Studying German can take you to an exciting variety of destinations. Scroll through our featured alumni updates below for some examples.
To add your alumni update, please email a short blurb about where you are now and a photo (optional) to email@example.com.
Joseph (J.J.) Bianco
After graduating in 2010, I went on to pursue my Master's of Divinity at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. The degree required I learn two more languages: Hebrew and Greek. My major has been instrumental in my studying of these languages, giving me greater depth and insight; particular depth and insight specifically in the case system of Greek, which is similar but more complex than German. Also, if I am to pursue my PhD then there is the requirement of another language, which I already have, being German! I am thankful for the ways in which my degree has prepared me for the future, though unique it is nonetheless significant.
To learn more about J.J.'s institution, click here.
I graduated from University of Pittsburgh and took my first job immediately: teaching English in a private middle school in rural South Korea. My tiny town of Sambong, located in South Chungcheong Province, or Chungnam, put me in traveling distance from Seoul yet far enough away from big cities to push my limits. My German degree may seem an unlikely prerequisite for living in South Korea, but drawing on my extensive experience learning German as a foreign language helped me tremendously when brainstorming my own lesson plans. I've since finished my contract and am now setting off on a five month adventure traveling, volunteering and homestaying in Europe. My experiences as a German major continue to enrich my travels; with a working knowledge of European history, sightseeing and exploring are infinitely more fascinating and serve to further my education on a deeper level.
I am a commercial and corporate litigator with Clark Hill Thorp Reed in Pittsburgh. My practice focuses on all kinds of business disputes and litigation surrounding business breakups. I also advise on legal issues involving social media content, including defamation claims. Admittedly, I have spoken very little German since graduation. However, in obtaining my German degree, the skills I developed in organizing and categorizing information are skills I rely on each and every day. In pursuing the literature component of my degree, and in particular, writing my senior thesis, I learned to think critically. I learned to identify different viewpoints to an argument and to develop, and ultimately compare, those lines of thinking. Finally, writing in German brought the challenge of critical writing to another level, and prepared me to rise to new challenges in writing.
To learn more about Elizabeth's practice, click here.
After graduating from Pitt in 2008 with a BA in German and a BA in Urban Studies and a minor in Linguistics, I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Schärding, Austria, for two years, where I learned a form of German I never thought I'd quite grasp at first, Innviertlerisch. I then returned to Pittsburgh and am currently working as a Collections and Database Assistant at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, a Data Technician at Community Technical Assistance Center (CTAC), as well as a Programs & Communications Specialist and Office Manager at the Hilltop Alliance. I am also working towards an MA in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) through an online program with Lund University in Sweden.
To learn more about Tim's many pursuits, visit:
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, I went on to earn a Master's in European Studies (politics and history) from Malmö University in Sweden. Studying German allowed me to learn Swedish very quickly. This was beneficial for me while I studied there for three years. Now, I am a Swedish to English translator at Copypanthers in Istanbul, Turkey. I also volunteer as a research asisstant for the Centre for Policy Analysis and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey), where I have written several publications. In addition to my volunteer work, I am also an editor at Turkish Policy Quarterly, a very well-known political magazine. I hope to do a Ph.D. in political science in the near future.
To learn more about Eric's projects, visit:
Harold (Hal) Gill
Harold (Hal) Gill completed an M.A. in Germanic Literatures and Languages at the University of Pittsburgh in 1997. After working as a freelance translator and in his old career of Art Conservation at the Carnegie Museum of Art, he moved in 2000 to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he led a documentation team for Web500 A/S, winning the European Technical Communications Competition Award of Merit for Online Help in 2002. He returned to the United States that year and is presently a certified Enterprise Architect supporting the U.S. Air Force Office of Business Transformation. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Lynn.
To learn more about Hal's work, visit:
I'm currently an Assistant Professor of Accounting at the Fisher School of Accounting, University of Florida. My research uses theory from psychology to better understand how social factors influence the production and verification of business information. I earned a double degree at Pitt (BA in German, BSBA in Accounting), and a PhD in Accounting at the University of Illinois (two German faculty members wrote recommendations for my PhD application). My German studies - and, in particular, the friendly, open-minded, and supportive German faculty at Pitt - gave me an appreciation of scholarship. The German curriculum encouraged me to read widely and to connect ideas from a variety of time periods, cultures, and philosophical traditions. The topics from my German studies at Pitt - including Brecht, Karl der Grosse, Kafka, Goethe, and the Athenäum - continue to shape my thinking and spawn new curiosities, even in Accounting.
To learn more about Justin, and the Fisher School of Accounting, visit:
I am now living and working in Heidelberg, Germany, where I have a position at Wordflow Translation & Software Localization GmbH as a German to English translator and project manager. My Pitt German degree (2008) and my senior honors thesis got me interested in translation. I took advantage of studying in Augsburg and spent some time at Uni Mainz after graduation. I have since gotten my Master's in Translation and Localization Management at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, CA, USA (2012).
I graduated from Pitt in 2006 in German and Neuroscience. I graduated from the MD/PhD program at Penn State University College of Medicine in 2013. I am now in residency, doing one year of internal medicine at Kaiser-Santa Clara followed by radiology at University of California-Davis.
Professionally, German has helped me:
- connect with patients and research participants, particularly from the Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities - my research in collaboration with the Clinic for Special Children focused on conditions within these populations
- read research publications relevant to my work but existing only in German
Personally, German has helped me:
- converse with in-laws (married to a Swiss! Knowing German helped me learn Swiss dialect)
- better integrate into a new community of friends
- become a dual U.S./Swiss citizen (conversational "exam" within the interview)
- appreciate the rich Germanic culture in film and literature in my leisure time
To learn more about the Clinic for Special Children, click here.
After graduating from Pitt, I moved to Florida and began an MBA program at Florida Gulf Coast University. My plan at that time was to get a business degree and work for a German company. However, all that changed when I was offered a graduate assistantship with FGCU's International Services Office. I became responsible for all international students and became the contact person for study abroad. Having knowledge of a foreign language and the experience of going abroad helped me to encourage students to pursue education abroad and also helped me to better understand our international students. I currently work for the University of South Florida. Although I see fewer international students here, my goal is to work on my Ph.D. and move over to their Education Abroad office. My time at Pitt, involvement with the German Club, and semester abroad in Germany was the best time of my life.
To learn more about Shannon's endeavors, visit:
Looking back on the past decade, I continue to return to my formative experiences as an undergraduate at Pitt, in particular within the German department. To me, as a student, the department was a comfortable support structure that taught me to think critically, and somewhat to my surprise at the time, led me to a love and study of literature, particularly Goethe and Kafka.
Since completing my degree in both German and Spanish in 2003, along with two semesters of Pitt in Germany and a semester of Pitt in Argentina, I have been teaching German at Upper St. Clair School District, as well as becoming involved in a leadership capacity in Educational Technology. Although I am sad to leave the classroom behind in spring 2013, I am moving to a central administrative position as the Director of Technology at South Park School District.
To learn more about Rich, click here.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Sharon went on to join Teach for America and spent two years teaching middle school math in a high-needs school in Miami, FL. While there, she earned her MS in Education from the University of Miami before moving on to coach early-career and developing teachers in Miami, Tulsa and Philadelphia. Sharon is currently in her second year of teaching second grade math at DC Preparatory Academy and continues to read and travel voraciously.
I graduated from Pitt in 2003, spent a year studying Scandinavian Studies at the University of Kiel, and began working in translation upon returning to the United States in 2004. I initially began working as an in-house proofreader at a translation agency in New York and moved on to editing translations and finally translation itself. In 2010, I decided it was time to move back to PA, and I began translating from German, Danish and Swedish into English on a freelance basis with multiple translation agencies. In March 2013, my (German) wife and I launched our own company, Hansa Translations, LLC. I specialize in medical, legal and market research translations, but I also take on a fair amount of advertising, information technology, and the occasional translation about German beer.
To learn more about Christopher's work, visit:
Kristin Weaver (Fullerton)
I am currently employed as a high school German teacher at Penn-Trafford High School, teaching four levels of German. I also work as an adjunct professor for Seton Hill University, teaching German 001 and 002. Studying German as my undergraduate major (obviously) helped me to become a German teacher. My time spent studying the language in the classroom, as well as my time abroad in Augsburg, adequately prepared me for the job I currently have. In addition, I am currently applying for a position with Global L-T as a language tutor for a student who will be relocating to Germany for a job. And when I'm not using my German language skills, I'm whipping up something delicious in the kitchen with my husband!
To learn more about Kristin's work, visit:
To contact any of the alumni featured here, please email the German Department.