National Hispanic Heritage month events, continued

The UW‑Green Bay Spanish program has put together an array of events to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15), and the many contributions of Hispanic/Latinos to the culture of the United States. Among them:

Oct. 6: Translation discussion. Prof. Fernandez Meardi & Kolin Jordan from “7 vientos,” a publishing house based in Chicago will discuss translating Spanish literary works into English. 4 to 5 p.m., Christie Theater, University Union. (Spanish/English).

Oct. 13: Literature discussion. Professors Fernandez Meardi (UW-Green Bay) and Pablo Ruiz (Tufts University) will discuss Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death. 4 to 5 p.m., Christie Theater, University Union. (Spanish/English).

Want to practice languages?

Here is your opportunity. Free and open to the public:

French conversation (with Maria and Maeva from France):

  • Mondays: 2 to 3 p.m. at the Common Grounds
  • Thursdays: 5 to 6 p.m. at the Library

German Stammtisch (with Yen and Elke from Germany):

  • Mondays: 5 to 6 p.m. in the Heritage Room

Spanish “Tertulia” (with Jorge from Colombia and Isabel from Spain)

  • Tuesdays: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Common Grounds
  • Thursdays: 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Club

German film ‘Measuring the World’ is Wednesday at Neville

The Green Bay Film Society’s International Film Series continues this week with a screening of the 2012 German film “Measuring the World,” a fictionalized account of Alexander von Humboldt’s and Carl Friedrich Gauss’ travels and their attempts to “measure the world” in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The film is free and open to the public and starts at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 in the auditorium of the Neville Public Museum. UWGB Prof. Carol Emmons (Art) will lead a discussion. Sponsored by UWGB Humanistic Studies, the Brown County Library and the Neville Public Museum.

Great Books tonight: Coury on My Name is Red

Humanistic Studies’ Great Books discussion series continues tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 10) with a presentation of the novel My Name is Red, a work written by the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. Prof. David Coury (Humanistic Studies and German) will lead the discussion, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown branch of the Brown County Public library. All events are free and open to the public.

Film Society offers timely take on illegal immigration

This Wednesday (Oct. 7) the Green Bay Film Society presents the 2010 Belgium film Illegal, a very timely work about illegal immigration examining the situation of many immigrants in Europe and the process of being placed in detention centers. Prof. David Coury of Humanistic Studies and German will introduce the film’s showing at 7 p.m. and lead a discussion afterward, all in the auditorium of the Neville Public Museum. The event is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by Humanistic Studies and the Brown County Library.

Passing of former professor Heinz Geppert

Heinz-GeppertAn email from a former student shares word that Heinz W. Geppert, an associate professor of German at UW-Green Bay during the 1970s, passed away May 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo. He died at home after a long illness, at age 84. There was no published obituary.

Geppert taught courses in German language and culture beginning in 1973. He was active with UW-Green Bay’s fledgling college theatre program. He directed German-language plays here including Harig’s “Ein Blumenstueck” and “Hochwasser” by Gunter Grass, in addition to English-language productions including “A Dream Play” and another Grass play, “The Flood.”

After leaving UW-Green Bay, Geppert taught at Whitman (Wash.) College and spent time directing German theatre with Seattle Theatre Arts before he joined the faculty at Colorado College in 1991 to teach courses on the history of German film.

Geppert grew up in the war-torn Silesia province of Germany, now part of present-day Poland. Barely into his teens, he avoided being conscripted into either the Nazi or Russian armies in the final days of the war and somehow found his way west. He landed work as kitchen help with the English occupation forces and eventually emigrated to the United States.

Humanistic Studies honors top students

Last Friday (May 8), Humanistic Studies hosted an awards ceremony for outstanding students and scholarship winners.

Student honorees were:

Humanistic Studies Scholarships

Harold and Edna Bickford Endowed Scholarship – Taylor Navis

Coryll Crandall Memorial Scholarship – Danielle Eder

Thomas E. Daniels Memorial Scholarship – Samantha Molina

Lise Lotte Gammeltoft Memorial Scholarship – Faith Lent

Modern Languages Awards Academic Year 2014—2015

Academic Excellence Award in German – Ashley Thibeau

Applied Language Award in German – Sara Lueth

Academic Excellence Award in Spanish – Julia Rose Shariff 

Academic Excellence Award in Spanish – Colin Nohr 

Applied Use of Spanish Award – Courtney Mueller-Krouse 

Academic Excellence Award in French – Elijah Amelse 

Applied Use of French Award – Adam Meyer

Interest in Wisconsin vote extends to Germany

Coverage of Tuesday’s midterm Congressional elections stretched far and wide. The German radio station Südwestrundfunk (SWR), based in Baden-Baden, interviewed Prof. David Coury of Humanistic Studies and German early Tuesday morning. The focus was student interest in the elections on campus as well as expected voter turnout in the campus-based precinct at UW-Green Bay. The German radio reporter was also interested in student support of, or frustration with, the Obama administration and the impact that might have on the 2016 presidential elections.

Coury presents on ‘European Cultural Plurality’ in Portugal

Prof. David Coury of Humanistic Studies, German and Global Studies presented a talk — “United in Diversity? European Cultural Plurality in the 21st Century” — at the biannual conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI) in Porto, Portugal this August. His article, “Ways of Belonging: Navid Kermani and the Muslim Turn in Contemporary German Literature,” is a continuation of this research and will appear in a special issue of the journal Colloquia Germanica. Coury’s work has been supported in part by a grant from the UW-Green Bay Research Council.

Alumni rising: Research sparks international career for Von Holzen

top-story-vonholzenIn a tradition that dates as far back as the 18th century, a decorated cow-drawn wagon carted newly honored Katie Von Holzen to the center of the Göttingen, Germany and dropped her off in front of City Hall. From there she climbed up next to the Gänseliesel statue, added a bouquet of flowers, and gave the “goose girl” a kiss on the cheek.

in-story-vonholzen-2This tradition is reserved only for a newly appointed “Dr.”

Van Holzen, a 2009 UW-Green Bay psychology graduate, had defended her Ph.D only a few hours earlier at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, where she studied bilingual and monolingual lexical and phonological development.

Von Holzen is now working in Paris, France as a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception at the Université Paris Descartes. Her research focuses on the importance of consonants and vowels for infants during lexical acquisition and processing.

So how does a small-town Wisconsin girl end up with a career in Paris, France? The answer is a lot of hard work and a lot of help along the way.

Von Holzen said she is indebted to several professors at UWGB, especially her mentor Prof. Jennifer Lanter. She spent three semesters in Lanter’s Language Learning Lab, which included research projects investigating toddler plural acquisition and how parents adapt their language to the environment and needs of children.

“My interest took off very, very quickly once I started in the Language Lab,” Von Holzen said. “I also took my first college level German class that semester. It was fascinating studying how toddlers understand and use language, while I, at the same time was struggling to learn a second language. It was unfair and amazing at the same time.”

Prior to that, Von Holzen spent two months at Dartmouth College as a summer research intern working in a social neuro-cognition lab with the help of UWGB Professors Regan Gurung and Kate Burns. She used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to look at the areas of the brain that light up when women rate pictures of men separately on their aesthetic and sexual attractiveness.

“The experience fueled my fascination with the brain and the things it can tell us if we ask the right questions,” Von Holzen said.

Von Holzen told her adviser, Prof. Burns, that she was interested in cognition, memory and language and asked if there was a project she could get involved in on campus. Burns, in turn, introduced her to Lanter and the Language Learning Lab.

“Working in her Language Learning Lab led me to discover my passion for the study of language acquisition and gain extensive experience in the field. I will always be grateful for her confidence in me, as well as her support while I was applying to graduate school,” Von Holzen said.

“The environment at UWGB really helped me figure out what I wanted to do in life that would make me happy. I can think of no greater preparation than that,” Von Holzen said.

“Although travelling is a definite perk, I would say that working on questions that I’m passionate about is definitely my favorite part of my job,” Von Holzen said. “When I’ve thought about doing anything else, I can’t imagine losing access to a lab where I can satisfy my curiosity on a daily basis.”

She was introduced to the Green Bay area during cherished time spent time at her aunt and uncle’s — Diane (Von Holzen) Mike Phillips — home in Green Bay. Both are 1977 UWGB graduates.


Modern Languages program acknowledges top students

The Modern Language Award Ceremony took place Thursday and honored the following outstanding students:

Applied Use of French – Nicole Phillips

Academic Excellence in French – Katie Crews

Applied Use of German – Mitchell Harings

Academic Excellence in German – Ashley Deprey-Peeters


Applied Use of Spanish – Julio Morales III

Applied Use of Spanish – Tanner K. Vodvarka

Academic Excellence in Spanish – Kathryn Johnson

We’re told Vodvarka gave a short speech in Spanish and English via Skype from Bucamaranga (Colombia) where he is studying this semester and, after the presentation of the awards, faculty and students enjoyed wonderful cake and refreshments compliments of the Humanistic Studies program.