Alumni and Friends
Riahna Weakley(2002) - Bachelor of Arts: Spanish and International Studies
(2004) - Master of Arts: Spanish
In January of 2000, I went to Spain to study at SLU’s Madrid Campus. It was a life-changing experience for me and upon returning home in May, I changed my major to Spanish and International Studies. In January of 2002, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study again at SLU’s Madrid Campus. This time I was able to rent an
apartment and better immerse myself in the language and culture. I even taught an adult English as a Second Language class while I was there.
In the Fall of 2002, I began my MA program in Spanish at Saint Louis University. I worked as a Research Assistant to Dr. Teresa Johnson for the next two years. This proved to be an experience of incalculable value, both professionally and personally. I was also fortunate to work with Dr. Oscar López on my final graduate research paper. I focused on the Latin American testimonial novel and thanks to Dr. López’s assistance, the paper was later published in a scholarly journal.
After graduating with my MA in Spanish, I began working as an adjunct instructor at both the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Saint Louis University. In October of 2005, I married Rick Meyer, who is also a SLU graduate, and we bought a house in Soulard. I still teach at both universities and also work part-time as an interpreter and translator.
Daniela Petkova(2002) – Bachelor of Science: Spanish, Finance, and MIS
(2004) – Master of Arts: Spanish
I am currently an Adjunct Instructor at Saint Louis University and have enjoyed this position since completing an MA in Spanish here in May 2004.
The path that brought me here has been a winding one. I was born in Bulgaria and moved to Ethiopia with my family when I was nine. It was there that I first experienced a diverse, multi-national school and learned my first ‘foreign’ language, English. I loved the culture, the food, my friends, and the very personal events that made Ethiopia home instead of just ‘one of the poorest nations’ in the world.
When I graduated from high school, I chose SLU-Madrid for undergraduate study. I spent two and a half years in Spain taking classes and learning the language before coming to Saint Louis. I graduated in May 2002 with a BS from SLU, majoring in Spanish, Finance and MIS.
I continued with the Master’s degree program in Spanish at SLU. During the first year, I was a Research Assistant and worked with Dr. Olga Arbeláez. The result was a published paper on the work of Soledad Acosta de Samper. The experience was invaluable and taught me about research, presenting and collaboration, and for that I am grateful.
My current interests include Spanglish as a cultural and language phenomenon, as well as the economic circumstances of immigrants of all backgrounds in the US.
Dominique Navarro(1996) – Bachelor of Arts: French, German, and Spanish
(2000) – Masters of Arts: Spanish, minor in French
I graduated from SLU in May of 1996 with majors in French, German and Spanish. That same summer I participated in Webster’s University Business Exchange program.
Between 1996 and 1997, I completed a Masters of Arts in Museum Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom.
From 1998 to 2000, I attended Saint Louis University and completed my second Masters, this time in French and Spanish.
Since then I’ve been teaching as an adjunct, first at Indiana University and since 2001 at SLU. I’ve been teaching a variety of Spanish courses, from basic grammar to advanced oral communication and Spanish for Reading (a course for PhD candidates in other departments).
In 2002, I married Francisco Navarro (who also got a Masters in Spanish from SLU), and we are currently waiting to adopt a baby girl from Colombia.
Olivia Voils(1998) - German Studies
After graduating from Saint Louis University in 1998 with majors in English Literature and German Studies, I worked for a year in Nuremberg at a software development consultancy called Syscon Unternehmensberatung. Upon returning to the States in 2000, I stayed busy with various temporary jobs in the St. Louis metropolitan area while applying for graduate schools and improving my golf game. In January 2001, a position at a dot com called Transora took me to Chicago where I stayed until August before moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the first semester of an international graduate program. In January 2002, the second phase of my renewed academic life landed me in Berlin where I completed my Transatlantic Masters Degree at Humboldt Universität. My acceptance into the 2002-2003 class of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program provided a smooth transition. This generous and rewarding program afforded me the opportunity to gain practical experience at the Öko-Insitut e.V. and the German Federal Ministry for Environment and participate in seminars on current German, European and transatlantic political and social topics. At the end of my fellowship year in July 2003, I freelanced on several projects at Adelphi Research, a Berlin-based think tank. After spending the recent winter holidays with family and friends, I continue to reside in Berlin and seek long term employment.
Danielle Ho(2003) - Greek, Latin, and Classical Humanities
Danielle is in her second year of medical school at St. Louis University, considering a career in pathology or pediatrics. She was engaged last spring and will be married sometime in 2005. She maintains an interest in etymology and in Seneca's Letters.
Steve Meier(2003) - Greek, Latin, and Classical Humanities
Steve is a first-year graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, now well on his way to a Masters degree in Teaching Latin. He is focusing on Secondary Education and looking forward to returning to the high-school classroom as a teacher soon.
Justin Flaxbart(2003) - International Business and German Studies
Hi, my name is Justin Flaxbart. I graduated from SLU in May of 2003 with majors in International Business and German Studies. With support from the German department I was able to land a job after graduation as a tutor for the Robert Bosch Stiftung, which employs about 70 tutors from five countries in universities throughout Germany. I am stationed at the TU-Bergakadamie in Freiberg, a great little city not too far from Dresden, where I give several American culture and language classes, host cultural events, lead Stammtisches, and help students with resumes, etc. Next year I plan to pursue a Master of Arts at the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Barbara Lamboley(2001) - German Studies
I graduated from SLU in 2001 and chose German as a major because I loved the subject--the language, history, literature and culture. A lot has happened since then. The highlights: I moved to Milwaukee for a year and participated in a graduate training course to be a Montessori elementary teacher. Then, I returned to St. Louis and began teaching at Chesterfield Montessori School. It is now my second year; I teach all subjects to a class of twenty, first through sixth grade children. I married Matt Balossi, a high school English teacher at Clayton. Currently, I am applying to law school.
Tom Ryczek(2008) - German Studies and History
Although Spanish is the most popular language for Americans to study, due to it being such a widespread language and also due to the fact that there are many Hispanics in the United States, I chose to study German. I study history, so I was drawn particularly to Germany's rich cultural history. However, there is something for everybody's interests in the field of German. For those interested in history, there are the works of Theodor Mommsen regarding the history of Rome. For those interested in philosophy there is Kant, for Theology there is Luther and Zwingli, for political science there is Marx. German engineers have made some of the largest advances in the engineering of engines, cars, and airplanes. For those interested in business or economics, Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the third largest economy in the world. Learning German also opens up travel opportunities to the countries of central Europe. I have been studying German for eight years now, and I can say that it has been a very rewarding experience.