Announcing Modern Languages Inaugural Graduating Class of Masters’ Students

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This week, the School of Modern Languages celebrates its inaugural class of master’s students. We are excited to showcase the final projects from 11 of our students graduating from the M.S. in Global Media and Cultures and the M.S. in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies programs. 

Overcoming global crises and other innumerable challenges, our students have been working throughout the Summer to complete their projects and share the ideas that they believe in. Many had to adjust their goals several times as the global situation changed, but they persevered with adaptability and creativity. “What they’ve managed to overcome over the past few months is legitimately inspiring,” wrote Aaron Santesso, director of graduate studies in the MS-GMC, a joint degree with Literature, Media, and Communication. 

With degrees being awarded this week, we want to celebrate their achievements and share how our master’s students are “changing the conversation,” despite adversity.

For more information about our students’ projects, please visit our webpage “Student Project Showcase” at here to see the entire inaugural class!

Graduating with a Master of Science in Summer 2020:

Shaidah Herron, MS-GMC French, created an educational video series titled “Community Mental Health” on Youtube that raises awareness about building relationships in your community with people who have a mental disorder.  After spending the year as a Graduate Coordinator for Georgia Tech Residential Life, designing and bolstering community programs about mental health, Shaidah brought together her knowledge for a public audience, focusing on the themes of reconciliation and friendship. 

Leighton Rowell, MS-GMC French, interned at the The Carter Center in Atlanta in the DR Congo Program.  On a daily basis she monitored local, Francophone media and provided analysis to the DRC team on the latest developments in government, human rights, public health, and industry, with a special focus on the mining sector.  One of her long-term projects this summer consisted of research about past epidemics to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ebola epidemic in the DRC’s Équateur province may have affected human rights and workers’ rights in the extractive industries.  Leighton writes about her internship, “the diversity of opportunities in this internship has been so rewarding and so relevant to the GMC curriculum.”  

Meredith Stickels, MS-GMC French, created two comic books, one in English and one in French, about the life and influence of Simone de Beauvoir and her feminist philosophy, rethinking how de Beauvoir's work is presented to the public, especially younger audiences.  Meredith’s project also included an analysis of the historical importance of women in the comics industry.  Her goals for this project were twofold:  “firstly, I wanted to use an engaging format to introduce de Beauvoir to a new audience that might not know about her,” and secondly, “I wanted my work to contribute, even in a very small way, to the tradition of women in the comics industry.”  

Cassidy Whittle, MS-GMC German, pioneered a bilingual multimedia website titled “Visual Representations of Refugees in German Media 2010-2020,” which examines photographs of refugees and argues for a standard of practice with regard to ethical media coverage of refugees. Cassidy's gallery analyzes 21 photographs, looking at both positive and negative visual representations of refugees, across three major German news organizations with varying political biases. Analyzing content creation and photograph selection, the project aims to encourage journalists and editors to use first-person content and storytelling in stories and visuals published about refugees in the media.

Camden Hine, MS-GMC Japanese, produced the first English translation of the Japanese science fiction writer Ogawa Issui’s novella The Vocationologist.  The story follows a middle-aged man who has the strange ability to see people's 'vocations', which, in the context of the story, is the profession that will bring that person the most happiness. Camden’s work also included an analysis of “Japanese to English Science Fiction Translation,” which covered translation theory and brought to the forefront some of the specific issues that arise when you try to translate science fiction. Japanese science fiction is hard to access for an English-speaking audience, and Camden’s project aimed to bridge that gap.

Nathania Nah, MS-GMC Japanese, completed a translation of the Manga Not Evil!, including a literature review, research, and an analysis.  Her goals for the project included an exploration into "scanlation," which is amateur fan translation of manga.  Her translation of the manga went through the various stages of scanlation: translation, proofing, cleaning, redrawing, and typesetting. She also conducted research on manga translation and then more specifically the scanlation community, exploring the various literature that has been published on the subject, as well as entering and communicating with several members of the community.

Campbell Beadles, MS-GMC Russian, wrote a research article titled “Tbilisi Protests in Context: Media, Language, and Russian Strategy in the Caucasus.”  The project rethinks Russia’s reactions to the 2019 protests in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and argues that they were part of a broader strategy to restore and maintain a sphere of influence in the Caucasus region.  Economics, media, and the historical relationship between Georgia and Russia are analyzed in the article. “I really enjoyed diving deep into the topic of Russo-Georgian affairs and gaining a deeper understanding of the past and present forces at work,” Campbell said about his project. “After this experience, I am exploring a future career in research.”

Pablo Fernandez, MS-GMC Spanish, wrote a screenplay for a historical film titled “The Battle of the Fishermen,” raising awareness about the struggle of the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico, who mobilized over many decades to get the U.S. Navy out of their island.  For over 60 years, the U.S. Navy used Vieques as a bombing range and a site to practice amphibious landings, causing enormous suffering to the local population, who lived with the sound of bombs day and night.  The fishermen of Vieques organized, and they spearheaded a movement that eventually ousted the U.S. Navy.  Pablo writes about the project, “learning from the protagonists’ first-hand accounts about the difficulties that they faced and the victories that they were able to achieve was truly fascinating.”  

Selena Harris, MS-ALIS Spanish, created a web platform titled “Nuestra Salud: Una guía para entender la atención médica en los EE. UU.” (Our Health: A guide to understanding healthcare in the US), with the goal of assisting Spanish-speakers with understanding how the U.S. healthcare system works.  Selena combined visual, written, and audio cues throughout the website as a way to provide information in an accessible way.  The website gives general information about appointments and appointment setting and explains a few specialties, which includes Dentistry, Pediatric Medicine, and Maternity and Women’s Health.  

Daniela Rodriguez, MS-GMC Spanish, produced a documentary film, “Pan de Cada Día” (Everyday’s Bread), commemorating Colombian panaderias, family-owned bread stores, while reintroducing the value of and advocating for neighborhood culture, informality, and manual labor.  Daniela writes, “In a rapidly globalizing world, it is important to recognize the value of these alternative (and disappearing) ways of business making and relating as they can be an opportunity for flexibility, experimentation and appropriateness for Colombia's working class.”  

Oriana Valencia, MS-GMC Spanish, produced a documentary film about Atlanta’s Sephardic community titled “Bendichas manos que lo cozinó (Blessed hand that cooked it), An Atlanta Jewish Story,” which explores the intersections between faith and cultural heritage.  Warmth, responsibility and cultural pride exude in the interviews as members of the congregation recount the stories of their community.  Oriana says that the goal of this project is to tell an alternate history of Atlanta through minority voices.  

Whether through film, translation, writing, or visual design, the graduate students in Modern Languages found new ways to explore the cultural forces that shape today’s world. “The sheer diversity of what our students were able to study and produce is incredible,” says Jenny Strakovsky, Ph.D., assistant director of graduate studies. “Our students entered this program with majors in foreign language, computing, business, psychology, and mathematics. They all had very different goals, from entering the film industry to advocating for sustainable practices to creating more access to healthcare.” 

“Each of them found their own way to change the conversation around some of the most important issues facing our world today,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Ph.D., director of graduate studies. “We are very proud of them, and we cannot wait to see what they will do next.”


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: esnelling3
  • Created: 08/07/2020
  • Modified By: esnelling3
  • Modified: 08/07/2020


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