Alumni

1990s




Christophe Boucher (2000-06-02)

Chris answered back in June 2000, with a long letter, but then we lost contact until finally-with the help of the graduate secretary of the History Dept-I caught up with him in South Carolina. Chris and Toni left KU when he completed his course work for the doctorate in History and went to Wyoming with their two children. Toni worked for the Northern Arapaho tribe and Chris worked part time teaching at an alternative high school while completing his dissertation. He received his PhD in History from KU in July 2001 and is currently an Asst Prof (t-t position) at the College of Charleston. Still maintains the standards he learned with us-and receives complaints from students accordingly! I won't repeat all of his comments in the "Memories of the department" section for fear of getting a very large head (but it will go in the general history of French studies, regarding teaching styles-thanks, Chris), but here are some: "I have also great memories of French 114 [Intensive Elementary French, first two semesters in one 10hr per semester course]. I am still amazed at the speed at which the students learnt. I was co-teaching in the Spring of 1990 with Megan Cassidy, and our students were not only bright but super fun. I still remember the name of some of these after so many years (Beverly Hatfield, Jim Kellogg,...). At the end of the semester, they put a little show in French for us. One of them even imitated me teaching. He had the same hair cut, the same outfit, the same gestures. I left the room telling myself that the pull débardeur had to go and I had to stop walking as if I was wearing a pair of babouches." Chris was an assistant, with Shelley Steele, for the 1992 SLI and remembers watching the students struggle with cultural diversity. "I remember that a student came to me one day being extremely frustrated by the fact that people kept bumping into him on the streets. He was amazed at the lack of order in the crowd. 'Why don't people going in one direction walk on the left side and the others on the right side?' I told him that there was an order but he had to discover it: after all, when I walk on a French street, I do not bump into anyone. After a week or so, he told me he had learned how things worked: little people make way for bigger ones. He added that since he was big he should walk straight and let other people deal with his presence. [worked]"


Jeff Cryder (2000-05-03)

Jeff was a participant, as a GTA/lecteur, in the Besançon exchange, in 1989-90. He is now selling wine in Connecticut for an importer and wholesaler, and speaks French daily as he sells to several French restaurants and French store owners. He went to France on business in 1997, staying in Avignon and near Corbières [one of my favorite wines, by the way]. He married in 1995 and has a son, born in 1998. When he wrote in May of 2000, he was hoping to get back to France with his wife and son the following fall. [Jeff, are you ready to send us a "Spectator" column for a future newsletter, assuming this one ever gets out?!]


Rani Cunningham Self (2000-04-30)

Rani married Robert Self in 1996. When she wrote in April, 2000, there were no children to report, but two cats. She'd been working as a costumer on films and TV shows, including THE PRACTICE. She regrets that her French has slipped away.


Nikki Deis Wooten (04-01-00)

Nikki spent the 1992-93 school year in Gaillard and Annemasse, France, and Geneva, Switzerland. She was married in 1998 and at the time of her response was working at American Century Investments in KC, MO, where she has had the opportunity to use her French a few times.


Kelly Hagan (2000-10-26)

Kelly wrote a card, apologizing for not using the survey form. She taught HS French for two years, then entered Yale Divinity School and was due to to complete her degree in May (2001?); she was married in August of 2000.


Tamie (St. John) Harvey (2000-04-28)

Tamie wrote: "Life past the MA is much the same as when I was studying-busy and full of kids." At that point her third child was just about 9 months old, and Tamie had been offered a part-time job teaching French at a nearby high school, but she declined in order to devote more time to teaching her own children. An au pair helped in that project. However, she did expect to return to formal teaching at some time.


Kurt Jacobson

We don't have a response from Kurt, but I'm including his name in hopes someone will be able to help us track him down. Roby, the SLI chauffeur, asked me for his address in early January 2000 and we obtained the home (contact) address from SLI files, but never elicited a reply from him or relatives. Can anyone help us?


Angélique J. Kelly (2000-04-09)

After leaving KU, Angélique earned an MBA in Human Resources Management at UMKC (May 96), and when she wrote she was the Regional Human Resources Manager in Chicago. Regretted that she had no specific memories to share, but wanted to point out that her "French studies were wonderful and everyone in the department was GREAT."


Douglas H. Lerner (2000-05-15)

Immediately after graduation, Doug returned to France to work in the Champagne region, doing an internship in hotel/restaurant management. Then, for over 3 years, he was a volunteer Youth Group leader, taking a group to Israel for educational/outdoor programs and (when he wrote) about to take a group to London and Paris as well as Israel. He was planning to return to school in the fall of 2000. His KU memories were brief but well-put: "Mme Anderson, phonetics; Mme Jewers, literature-best two teachers I had in my 4 years at KU." Another superlative for his year in Besançon, the "best of [my] life." Still keeps in touch with those who helped make it such an incredible experience.


Mireille Machefert (2000-04-10)

Mireille was job-hunting as she wrote (completing her graduate degree in May 2000) and, rather than reminisce about recent studies, she offered some advice to future job-hunters in academia; some excerpts: "The job search is a very slow process, and it can be very frustrating at times. Please don't get discouraged!...The frustrating part [of one interview that did not lead to an offer] was that the trip was at my own expense: do not hesitate to negotiate...I subscribed to the Chronicle of Higher Education and to National Ads. At Borders, I consult the newspapers of the most important cities." Thanks, Mireille, and I hope you found a suitable job. Let us know.


Joshua G. Miller (2000-04-08)

Joshua completed his BA with a major in French in 1996. He did not give us any recent info when he wrote, but over two years have passed: next time, Joshua?


Laura Million (2000-04-10)

After leaving Lawrence, Laura worked as an au pair in Lyon for a year, then moved to San Francisco where, in 2000, she was working as an Associate Research Editor at an international investment research company. A major in both French and Spanish, she singles out the Bastille Day parties at the Johnsons as a highlight of her time here. And then there was the exchange in Besançon in 1993: "I remember being pick-pocketed in Paris on my 2nd day in France...Mr. Marciano [he was the director-liaison person for a number of years] buying me the best choux pastry I'd ever had...our group picnic and trip to the wineries with M. Couchon (Spelling?)-his voice BLASTING over the tour bus speakers."


Hilary Mogue (2000-04-01)

Hilary worked for two years in marketing communications after graduation, then started law school at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Danielle D. Monty-Mara (2000-03-31)

Danielle's mother (or sister?) replied for Danielle because, when our questionnaire arrived at her family address, she was in Touqué, Guinea, teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her tour of duty was to be completed in June 2000 and she was to return to Kansas at that time. Her mother requested that we send a follow-up questionnaire; the records say we had no reply to that. Danielle married Edmond Mara, a native of Guinea, in September 1999. If we can make contact again before the newsletter is published, I'll add more recent info, plus her comments for "memory lane." She was on the Besançon exchange in 1996, so-going by other replies-I'm sure she has some anecdotes to pass on.


Colleen Nagel Erba

No information available.


Bisola Ojikutu (2000-05-22)

Bisola went from KU to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and was due to receive his MA in Law and Diplomacy in 2001. He had a US Dept of State Graduate Foreign Affairs fellowship in 1999 and was to serve as a summer intern in 2000 for the Dept of State as the desk officer for Belgium. He was expecting to serve after graduation as a US Foreign Service Officer. He wrote: "All memories include Dr. Caroline Jewers. Her courses and her style of teaching prepared me for future courses at KU, abroad and in graduate school."


Catherine Regnier

No information available.


Sophie Renoult (2003-01-11)

Sophie's response came just in time, even though-as is true with some others-we've been in fairly regular contact since she left KU. After completing her MA in 1995, she went to Arizona and has been there ever since (but will be leaving at the end of this academic year: see below), teaching at various schools. "I love the Southwest; it is great. The weather is wonderful and the landscape beautiful. I am also so close to Mexico that I feel immersed in a very exotic area. Her memories of KU are strongest about teaching, and I guess I have to quote: "Yes, I dealt with DAD! [then some nice things, all untrue, about me]...I did the SLI in France with him. What an experience. Actually, that led me now to take my own students abroad...I remember so well the first few days when we went to Deauville in Normandy [and I remember when Sophie's parents drove to Rouen to be with the group for dinner: a great couple and it was wonderful for the students]. I was leading the students to the seaside, and I got a little carried away [more than a little!], and we enjoyed playing in the water for too long. We were late for the bus! DAD was waiting for us! Imagine DAD having to wait for us? So, he played the grumpy man but said nothing. I felt relieved! [In fact, it was the driver Roby Strotz who made sure we waited for that group; me, I would have left....!] I also remember the emotional DAD at the visit of the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach." Re: her studies, she particularly mentioned Tom Booker, his teaching and his sense of humor, "especially on my 29th birthday: I will not say more, but people who were in our class that day will probably remember..." Fellow students that she mentioned were Murielle Rubègue, Caroline De Langhe, Alain-Philippe Durand. Her last word: "I am getting married this summer [2003]; I will be Sophie Costa, or Renoult-Costa, or Costa-Renoult."


Murielle Rubegue (2000-04-21)

Murielle earned her MA here in 1995 and left for Washington University to start the doctoral program. She taught there, as she had here, as a GTA until 1998, then taught French and Spanish in Lindbergh High School part-time. In 2000, she was in Chicago with her boy friend and looking for a teaching job in private independent high schools in that area. Murielle remembers most her first encounter with American professors and the orientation in August 1993. She was impressed by the international dimension of the student body in our department.


Heidi Schomacher-Gault (1999-12-28)

Heidi's was one of the first responses, but I am typing the summary on almost the last day of trying to complete this task (I started typing 90s replies last for various reasons, not just chronology). She did both her undergraduate work (French and Education) and MA work at KU, and was a participant in the SLI in 1993, a graduate assistant/chaperone on the SLI of 1997 when she also had a Kenneth Cornell summer scholarship. Since leaving Lawrence in 1997, Heidi and her husband Will have been living in Tulsa (but "we ain't no Okies"). They both work for an oil/gas communications company, so Heidi also teaches classes at the community college and takes an occasional class at the university to keep up her French and Spanish. They have traveled extensively in the US and she took a small group of high school students to France and Belgium, summer 1999, "something I only recommend to those eager to be diagnosed with mild schizophrenia." On that trip, while walking in the Latin Quarter, she ran into two other former GTAs, Sara Maline and Anne Liesse (and she could not remember the last name [and neither can I, although I still can "see" her-Sara, tell us, please, and tell us how to contact her]. Heidi's one-word memory of the department will touch many who knew her: "Hélène." As for SLI memories, she had many (and claims to have more that she did not think she should forward...). [ Thanks, by the way, Heidi, for providing details and names-that will help me immensely as I work on the history project, since so many files are missing.] The 1993 program had two cases of appendicitis, surely a record. Her favorite visit during the tour portion was Mont St Michel, especially the evening visit to the abbey, "which was lit only by candles and special lights that cast unusual shadows on the walls-and there were sound effects and chanting-and I remember feeling spooked and uneasy, but in a thrilling kind of way." And finally, "A personal note-Will was a student on the 1993 SLI trip, and we had been dating for three years at that time. It was at the end of our summer in Paris that he proposed to me. He even had brought the ring."


Melissa T. Scolaro (2000-04-26)

Melissa updated her info upon receiving my "e-mail address check/test), Dec 2002. She is now in St Louis, nearer her husband's family, after several years in Southern Illinois teaching English, then 4 years of teaching French and English in Savannah (took students to Paris and Normandy in 2000). In St Louis she's been "dabbling in social work," but would like to return to teaching despite a very interesting and challenging job as a field interviewer for a longitudinal study of Vietnam veterans. Has been remodeling a 70-year old home, keeps in touch with Julia Van Walleghem, here in Lawrence. [Yes, Melissa, next time you are in town, please call me to have coffee-and that goes for all alums who get back to Lawrence once in a while. What we really need is a reunion: much better to do it by departments than university-wide.] Melissa sent good memories of her times in Besançon (1990-91 and 1994-95), along with a photo.


Ron Scrougham (2000-04-18)

After earning his MA here in 1997, Ron went to ESU for an MLS, and then started a doctoral program there in library and information management. When he wrote in 2000, he was on leave from that program and living/working in Prairie Village, while deciding what to do next. He was one of a number of people who replied that offered to help with this project; I should have taken him up on it-perhaps you all would have received it earlier!. Ron particularly wanted to mention Hélène Germain Simoes: he was greatly saddened to hear of her passing. He feels he owes much of his success in the department to her encouragement and instruction in the expository writing class.


John Sopinski (2001-01-11)

John was originally a minor in French, working on a BFA in Design and he has since gone back to his first love (after finding another love while teaching here-he and his wife, Stefania, honeymooned in Italy while she was an assistant on our SLI), design. He is in the graphics department of the KC Star and won a Missouri Press Association award for best informational graphics. He attributes much of his success in his career "to the thousands of hours spent studying literature, teaching, correcting papers, working with students, colleagues, parents and administrators. We deal with so many different kinds of information and so much minutiae that my background has given me a distinct advantage over other informational graphic artists. It has allowed me to marry my love for words, languages and information with my artistic abilities." Before returning to KC and the design job, he taught high school in West Palm Beach, Florida-a good year in many ways, but the classes were overcrowded and the facilities were poor. Burned out, he was ready to consider another job. A cycling enthusiast, John is a great fan of Lance Armstrong and reminds us: "For the record, the $373,000 [that Lance won] is paid to the USCF which then distributes it to the team members and soigneurs. Keeping with tradition, Lance doesn't take a centime and in fact kicked in $40,000 a piece to his teammates out of his own money." John wrote a long answer, supplying me with lots of information for the history of the department: thank you, John.


Karen Stansfier (2000-04-14)

Karen's BA was in Poli Sci and her MA in Art History, but she was also a GTA in French in 1995 and was a participant in the SLI in 1989 and had the direct exchange position in Clermont-Ferrand in 1992-93. Her French has been a very important part of her life, since she met Jean-Yves Sabot, now her husband (since 1996), in C-F in 1992-93. They live in Denver and are both active in the French community there; Jean-Yves is on the board of the Alliance Française and they have enjoyed meeting such people as Julien Clerc and Lucien Clergue. Karen has done much volunteer work and also had a bilingual position in a gold mining company until her first child was born in 1999. Karen's notes on the Bicentennial year on the SLI include a great description of July 13th and 14th, as well as details about the dorm, which will be very helpful for the history project.


Michael K. Thompson (2000-04-20)

Michael first worked as liaison between US and French offices of T.D. Williamson, then started his own company, an oil and gas exploration company with offices in US, United Kingdom, and Myanmar. He has continued to travel extensively and his French has been handy as a mutual language with business partners and with his Québecoise significant other. His one comment in the "memories" section is worth repeating: "Please pass along my regards to Prof R. Anderson! I still keep a graded paper as inspiration-I did poorly and he let me know about it!" [It's always good to know students appreciate appropriate criticism, if not necessarily at the time it is given.]


Daphne Veys (2001-11-18)

Daphne e-mailed me requesting info on the euro and exchanging French Francs, and brought me up to date on her activities since leaving KU. She is an ex-SLI participant who left KU after the Fall 1995 semester but has kept great memories of the SLI trip


Douglas H. Werner

No information available.


Isabella Zane (2000-05-21)

After completing her BA in 1996 (overcoming the obstacle of being overseas much of the time), Isabella and her husband settled in London. She wrote: "I am now a busy, full-time mother of three. We often drive down to France. Among my favorites: a trip to Illiers-Combray in 1998 and our yearly summer vacation in the Loire Valley (at Amboise).


Giving

Statement on Concealed Carry

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44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
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