From musical pursuits to business training at GE, our 2018 graduates have a wide variety of exciting plans as they leave IU to go out and conquer the world. This year’s departmental reception for graduating students once again took place in the University Club on Friday, May 4, with families, friends, faculty, and staff celebrating student achievements over coffee, biscotti, and croissants. Twenty-five students will earn a B.A. degree in French in May and August, and three students will earn a B.A. degree in Italian. In addition, between December 2017 and August 2018, seven students will receive their M.A.s and 7 students will attain the highest degree the department offers, the Ph.D.
As usual, our B.A. graduates had a range of second majors, some of which influenced their paths forward after commencement. Shannon McPike majored in economics in addition to French, and she was also part of the Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP). She has a job lined up with GE Aviation in Cincinnati through a financial management training program. Halley Rose Meslin, who combined her studies in French with a dual degree in environmental sustainability, will be working at SHED in Healdsburg, California, focusing on the farm-to-table organization’s sustainability projects. Jessica True graduates with a B.A. in Italian and a B.M. in Voice, and she is moving west to the University of Kansas this fall to pursue a Masters in opera performance. Another French major, Jordan Lenchitz, is also a dual degree student with the School of Music. He will start a Ph.D. program in music theory at Florida State University in August.
This year, as in the past, several French majors have secured teaching assistant jobs through the French government’s Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). Shane O’Bannon, Kamal Maharjan, Grace Jewell, and Sarah Panfil will all be teaching English in France through this program.
We are particularly thrilled to report on the work of our B.A. students who are graduating with departmental honors: Cari Rice (Italian), Adam Smith (French), and Jonathan Van Hecke (French). Cari has experience working with refugees arriving from Africa and the Middle East into Italy, and she explored this topic in her honors thesis. She is heading to New York University in the Fall to pursue an M.A. in Italian and plans later to attend medical school (her second major was biochemistry). Adam wrote his thesis on the decadent novel La Jongleuse by Rachilde and its depictions and uses of violence. He has received a prestigious Fulbright grant to teach English in France next year, and has also earned a spot in the Ph.D. program in French literature at the University of Michigan, starting in 2019. Jonathan came to French late in his IU career, after pursuing a degree in finance at the Kelley School of Business (which he also finished this May). He successfully completed no fewer than five French courses in Spring 2018, including the honors thesis course F499, for which he wrote a comparative study of four works about Joan of Arc. He plans to take a year off before graduate school during which he will finally travel to France.
Most of our graduates with graduate degrees also have travel and teaching in their futures. While several of those who earned M.A.s will continue into their respective Ph.D. programs in FRIT and continue to teach as Associate Instructors, Alana Duncan and Leila El-Murr (both in French/Francophone Studies) plan to move on in pursuit of careers in teaching at the secondary level. A number of our Ph.D. graduates have already secured academic positions at other universities: Lisa Dolasinski (Italian) will be at Dickinson College, Lucia Gemmani (Italian) at the University of Iowa, and Sarah-Kay Hurst (French Linguistics) at George Washington University. Carlotta Paltrinieri (Italian) has a post-doctoral research position at the Medici Archive Project in Florence, Italy, an American research institute focusing on digital humanities projects. We wish her, and all our talented graduates, good luck!