Elena Apostolova-Ross, MA Russian ’02, was not a typical student when she arrived at the University of Waterloo. She had already earned a 5-year MA equivalent degree from the Moldovian State University and had 12 years experience teaching Russian language and literature courses to foreign students at the university level.
Natasha Dennis (Kazanecki) BA ’03 (Slavic Studies), MA ’04 (Russian), Data and Information Specialist for ConnexONTARIO, says that it was the small class-sizes and friendly environment that attracted her to the Slavic Studies program during her BA.
Originally, an International Business student, Natasha was required to take an elective language course for her program. She was drawn to Russian because of her Polish/Russian heritage and she found that it in a smaller department it was a different experience than she was used to in a much larger program and so she switched programs.
Katherine Surmanski was born in Peterborough, Ontario, and grew up in rural Southern Ontario, near the small town of Burford. She began her studies at a small liberal arts college in Michigan. After a summer spent in Krakow studying the Polish language, Katherine decided to pursue her love of Slavic languages and culture and transferred to the University of Waterloo in the third year of her undergraduate studies.
Jessica Hamann graduated in 2005 with a Master of German degree. She came to the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies as an exchange student in 2004, and spend one year with us. She says that her time here was something she will always remember, and that it was a great experience.
After graduating, Jessica returned to Mannheim to finish her teaching degree. Jessica is working on her PhD at the University of Mannheim, and is also teaching there.
James Thompson, BA German, Russian minor ’00 says that he had originally came to uWaterloo for the French program but after spending a year in France he decided it was not right for him. With an open mind he took both German and Russian as electives in his first year and never looked back.
Jasmin immigrated to Canada with her family when she was two years old, and grew up on a dairy farm outside of Waterloo. Jasmin says that she was drawn to uWaterloo because she felt it offered her the most challenge and opportunities in her areas of interest: German language, business, and cycling. She says she has accomplished even more than she expected: she earned two German specializations, graduated from the Honours Co-op Program, went on exchange to Germany, earned a Specialization in International Trade, and even started her own company!
Mark Wilkinson completed his MA in German and Russian in 2008, and has been traveling ever since! Immediately following his defence, he was on his way to the Canadian east coast. Being the musician that he is, he performed at various "open mic" nights along the way. Mark says this was a well-earned reward after a final semester of very hard work.
Susan Johnston graduated with a BA in German in 1996. She says her time here was fabulous. Susan not only earned her degree, but also went on the Waterloo in Germany Exchange Program and on the Werkstudentenprogram, and spent co-op terms in Canada and Germany. After she left our department, Susan went on to study at Carton University, at the Normal Paterson School of International Affairs and earned her MA in International Affairs in 2006.
Regine came to the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies as an exchange student in 2002. She tells us that she wanted to take part in the exchange with Waterloo ever since her first term at the University of Mannheim, even though she thought that the opportunity to study in Canada might be too good to be true! Regine speaks very highly of her time here, saying that her stay in Waterloo turned out even better than she had expected, especially academically. In fact, it was GER 600 that made her understand what studying literature is about. Regine is thankful to Prof.
Barbara Kehler came from Germany as an exchange student to Waterloo in 2006 to complete her MA. She tells us her experiences as an exchange student were great, and that it surprised her how quickly she was able to feel at home here. She said that it was largely due to the help she received during her first few weeks here that made the transition to a Canadian university easier.
Dr. Michael Zimmermann BA ’84 (German), MA ’86 (from Queens) and PhD ’97, is currently an assistant professor at the University of Regina in the Department of International Languages. He didn’t always know that he wanted to pursue a career in academia, but it was the program and his mentors here at the Germanic and Slavic Studies department that really got him excited about his studies.
Read why Belinda chose to study German at uWaterloo
Belinda Kleinhans joined the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies as a Master’s student in 2006 and returned as a PhD candidate in 2008. Her research focuses on the intersection of philosophy, literature and film within a posthumanist and poststructuralist framework. The main areas of her research are Cultural and Literary Animal Studies, film studies with a focus on the construction of gendered identities, national myth creation, and 20th-century German literature.
Jennifer Redler graduated from the joint-MA program in Intercultural German Studies in 2014. Her MA thesis was entitled "Unrechtsstaat or 'Normal' State? Authenticity and the Portrayal of the German Democratic Republic on Film” and dealt with opposing versions of East German history as presented on film.
Janice McGregor completed her Masters in German in the summer of 2006. After defending her thesis, she remained in Waterloo working part-time at Wilfrid Laurier as a German instructor for beginners. uWaterloo’s Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies also needed a temporary undergraduate secretary before hiring someone full-time, so Janice joined the GSS team until the spring of 2007.
Patrick Myles BA ’87 (German) MBA ’89 (Wilfrid Laurier University), Director of Corporate Communications at DALSA says that his Bachelor of Arts at uWaterloo provided him with the skill set and broad base of knowledge necessary for a career in communications at an international company.
Lori Straus, MA ’03 (German), Theatre Manager for the Registry Theatre in Kitchener, ON, says that although she is no longer pursuing a career in academe, graduate studies at uWaterloo provided her with the skills and professionalism necessary to her career.
Olaf Naese, Joint BA '75 (German & Sociology), Communications and Public Relations Administrator for Co-operative Education & Career Services here atuWaterloo says that he would not have done things differently during his time as a student. Although he does not get to use his German language skills day-to-day, he finds that it was the discipline and the writing skills that he developed during his degree that have proved most valuable to him in his career.
Anita Panov (Wuchrer) MA Russian ‘00 is currently the Language Manager in Translation for Caterpillar® in Peoria, Illinois. Anita, a native of Germany, had the option of coming to uWaterloo and completing her MA in only one year as a part of the exchange program with the University of Mannheim which she said was an opportunity she could not turn down.
Iryna graduated from the University of Waterloo with an MA in in Russian studies in 2006, and is now pursuing a MEd Degree in Second Language Education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/University of Toronto.
Teaching foreign languages has always been a passion of hers and she is happy that in addition to teaching English, she has learnt and practiced teaching Russian at the Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies.