Alumni Success Stories

What can I do with a major or minor in German? Anything!

Wondering where a German major or minor can take you? Our recent graduates are doing all kinds of things, from graduate school, to work in the museum world, to further work and study abroad. They all have one thing in common: they talk about how much their study of German at K helped them succeed.

“I was in Hannover for my foreign study during junior year. The experience, language and cultural fluency gained was very important to my life and career. 

As a young PhD Organic Chemist, I was entering the workforce with expected scientific skills, but with the foreign study experience, I was a great fit for Bayer, a German chemical company. With my early technical success and German language skills, I was asked to move to the headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany after a few years with the company. The expat experience was like a second foreign study and a great opportunity to grow my German language skills while making connections and contributions that helped me during the 20 year career I had with Bayer (now Covestro). 

The last assignment with Bayer was another foreign assignment. My family and I were expats in China. It was another great adventure and extension of the journey I started my junior year. 


I know that my life would have been very different without the experiences I had at K. Foreign study was an experience that opened my eyes to a world beyond Michigan and gave me skills and experiences that have helped me in my life beyond K. “

Ed Hortelano ’83

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James Hughes ’07

“I’m a 2007 graduate of K College, with a double major in German and Computer Science, and I received a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2013 from Dartmouth College.  I am currently a Chief Technologist at LGS Innovations in Florham Park, New Jersey, where I do algorithm development for wireless telecommunications applications.  I still go back to Germany regularly and have maintained several friendships from my time in Erlangen.”

James Hughes ’07

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Linda Harlow Cannon ’64 with granddaughter

“I graduated from K in 1964 with a major in German.  I had spent the summer after my freshman year in Bonn on a Light Scholarship–the first year there was such a thing.  That was the summer the Berlin wall was erected–just barbed wire at first. After graduation I taught German in Virginia public schools for 30 years. I was active in the AATG and had several students participate in the Congress-Bundestag Exchange Program.  It was a very satisfying career for me.”

Linda Harlow Cannon

Stuart Murch ’17, German and Psychology major and varsity swimmer

“I began in German-101 at K out of pure interest; I had no previous exposure to the language. I went on to declare a minor in German studies (which I later changed to a major), and studied abroad in Erlangen for six months. To be able to go from a complete beginner to living in Germany on my own in just a few short years has been a simply amazing experience. I am currently working towards completing a C1 language certification. I feel really lucky that the K plan allows the time for a double major, a long-term study abroad, be involved in civic engagement, and I was still able to participate in a varsity sport on top of that. At K I enjoyed having the flexibility to combine my love of German with my other major, Psychology. I had the opportunity to discuss the works of Freud in my German classes, as well as the chance to learn about how people acquire language in my psychology classes. When I return to the United States I hope to be able to find a career path that will continue to allow me to combine these two interests.”

Stuart Murch ’17

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Blake Peters ’96
Head of the German International School in Portland, OR. The mission of the German International School is to educate well-rounded, global citizens from Preschool through fifth grade, and develop language fluency in both English and German.

“My dedication to bilingual education dates to my days as a camper, counselor, and dean with Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota. I am continually excited and inspired by the positive effect learning another language and culture has on a child. I joined GIS in 2003 and have devoted my efforts to increasing the school’s support from the local community and the German government, improving the program, and promoting sustainability. The school has become a model for German Schools Abroad in North America and around the world. I am actively involved with the American Association of Teachers of German and have served on its Executive Council. Recently, I co-authored Gute Idee: A Handbook of Good Ideas for Teachers of German from the Waldsee German Language Village. Born in Michigan, I graduated with degrees in German, Education, and  Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College. I also earned a Master of Arts in German Languages and Literature from Ohio State University. During my undergraduate studies and later as a Fulbright Scholar, I had the opportunity to live and work throughout Germany.”

Blake Peters ’96

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Justin Lakamper ’08, majored in German and History

“In 2013 while in grad school I took part in the Internationales Parlaments-Stipendium in Berlin, offered by the Bundestag. It allows participants a chance to intern with an MdB, to take part in a bunch of cultural and political seminars, and study at any of the Unis in Berlin for a semester. All expenses are covered and there is small monthly stipend. Taking part in this program directly led to my current job at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and has given me a useful network of alumni in DC and Berlin…K students are perfect candidates for this program”

Justin Lakamper ’08

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Julia Sylor ’09

Julia Sylor ’09 was in Bonn after graduation with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (at a school in Sankt Augustin) and then stayed on to complete a dual Masters program in German and French Studies. She is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin Madison in German. She writes that “Bonn is very close to my heart”, in part because of her friendship with TA Annika Koch from Bonn. “It’s, in my unbiased opinion, one of the loveliest cities in Germany.”


Mallory Zink ’15

“I loved Kalamazoo College and took part in every opportunity offered – I graduated in 2015, double majoring in German (I took German 101 my freshman fall and was in a German class every semester after that!) and International Area Studies, with a concentration in Western Europe. I studied abroad for 364 days in Erlangen, Germany – my ICRP was at a museum and it was not my first choice for an ICRP, more like my 5th/final choice, but I ended up loving it. I also started my SIP research in Erlangen, and I received honors for my SIP “The Myth of the Zero Hour and Memory in Film”. After I graduated, I moved to Bonn, Germany for a fellowship program and interned at my second museum, the Bonn Memorial Center for Victims of the Holocaust. Now I live in Madison, Wisconsin and I’m the assistant educator at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. I give a lot of tours to 4th graders, help organize school groups and I just wrote a pre-visit guide for children on the autism spectrum. I’m also a new Public History graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where I am specializing in Museum Studies through a partnership at the Milwaukee Public Museum! I don’t get the chance to use German in my day-to-day life currently, but being a German major at K formed my career path and helped get me to where I am today. I am unbelievably glad that I took that ICRP and was able to fall in love with the museum industry and begin to dabble in collective memory – which both go hand-in-hand with public history.”

Mallory Zink ’15

If you are a graduate of our German program, please get in touch with us and share your story! We’d love to hear from you!