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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures


Congratulations Modern Languages and Literatures Class of 2021!

A special note from the chair, award winners, Phi Sigma Iota inductees and thoughts, plans, and memories from graduates

A note from the Chair…

Dear Graduates,

While we are saddened that we cannot be together to celebrate your remarkable accomplishments, it gives us great comfort to know that you are well-equipped to confront this complex world we live in. This year has been one of the most difficult and challenging periods in our lives but you never lost sight of your goal. You did it, you survived and thrived! That is a tremendous achievement!

On behalf of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations and wish you all continued success. You have a remarkable journey ahead of you.

--Jimia Boutouba

SCU FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR! – Senior Armand Aibara '21 Wins Fulbright Scholarship - the  Political Science and German double major will be an English Teaching Assistant in Mecklenberg, West Pomerania, Germany next fall.

“I am excited to be traveling to Germany to work in the capacity of an English Teaching Assistant, in addition to representing the US as a cultural ambassador. I will be teaching German students English, and educating them on our vibrant, diverse American culture, and fun way of life. I am grateful to SCU and the German Studies department for their encouragement and support. I am honored to be selected for such a prestigious scholarship, and I look forward to a great experience in Germany!” READ MORE


Vari Italian Studies FellowsGabriella Ballardo ’21 and Grace Lin-Cereghino ’21

Italian Studies is a topic that is close to the hearts of Gabriella Ballardo (Environmental Studies and Italian Studies) and Grace Lin-Cereghino (Public Health Science and Italian Studies). So, when they both were given the opportunity to be the first Vari Italian Studies Fellows last summer, they were ecstatic. This fellowship, awarded to exceptional Santa Clara University students who exemplify Jesuit values and are majoring or minoring in Italian Studies, gives students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Italian culture through research or community-based internship opportunities. READ MORE

Department Awards and Prizes


FRENCH: Claire Thoms

Claire Thoms

Faculty remarks: “French has always been central not only to her academic work but also her career plans. She came to Santa Clara with the goal to do a Major with us and declared French as her Primary Major in her first quarter. She's also designed an independent Second Major in Art Business Administration as she plans to move to France to work in Museum Administration. She's been a strong advocate for the French program, and has been very generous with her time, assisting us in several outreach events.” – “She is an enthusiastic student who injects her enthusiasm to other students. She is devoted to the understanding of French culture…She is an asset to the department” – “…An excellent choice as well. Certainly no student is more enthusiastically engaged in the program than her…and never fails to contribute meaningfully to the discussions…. She's one of those students for whose presence in class you're always grateful.” – “Claire is one of those students who contribute to every discussion and make the whole class better.”

ITALIAN: Grace Lin-Cereghino

Faculty remarks: “In her Italian classes Grace has demonstrated excellent language skills, interdisciplinary interests, high creativity, and a deep understanding of global and local problems, especially those related to social justice and intercultural competence. With compassion and rare generosity, Grace has stepped into leadership positions in the classroom as a peer educator and as an Italian tutor, bringing to these supporting roles her exceptional qualities and building positive interactions with students and professors. Even under the stress of the pandemic, Grace has carried on with all her engagements with extraordinary maturity, empathy, competence, and reliability. A recipient of the inaugural SCU Vari Italian Studies Fellowship in Summer 2020, she quickly became a valuable presence (even if virtual) as a Fellow at the Museo Italoamericano in San Francisco. Grace truly leads by example and we congratulate her on her admission to Stanford's Teacher Education Program, while she is a semi-finalist for the Fulbright English TA program in Italy. We wish you all the best, Grace, and grazie mille for your dedication to Italian Studies!”

SPANISH:  Madeleine Doyle

Maddy Doyle

Faculty remarks: “Maddy was an excellent student and was very dedicated to her Spanish ” – “Maddy has a double major in Biology and Spanish. In the Spring … Maddy's very active participation and the intellectual depth of her discussion contributions raised the caliber of the course for everyone. Her research … on medical interpretation for agricultural workers, raises timely issues and demonstrates her commitment to using her Spanish for the benefit of underserved populations."



Anne-Claire Tandé

Anne-Claire Tande

Faculty remarks: “Anne-Claire Tandé (majoring in German and Finance) is this year's recipient of the Geoff and Josie Fox German Award. Throughout her studies in the German program, she demonstrated academic excellence and engagement. Anne-Claire contributed generously to discussions on film, literature, business and sustainability and helped promote interest in German. For example, she was instrumental in reviving the German Club and took an active role in the program's advocacy efforts. Upon graduation, Anne-Claire plans to take the CPA exam before joining the accounting firm Deloitte in San Francisco. One of her long-term goals is to get certified for different European accounting systems and work there.”



Gabriella Ballardo

Gabriella Ballardo

Faculty remarks: “Gabi has demonstrated not only a strong commitment to achieving a high level of proficiency in Italian, but also great generosity of spirit in sharing her love for her Italian heritage with others, and the ability to mindfully and meaningfully connect the study of Italian to her career aspirations in the field of sustainability and slow food. Gabi peer-educated in many Italian courses, held the positions of Sustainability Liaison Officer, Social Media Officer, and finally Co-Vice-President of C.I.A.O. (Cultural Italian-American Organization), and participated in and led several initiatives to promote Italian culture among her peers and in the community. A recipient of the inaugural SCU Vari Italian Studies Fellowships in Summer 2020, she conducted an internship for the Italian-American Heritage Foundation (IAHF) where she put her commitment to diverse and sustainable communities into action through initiatives such as the “Pasta Drive” that focused on helping food insecure neighborhoods in the San Jose area. We congratulate her on her admission to Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment! Auguri per un futuro radioso e grazie per tutto quello che hai fatto per il programma di Italiano!”



Kate Golinvaux

Kate Golinvaux

Faculty remarks: “Kate is particularly worthy of the French Award as she is one the rare students who have expressed a unique interest in exploring and understanding the Francophone world beyond France. Unlike [many] who are perfectly content just visiting France, Kate chose to study in Senegal and came back even more intrigued by Francophone cultures. She's recently applied for the Tapif program and has requested to be placed in areas such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Réunion.” – “ Kate in particular showed a rare level of creativity and insight and…she has been very engaged with the program. The writing she did for my … class was absolutely the most sophisticated and persuasive that I've seen from any student in the upper division courses.”



Kenny Gabel

Kenny Gabel

Faculty remarks: “Congratulations to Kenny who, in my courses, never failed to bring an engaging, citizen-of-the-world outlook to class discussions. He was always eager to understand and debate different perspectives and worldviews. What especially impressed me was his ability to integrate his own experiences—in the Army ROTC or living in Europe, for example—into his reflections on important topics such as identity, violence and war. It’s as though learning French and German has given him new eyes through which to see both the world and himself.” – “Bravo to Kenny who year after year was a delight in a variety of classes—even when taught on line! He was always ready to share his insights that were innovative, as his experiences in ROTC and travelling gave him different experiences and more nuanced views of the world.” –“Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Kenny Gabel! As the deserving recipient of this year’s Celeste Fritschle Award, Kenny embodies all the values this award is based upon. In each of his German classes, Kenny eagerly contributed to group discussions and provided insightful observations on a wealth of topics, spanning everything from German conversation to film and sustainability. Every once in a while, a professor is lucky enough to have the pleasure of teaching a student that goes above and beyond of what is required in the syllabus, and Kenny is the prime example. Good luck to Kenny on all of his future endeavors!”



Jacqueline Ramirez '22

Jacqueline Ramírez

Faculty remarks: “Jackie has been very active and involved in many groups on campus, she's a dedicated and hard-working student, and is interested in the teaching profession. She's a LEAD scholar and has a nice blurb on our website. She also served as a Peer Educator for [both intermediate and upper division courses] where she would take initiative in the break out room and in the main zoom to help support the students. She has worked for the Ignatian Center (Arrupe & Thriving Neighbors) for the past two quarters (if not more), and this quarter through this position, she is a facilitator for my Spanish 170 class. She helps organize and support the student virtual meetings with the community partners, and she facilitates reflection sessions with students. She is very responsible and organized, and she appears to engage herself fully with this work. She interacts very well with students. She's also a consistent member of ¡A Charlar! conversation group, she shares easily and openly and is great to have there when she's available. She made a flyer and shared it with the MCC and other groups she's in such as Hermanas Unidas. The next generation will be very lucky to have her if she does choose to go on in the teaching profession.


Phi Sigma Iota Inductees – 2021


Allison Cepukenas
Danielle Dixon
Katherine Freuhauf
Lucinda Gilbert
Catherine Golinvaux
Lauren Hewitt
Kate Knight
Terrell Smith
Kristina Stoia
Claire Thoms
Jade Von Aesch


Armand Aibara
Richard Arnold III
Penn Cooper
Kenneth Gabel
Eoan Harrison
Johann Hoppe
Aaron Jimenez
Sarah King
Anne-Claire Tandé


Gabriella Ballardo
Sara Eckles
Grace Lin-Cereghino
Caroline Mcinerney
Claire Toney


Kiana Abrigana
Matthew Hoffman
Elena Wu-Ratner



William Altemeier Jr.
Sophia Bernal
Margaux Blazer
Madeleine Doyle
Julian Dreiman
Peter Duff
Theodore Dulchinos
Natalie Elliott
Javier Espinola
Ali Fetter
Aidan Gallegos
Sandra Jamaleddine
Aleah Jayme
Hilda Jimenez
Megan Kelly
Anika Kingsley
Mireille Martinez
Nina Molanphy
Alexander Montgomery
Nicole Nelson
Meghan Nuti
Sophia Pethokoukis
Rebecca Poirier
Shelby Schumacher
Emily Shiroma
Faizah Shyanguya
Isabelle Silber
Samantha Springman
Sarah Steindl
Sena Stillman
Katherine Sullivan
Isabella Trevino

French TAPIF Program Participants

Four graduating seniors to utilize French skills learned at SCU in the Teaching Assistant Program in France. READ MORE

Terrell Smith
headshot of Liam Abbate
Liam Abbate

Blair Huxman
headshot of Ally Cepukenas
Abby Cepukenas

Senior Thoughts

We wanted to hear from you!  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, plans, and memories…

Abbate, Liam
Majors: Political Science, French & Francophone Studies, and Environmental Studies

headshot of Liam Abbate

I really appreciated taking French 103: Advanced French Writing with Mme Capella in winter quarter of my sophomore year. It was a small class (7 or 8 students) which really allowed the instructor to provide us with frequent individualized feedback on our various short and medium length papers. Before this class, much of my experience was learning very specific grammatical concepts, but by learning about the grammar I was incorporating into my own writing, it proved easier to remember. I also got more experience translating short phrases (especially technical or obscure ones) from French to English, or vise versa, using the website "Linguee." These skills were invaluable during my study abroad experience in Strasbourg, particularly when I wrote a 3000 word paper about the history of U.S.-E.U. relations (in French) for my course about Political Science of Europe at Sciences Po Strasbourg.

Abrigana, Kiana
Major: Accounting; Minors: Japanese & Business Analytics

Photo of Kiana Abrigana

I signed up for Japanese at SCU on a whim, encouraged by my orientation leader to try new things. It was hard at first, but I ended up loving the language and the culture and would love to keep learning after graduation. ほりべ先生のおかげで、沢山習えました。ありがとうございます!

Aibara, Armand
Majors: German Studies and Political Science

I will always remember my German Short Stories class with Professor Jones. Despite being virtual, class discussions were highly memorable, and I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with my classmates.

Doyle, Madeleine (Maddy)
Majors: Biology and Spanish Studies

Maddy Doyle

I do not have a favorite course because all of the courses I have taken for my Spanish major have been amazing, but I will never forget the first upper-division Spanish course I took sophomore year. It was SPAN 102, Intro to Hispanic Linguistics with Prof. Pellettieri, and it really opened my eyes to the world of language learning as well as certain aspects of languages that I knew from personal experience, but did not understand well (such as why certain language speakers can recognize distinct sounds while others cannot). I learned so much in that class and it was a huge reason I decided to declare my Spanish major! All of the courses I have taken since then in the Spanish department have continued to increase my excitement and appreciation for the Spanish language (and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries) and languages in general. A huge thank you to the department for making my experience with this major so awesome!

Duff, Peter
Major: Communication; Minor: Spanish Studies

Peter Duff

My favorite memories from SCU are getting to know/working alongside all the amazing faculty and students in the Communication department. They were all wonderful people, and I feel privileged that I was able to learn from and contribute to such a fantastic department during my time at SCU.

Dulchinos, Teddy
Majors: Spanish Studies and Finance

Professor Ortigas' classes at SCU have been some of my favorite courses I've ever taken, especially Detective Short Story and Narco-Narratives. We read some great books like Fiesta en la Madriguera and La Ciudad Está Triste and I had a great time learning the historical contexts behind them.

Eckles, Sara
Majors: Communication and Italian Studies

Photo of Sara Eckles

I studied Italian to grasp a better understanding of my heritage and learn the language to better communicate with my family. I am forever grateful for the opportunities it provided me, such as studying abroad in Bologna, Italy, and being President of CIAO. Shoutout to the Italian Department for their tireless efforts and for being the best mentors! Grazie per tutto.

Fetter, Alexandra
Majors: Spanish Studies and Political Science

Photo of Alexandra Fetter and friends

I will be attending USD Law School to pursue a career in child advocacy.

Fezzani, Nour
Major: Biochemistry; Minors: Spanish Studies and Biology

Photo of Nour Fezzani

My favorite memory was telling a story from my childhood in front of the whole class in Spanish with Profesora Schindewolf because it helped me gain more confidence in my Spanish-speaking abilities!

Gabel, Kenny
Majors: French & Francophone Studies and German Studies

Kenny Gabel

I started at SCU as a mechanical engineering major on an Army ROTC scholarship. After four quarters of learning engineering I realized that wasn't where I wanted to be, so I moved over to the language department with the help of Madame Boutouba who was really supportive and made the transition much easier. At first, I didn't know if I was ready to handle the switch, but with time I came to really enjoy my French and German classes and saw my language skills improve dramatically. Though I didn't get to go abroad, these classes connected me to different places all over the world and gave me much levity during the first months of the pandemic. Overall, my SCU experience has been amazing, and I wouldn't trade my time here for anything.

Gallegos, Aidan
Majors: Psychology and Philosophy; Minor: Spanish Studies

To this day, my favorite class ever at SCU has been SPAN 100 (Advanced Spanish I) with Dr. Beebe. Dr. Beebe retired just after I took her class, and I could not be more grateful that I had the opportunity to study with her. I had never studied Spanish and Latin American Literature so intensely yet meaningfully before. I appreciated Dr. Beebe's compassion for each student in her class as she taught us to hone our bilingual abilities and to be creative with our literary analyses. Although I took only four classes in order to fulfill my Spanish minor, each of the four professors I had genuinely cared about making me a better Spanish speaker, a better student, and a better person. Thank you all!

Hewitt, Lauren
Major: Environmental Science; Minors: French & Francophone Studies and Political Science

Photo of Lauren Hewitt

Starting this fall, I will be serving as a Youth Coordinator at the Margaret Donnelly O'Connor Education Center in Camden, New Jersey through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps! I am so grateful for my professors at SCU who have helped me improve my French speaking, reading, and writing over the past four years. I am excited to continue practicing the language in the future!

Jayme, Aleah
Major: History; Minors: Spanish Studies and Philosophy

Photo of Aleah Jayme

Since graduating in March, I have been working full time in the area of recruiting at a company based in San Francisco. I am extremely grateful for both Professor Ortigas and Professor Schindewolf as they played tremendous roles in my growth as a student and as an individual. Thank you for everything that you do for us; SCU has become a better place with amazing professors like you in it!

Kelly, Megan
Majors: Spanish Studies, Child Studies, and History

Photo of Megan Kelly

I chose to study Spanish because I knew it would allow me to connect with my community on a deeper level. Starting this summer, I am excited to be able to continue learning and improving my language skills in a culturally and linguistically diverse community as a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps in St. Louis, MO. During this program, I will be pursuing my Masters in Education at SLU and teaching my very own 4th grade class. Thank you to all of my professors for your patience and encouragement during my four years at SCU!

King, Sarah
Major: Bioengineering; Minor: German Studies

Photo of Sarah King

I will be starting at Intuitive this July, working as a Clinical Development Engineer. This position is in Sunnyvale, CA but I hope to eventually work at Intuitive's satellite office in Freiburg, Germany.

Knight, Kate
Majors: Communication and French & Francophone Studies; Minor: Retail Studies

This Fall, I will be attending IESEG School of Management and Istituto Marangoni in Paris, France, working towards my Master of Science degree in Fashion Management. The French and Francophone Studies program at SCU has played a major role in guiding me toward this exciting next step, and for that, I could not be more grateful.

Lin-Cereghino, Grace
Majors: Italian Studies and Public Health Science; Minor: Urban Education

I'll really miss the small Italian classes I had the privilege of taking at SCU! Professoresse Bertola, Bubula-Phillips, and Ferraro would always pour their hearts into helping us build our language skills and draw connections between Italy and the worlds we experience, and getting to know my sweet, funny, and brilliant classmates was such a highlight. I will miss seeing them every week, but I am glad I won't be too far away next year! I'll be at Stanford's Teacher Education Program beginning in the summer to get my Master's in Education and Teaching Credential, and I am so thankful that the Modern Languages Department cultivated a love of learning in me!

Lippmann, Sofia
Major: Finance; Minors: French & Francophone Studies and Retail Studies

Photo of Sofia Lippmann

The secret to happiness is freedom, the secret to freedom is courage.

Molanphy, Nina
Major: Public Health; Minors: Spanish Studies and Political Science

Photo of Nina Molanphy and friend

One of my all-time favorite memories while getting to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was my friends and I running a half marathon together. This was their third or second time doing one but my first and though it was very hard, running and training for this race was such a unique way to get to know this beautiful city! Studying abroad and running a half marathon in Argentina are two things I am incredibly grateful for and both emblematic of my time studying Spanish at SCU as I have learned and grown so much through different challenges and successes. I can't wait to continue this in my journey beyond SCU!

Morgan, Laura
Major: Management Information Systems; Minor: Spanish Studies

I plan to live in Spain for the next year as an auxiliary English teacher for elementary school students! I would not have been able to pursue this opportunity without the department of Modern Languages. My Spanish minor has been my favorite part of my education at Santa Clara.

Nuti, Meghan
Major: Psychology; Minors: Spanish Studies and Retail Studies

My favorite memory of my SCU journey was studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain and getting the once in a lifetime opportunity to practice my Spanish with native speakers, especially my homestay mom, Meli.

Oppmann, Aleksandra
Majors: Biology and Spanish Studies

Photo of Aleksandra Oppmann

I was initially going to minor in Spanish, but after taking a creative writing and literature course with Professor Beebe, I felt impassioned to challenge myself and delve into the language and culture head on with the major. Haven't regretted it since I submitted the paperwork!

Steinbrecher, Sam
Majors: Economics and French & Francophone Studies; Minor: Management Information Systems

Photo of Sam Steinbrecher

I'm so grateful for the Modern Languages department for supporting me in pursuing my study abroad and language proficiency dreams! A special shoutout to Madame Boutouba for convincing me that I could succeed as a French student. I will take the lessons of determination and compassion with me in my next endeavor as a Technology Consultant at Accenture!

Stillman, Sena
Major: Public Health Science; Minors: Spanish Studies and Biology

Photo of Sena Stillman

First of all I want to thank all of the Spanish professors at SCU. I have met some of the most kind, intelligent, and helpful professors in the Spanish department and I would not have been able to get this job after graduation without them. I will be working at a public hospital in Loreto, Mexico after graduation, getting hands on patient hours before I apply to PA school. I am beyond excited about the opportunity to live, work, and continue my language learning abroad. Thoms, Claire Major: French & Francophone Studies and Arts Administration (IS Degree); Minor: Art History My studies of language at SCU really helped me to be able to communicate confidently with my host family while studying abroad in Nantes, FR. Loved being a PE too!