis by day and by night; discusses reasons for Minneapolis's high divorce rate (it has to do with the long winters); and talks about life in the "coldest big city in the world." Enjoy the video here. pablo.png

Anna Kaminski plans benefit concert: Friday, March 25

Student Office Assistant Anna Kaminski has planned a benefit concert for the American Refugee Committee on Friday, March 25 from 6-11PM at the Fallout in Uptown

This event, called the Heart Show, is sponsored by a U of M student group called STAND UMN and will take place at the Fallout Art Co-op (2601 2nd Ave S) in Uptown. This event is the first of its kind and is kicking off a new way to raise awareness and build a movement for Global Human Rights and Refugee Awareness. Local Bands Patch, Scotty Horey, Chrystal Odin and Le Cirque Rouge Band, and HighTV have designed their sets specifically around the stories of refugees and survivors that are sharing their stories from the Holocaust, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Interpretive Dance is also a part of the event and is choreographed by local Choreographer, John Mark. Local, Refugee, and National Artists are also exhibiting their work at this all encompassing show. Admittance is 8 dollars and all proceeds are being donated to the American Refugee Committee that is currently working on the ground in Libya, Sudan, Haiti, and most likely will soon be sending aid to Japan. Please make it out and support a great event and worthwhile cause!

You can learn more about this event at STAND UMN's Facebook event page. If you have questions, please contact Anna at

Anna Kaminski receives Critical Language Scholarship


Undergraduate Office Assistant Anna Kaminski has been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Arabic. This competitive scholarship offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in thirteen critical need foreign languages for summer 2011. The CLS program is part of a U.S. government effort to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Through this opportunity, she will be sent to one of five countries, Oman, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, or Egypt from June to August for intensive Arabic instruction and cultural immersion. Anna is a double major in Art and Global Studies.

Go to the CLA home page.

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