Alumni Updates: French

  • Abbott Bayraktar, Breanna (Class of 2000)(BA French & History): After teaching English for two years in France, I returned to the U.S. for grad school. I finished my master's degree in 2004 and am nearly finished with the coursework for my PhD in education.
  • Alexander Baroody, Barbara (Class of 1959)I taught French at the University of Richmond for over 20 years, retiring in 2000 I but did some night school classes for a couple of years after that. At UR, in addition to teaching, I was the Director of the Intensive French Program, hiring and training Drill Instructors, and I was also the Director of the Summer Study Abroad Program in La Rochelle, France. After I left UR I continued to teach at Virginia Commonwealth University part time from 2001-2006 and then really retired! I had started a Summer Study Abroad Program in France for VCU in 2003. Prior to my stint at UR I taught French in an elementary school, grades 4-7 and in 2 high schools. I have hosted students from around the world who get my name and number through whatever organization has brought them here! I have thoroughy enjoyed meeting and housing them.
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  • Alumni Video Profile: Kevin Lonabaugh
  • Boardman Artigues, Carol (Class of 1963) (BA French): I work with several American study abroad programs in Aix-en-Provence, France. Enjoy seeing W&M students in my groups! (Updated 2010)
  • Carr, Bridget (class of 2012)Bridget, the 2011-12 Reboussin scholar write:  "I currently hold a term appointment (renewable for up to four years) at the U.S. Dept. of Justice Antitrust Division in Washington, D.C. as a "paralegal specialist." In the Antitrust Division I have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the attorneys preparing for depositions, serving subpoenas, interviewing witnesses, and disseminating information about our work. The Antitrust Division's goal is to manage mergers and acquisitions and enforce statutes that promote competition in the marketplace to benefit and protect the consumer. In the Ligitation III section, I assist the attorneys in civil cases in which the DOJ is the plaintiff. I learned about this opportunity through an interview fair organized by the Cohen Career Center. I hope to use this experience as a stepping stone in my pursuit of a dual MA/JD degree."
  • Claypool, Mary (Class of 2003)Since graduation in 2003, I worked for two years as a legal assistant before returning to graduate studies in the language I love, French. I received my Master's degree in French in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and am currently writing my dissertation in Geneva, Switzerland thanks to a dissertation fellowship. The Ph.D. is not far off! I also have continued to develop my Arabic skills, with the help of a FLAS grant for study in Morocco. My work as a contract linguist for the FBI has allowed me to apply my language skills, and I am grateful for the foundational training W&M provided!
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  • Czajka, Casey (Class of 2010)In the Fall of 2010 Casey Czajka started a PhD program in the Department of French and Italian at Tulane University. She intends to research the politics of death and mourning in France. In particular, she plans to study state funerals under the French Third Republic and the ways in which such public displays of grief were exploited by those in power.
  • Duffrin Kelley, Diane (Class 0f 1990) (BA French): Getting to homecoming at W&M is never easy. I am an Associate Professor of French at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. I am also currently serving as the Chair of the Foreign Languages and Literature Department. I can only imagine all the work gone into setting up this website - good job! Have a great time at homecoming. (Updated 2010)
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  • Dukes, Leonore (class of 2010)Lenore Dukes taught English in 2010-2011 in the Académie of Creteil (just outside of Paris, France). “I’m excited to bring my experience and knowledge of American society to my teaching. I hope to continue my research on French engagements with diversity through the institution of public schools - as well as to enjoy living in Paris!"
  • French and Francophone Studies Program Celebrates Student Research
    On Friday, October 25, 2019, the French and Francophone Studies Program celebrated its annual Fête de la Recherche, an opportunity for students to present their research to their professors and peers. This research is drawn from honors theses, courses, internships, Monroe projects, or as part of a study abroad program (e.g. Montpellier summer, IFE). This year featured the following student presenters:
    Jack Ruszkowski - "Street Soccer and Integration in France and Morocco"(French 314: Introduction to French and Francophone Cultural Studies)
    Elizabeth Vanasse - "Street Art in Guadeloupe" (Francophone African Literature trip to Guadeloupe in spring 2019)
    Julie Luecke - "Jeanne d'Archetype: Gendered Representations of Joan of Arc in Film" (Honors Thesis)
    Kristen Popham - "An Archeology of the Postcolonial Narrative: The Role of the artist in constructing a new political imagery of postcolonial identity" (Honors Thesis)
    Teddy Wansink - "Modernity Leave: The sexualized mother of French New Wave Cinema" (McCormack-Reboussin Memorial Scholarship in French, Honors Thesis)
    Manon Diz - "Guadeloupe's Contested Memories" (Francophone African Literature Trip to Guadeloupe, spring 2019)
    Davidson Norris - Montpellier Summer Program, Summer 2019
    Additionally, the Fête featured alumni keynote speaker and Williamsburg, VA native Jake Nelson, who graduated from William & Mary in 2011 with a double major in Music and French and Francophone Studies.
    Seniors in the French and Francophone Studies Program planned, organized, and coordinated the event.
  • Goertz, Jonathan (Class of 2004)On June 5 I was ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Richmond. I currently serve at a cluster of four parishes in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Virginia. I don't use my French as much, but I put my developing Spanish to use regularly to serve our Latin American parishioners.
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  • Grice, Eve (class of 2011)After graduating in May 2011 with a B.A. in French and Francophone Studies (Highest Honors/McCormack-Reboussin scholar) and Women's Studies, Eve is now a Flagship Fellow starting her first year in the Women's Studies Ph.D. Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. There, she will continue integrating her interests in French and Francophone studies and feminist analysis through her dissertation research on postcolonial queer citizenship in the Francophone Caribbean and U.S. South. "As an interdisciplinary scholar, I am very much indebted to the William & Mary French and Francophone studies department, who gave me the tools of cultural critique, independent research, critical analysis, and rigorous interdisciplinary scholarship with which to build my academic career. The tremendous support from the French faculty, who pushed me to do my best work and still inspire me to do original research, has shaped me into the scholar I am today. I am forever grateful, and I hope to continue making them proud."
  • Hunsberger, Ariel (Class of 2009)Ariel received a Fullbright Scholarship to teach English in Andorra and is currently working at the Chronicle for Higher Education "I came to William & Mary as a near-native French speaker and I was looking for a program that could offer insightful and current commentary on French language and culture.  Throughout my four years in the department there were always several fascinating courses offered every semester, and I always had a hard time choosing between them.  My professors encouraged me to explore a wide variety of topics and let me choose the ways I wanted to share what I was learning---not only through presentations and papers but also through creative works and applied projects.  The ideas and topics from my French studies often came up in other courses and helped me discover new lines of research and tie my interests together. My French degree from William & Mary has put me in touch with a rich and diverse francophone community and given me the opportunity to explore many different career paths.  The skills I learned by participating in student-faculty conferences, working on the film festival, and serving as a TA have been invaluable since I've graduated, and the support and guidance of my professors encouraged me to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship.  I know that I have the continued support and advice of the department as I'm starting a new job after returning to the U.S. and considering graduate schools."
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  • Hutcheson, Elizabeth (Class of 1985) (BA French): I have my own greeting card and design business (Fast Snail Greetings & Design). One of my "specialities" is French motifs. People love the Eiffel Tower! (Updated 2010)
  • Jesse Tanson (French and Francophone Studies, ’18) Receives Highest Honors for Thesis on French Hip HopIMG_6301 Throughout his time at W&M, Jesse Tanson has studied a wide range of topics in French and Francophone Studies, including cinema, literature, and creative writing. Jesse studied abroad in Strasbourg through the IFE program and worked in cinema there. He was also the recipient of the French program's most prestigious award: the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship, which supports significant undergraduate research projects abroad. This research trip to Paris became the basis for Jesse's honors thesis research. Following graduation, Jesse will teach English in the Aix-en-Provence/Marseille Region with the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) program.   IMG_6307 Félicitations, Jesse! Bonne continuation!
  • Johnston, Drew (Class of 2005)Drew Johnston ('05) is spending seven months in 2005 and 2006 as an "Assistant de Langue Vivante" in the French overseas department of Réunion, a tropical island located 500 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. He works 12 hours a week in a high school and middle school with small groups of nine to fifteen students. Réunion is an island rich in both culture and natural wonders, including the most active volcano in the world. When Drew isn't at work, he spends his time on the beach, taking hikes in the mountains, and learning all there is to know about the island's unique cuisine. Applicants to this program can request to be placed in any department in mainland France or in any of its four DOMs (Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, or French Guiana). Information on the program can be found on the French embassy website at: Anyone interested in taking advantage of this opportunity should also feel free to contact Drew at if they have any questions or concerns.
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  • Julia Zamecnik ‘11: from William and Mary to NATOWhen I got to college, I'd completed my language proficiency requirement and was fully prepared to stop taking French, and in fact I didn't take any French my first semester at William and Mary. However, I can honestly say that restarting French was one of the best decisions I've made since arriving on campus. I've learned first-hand that speaking French has wide-ranging benefits in many areas of study outside just grammar and literature. By taking French at William and Mary I was able to apply to spend my sophomore year abroad in Lille, France, where I mostly studied European government and EU-US relations. This has provided me with an amazing ability to both greatly improve my French and to take a multitude of fascinating political science courses towards my government major. I am convinced that it was largely thanks to my proficiency in French and my time abroad that I was selected for an internship with the U.S. Mission to NATO this summer in Brussels. I will be living in Belgium from May through most of August working full time in the Armaments Department of the U.S Mission to NATO, as one of about five undergraduate interns at the Mission. I will also be conducting my own research project on France and NATO while living in Brussels this summer.
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  • Lauer, Abby (Class of 2009) After graduating from William and Mary in 2009 with a major in Biology and a minor in French, Abby attended Harvard Law School where she studied intellectual property  law. She is now an Associate in the intellectual property department at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the law firm’s Washington, DC office. Studying French at William and Mary was an essential part of her undergraduate education and continues to have an impact on her life. Taking classes in the French Department and studying abroad in France gave her an appreciation for language, culture, and national identity different from what she has experienced in the United States. This appreciation fostered a sense of belonging to a global community that she carried with her to her graduate studies in law. As a result, Abby is especially interested in issues surrounding international intellectual property law, specifically cross-border enforcement of patents and copyrights. Her French minor serves as a constant reminder that the United States is merely one member of an international network of legal systems, each characterized by different but equally important values, purposes, and modes of operation.  
  • Leach Kemon, Katie (Class of 2004)In a letter from Niger, Katie Leach-Kemon '04 reflects upon her current work in the Peace Corps. In particular, she discusses the relevance of last year's honors thesis research on French women in the eighteenth-century public sphere. Katie writes: "In my senior honors thesis, I explored popular discussion about prostitutes as a social problem in 18th-century France. Much of this discussion was rooted in a general fear concerning women's participation and subsequent influence in the public sphere. Today, one year later, I am working as a health volunteer in a highly religious Muslim community in Niger. The other day, a woman in my town was arrested on charges of prostitution. The punishment? The town officials shaved her head. The pages of the honors thesis that I wrote at William and Mary were flashing before my eyes: shaving the heads of prostitutes was a common punishment in early 18th-century France. Not only was the punishment similar, but also the Nigerian officials' attitude towards the prostitute mirrored the attitudes of 18th-century French society. "What happened to the man who was found with her?" I asked. "Nothing. It is the prostitute who must be punished since she wanders around and seduces the men, causing them to sin," I was told. Working in Niger has provided me with an incredible experience to work and research at the forefront of the the fight for women's rights. After my two-year service is complete, I plan to pursue a Master's Degree in International Development with a concentration in Gender Studies."
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  • Lonabaugh, Kevin (Class of 2010)Kevin Lonabaugh (French/Francophone Studies and Biology, Monroe student and Phi Beta Kappa), has just been informed by the French Embassy that he received an Assistantship for next year and that he will teach English in 2010-11 in a French lycée in Corsica. "During my four years at the College, I decided to double major in both French and Biology.  The decision is definitely one of the best that I have made.  It's permitted me to pursue a wide variety of interests - I've gotten to take the science courses relevant to my future career as a pharmacist, but I've also taken many liberal arts courses to develop interests aside from those which directly relate to my career.  I've had many exciting opportunities through the William and Mary French department.  I enjoyed taking the chance to participate in a summer study abroad opportunity through William and Mary in the city of Montpellier.  That experience solidified my interest in continuing French and made me want to return for a longer time period.  I'm going to get the chance to go back next year teaching English in Corsica through the French embassy.  I've also enjoyed the different classes and skills I've picked up in my French classes.  I've taken several classes which had strong emphasis on cinema, and my appreciation for movies and film-making in general has been greatly expanded.  I've learned how to make films, which is something I had never really considered when I started out here.  It was a wonderful decision completing a double major, and it's made my experience here at the College truly a unique one."
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  • Loveley, Monica (Class of 2005)Monica Loveley ('05) writes from Guyane: "I'm working right now in Cayenne, French Guiana, the capitol of the only French department in South America. I teach English to students from ages 10 to 21, mostly children of immigrants from Suriname, Brazil, Haiti, Dominica, British Guyana, and the metropole. Here is complete immersion in the French language, in a culture and a place completely its own. Every day I wake under my mosquito net and my first thoughts are in French; I get out of bed and I sweat; I go to school and I sweat; I leave school and the steering wheel of my car burns my hands and so I drive with my fingertips, dodging students and bikes and trucks blasting reggae as I careen through the vibrant pastel slums. I love the work I'm doing here and only wish I had more. In my inordinate amount of free time I'm learning Portuguese and travelling as much as possible, having just gotten back from spending a week in Paris, and spending three weeks in the Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe before arriving in French Guiana in late September."
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  • Maryse Fauvel Lecture SeriesThis exciting new lecture series recognizing the distinguished career of Prof. Maryse Fauvel began with a lecture entitled “Screening Racialized France: Immigration, Discrimination, and Citizenship in Contemporary French Cinema”. The thought-provoking lecture was given on Feb. 23 by Prof. Cybelle McFadden (W&M ’97) from University of North Carolina, Greensboro following a screening of Ligne de couleur (2015) from director Laurence Petit-Jouvet. Asa former student of Maryse Fauvel, Prof. McFadden spoke of her profound impact on her own research path and career. IMG_5022 The Fauvel Lecture Series honors Prof. Maryse Fauvel upon her retirement after 26 years of extraordinary dedication to The College of William & Mary. Guest lecturers will speak to the latest trends in French & Francophone cultural studies, engaging issues of socio-political relevance through original analyses of literature, new media, and other texts broadly defined. The series is an important part of the French and Francophone Studies section's focus on issues of diversity, inclusion, and finding common ground in the increasingly diverse societies of the Francophone world. This lecture was sponsored by the Wendy & Emery Reves Center for International Studies; the Dean’s Office; the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures; the Program in European Studies; and the Program in Film & Media Studies.  
    Maryse Fauvel and Cybelle McFadden (left to right)

    Maryse Fauvel and Cybelle McFadden (left to right)

  • McFadden Wilkens, Cybelle (Class of 1997)Cybelle McFadden Wilkens '97 has just defended her PhD in Romance Studies at Duke University. While at William & Mary, Cybelle wrote an honors thesis in French entitled "Imagining the Impossible: Alternative Visions and Representations of Women and Their Desire in Films By Kurys, Varda, and Akerman." After graduation, she conducted research in Brussels as a Fulbright scholar. Cybelle's doctoral dissertation focuses on "Women's Artistic Expression: Reflexivity, Daily Life, and Self-Representation in Contemporary France." She has also published an article entitled "Body, Text, and Language: Wittig's Struggle For The Universal in Les Guérillères" in Women in French Studies 12 (2004). Cybelle has just accepted a Visiting Assistant Professorship of French at the Georgia Institute of Technology. We wish her all the best!
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  • Odell, Clara (Class of 2004)Clara Odell '04 writes about her experiences in France: "Returning to France as a teaching assistant was, for me, the perfect choice of what to do after graduation. My time in Albi was fulfilling in terms of gaining teaching experience and living in a beautiful Southwestern French town, but it also, in combination with my junior year abroad in Montpellier, clinched my realisation that speaking French and being immersed in French and Francophone culture is a necessity for whatever I do in life. My goal for next year is to study Francophone Literature in Paris, and later down the road get a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, hopefully looking into the role of culture and cross-cultural communication in conflict situations. So basically, to sum it all up, I really like baguettes and couscous, and that's why I keep going back."
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  • Osman, Julia (Class of 2004)Julia Osman ('04) will be returning to campus in November to meet with the students currently enrolled in Prof. Pacini's senior seminar. In addition to speaking on Laclos' novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (on this year's syllabus for French 450), Osman will talk about her research and writing methods, and in particular about how she transformed an undergraduate term paper into a publishable article. Her essay, entitled "Laclos's Novel Approach to Military Crisis and Reform," is forthcoming in the Spring 2010 edition of the international journal Eighteenth-Century Fiction. Julia Osman is currently a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is completing her dissertation, "The Citizen Army of Old Regime France," under the direction of Professor Jay M. Smith. This work examines the transformation of France's aristocratic army into a citizen army as an Old Regime, rather than a Revolutionary, phenomenon.
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  • Reed, Stephanie (Class of 2006) (BA International Relations & French): Foreign Service Officer serving in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia until summer 2011. (Updated 2010)
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  • Seidler, Amanda (Class of 1992)Would you believe that one can combine language skills with teaching skiing? Yes, it is possible. For a decade straight out of W&M I used French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish with private clientele at Keystone, CO, part of Vail Resorts. Then fell into international bike guiding with Vermont Bicycle Touring http// headquartered in Burgundy, France. Eventually combined Human Resources with both organizations. Now I head up the Employee Center at Keystone, which is similar to a student union. Later this week I'll help 100+ international housekeepers on-board. To keep my French up, I loan my organizational skills to the local Le Cercle Francais. In my spare time, I am the director of the Center for Lifelong Learning for Colorado Mt College My true indulgence for CMC is offering Italian workshops. You have to make life grand! Feel free to contact.
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  • Sessoms Copan, Lauralyn (Class of 1983) (BA, MA, ED French/Elem.Ed., Museum Education): Currently I am a French Tutor ! :) (Updated 2010)
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  • Spence, Melanie (Class of 2002)"I'm currently living in Washington DC, after having completed an MA in international administration at the University of Denver and 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa.  I now work for Population Services International ( an international NGO that works in malaria, reproductive health, child survival and HIV in over 60 countries worldwide.  I specifically support our programs in Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Haiti and use French regularly in my job and get the opportunity to travel 3-4 times a year!  It's been a great learning experience for me."
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  • Wagstaff, Laura (Class of 2009)Following graduation in 2009, Laura Wagstaff (McCormack-Reboussin Scholar 07-09) moved to Washington, DC to pursue a career in higher education and multicultural exchange. She has held positions in the Development & Special Events department of Washington National Opera and in Georgetown University's Office of Advancement. Currently, Laura serves as the Assistant Director in the Georgetown Office of Fellowships, Awards, and Research, where she advises the students of the Carroll Fellows Initiative (a program similar to the Monroe Scholars Program) and assists with students’ independent research projects. The knowledge and skills that she built during her time at William & Mary have contributed significantly to her career – from discussing operatic history with a major donor to providing advice based on her own independent research, her W&M experience has played a vital role in her career path. Laura also continues to play the pipe organ (a love she developed thanks to W&M), and is earning her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Georgetown University.
  • Zaccaria, Joe (Class of 1981)Joe Zaccaria (class of 1981) writes: "If not for my French studies at W&M . . . I probably wouldn't have known of Montpellier other than as a three-minute train station stop on the way to Carcassonne or Barcelona. I wouldn't have discovered the joys of the landscapes, language, "vieilles pierres", and people of Languedoc and Provence. I wouldn't have needed to find a way to get back to France after my junior year, and I wouldn't have had my W&M professors to help me get a French government teaching assistantship in Marseille, so I wouldn't have lived there for three years. I wouldn't have met the people there who made me think it would me fun to live in Denmark, so I wouldn't have been in Copenhagen teaching English and French for three years. I wouldn't have met the French friend there who introduced me to my Canadian wife, so I wouldn't have lived in Ontario for a year (which I could do by getting a work permit to teach French) while I applied to law schools. I wouldn't have gone to Michigan Law School because it was closest to Ontario, and I wouldn't have moved back to Canada with my wife for good after practicing law for a few years in the States. So I wouldn't be in Southern Ontario now, and I probably wouldn't be back to my first love, teaching (which I first did as an "apprentice teacher" under Professor Cloutier in '78-'79 and '80-‘81). I wouldn't be so happy teaching Grade 5 and 6 in a really good French Immersion school, and I wouldn't have a wife and daughter who understand (well, sort of) why there are still lavender buds in the pocket of my jacket from our trip to France three years ago."
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