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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Recent DLLC Graduates

Meet Leo Gengsong Gao (graduated in 2015)

Gengsong Gao

 

1. Describe your experience with the graduate program in DLLC.

As a Ph.D student of comparative literature over the last five years, I have benefited tremendously from the wonderful lectures and thought-provoking seminars provided by world-class professors at DLLC. No matter what academic topics I am interested in, I could find a professor to help me pursue my interest and keep my research project abreast with latest academic developments. As a Chinese teaching assistant over the last four years, I have learnt how to teach my native language for the first time in my life. DLLC offers a wide variety of courses, workshops and technological tools to develop my teaching interest and enhance my teaching skills.     

2. What did you like best about being a student in the DLLC?

The professors, staff and students in the DLLC are extremely friendly and helpful. They never failed to give crucial support at every critical moment of my learning ,teaching and job application. For instance, not only my advisors but also many other professors and graduate students I am not so familiar with offered to revise my cover letter, teaching statement, research statement and help me do mock interviews and research presentations over again and again, which is key to my success on the tough job market. I graduated with two tenure-track offers from two renowned American universities. It is hard for me to imagine that I could have achieved such a success if I had studied elsewhere.

3. What was most valuable thing you learned during your graduate work at USC?

Before coming to USC, I had been confused about what and how I was going to do my research for a long period of time. It is my graduate work at USC that enabled me to find my niche in the wide academic world and found my own theoretical framework that will guide my future research career.  

4. Tell us about your current job, what you are doing and how your degree helped you.
I will work as an assistant professor of Chinese studies at the University of Richmond. I will be teaching elementary Chinese and advanced readings in Chinese for 2015 fall semester. Teaching Chinese language classes at different levels for four years at USC has prepared me to teach my future students with eagerness and confidence.   

 

Meet David Cross

1. Describe your experience with the graduate program in DLLC.
As a full-time MAT student and graduate teaching assistant, it was good to take and teach courses in the same department with experienced professionals. Co-teaching elementary-level classes with faculty during the first year and then transitioning to an instructor of record in the second year facilitated the assumption of responsibility for an entire class. Interaction with faculty as both a student and a colleague-in-training provided a balance that prevented either aspect from being overwhelming. While my original goal was to teach high school, teaching opportunities in both high school and university classes were helpful in choosing a career path.
2. What did you like best about being a student in the DLLC?
I liked the state-of-the-art language laboratory, the opportunity to study abroad, and professors who were experts in different fields of study. The latter was particularly valuable to me as a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature where my classes included Spanish peninsular literature, Latin American literature, Comparative literature, and modern Arabic literature. Conducting and writing in-depth research in these languages was instrumental in my development as a language professional.
3. What was most valuable thing you learned during your graduate work at USC?
A degree should be viewed as a license to learn. While I gleaned valuable knowledge from professors, my greatest gain was the ability to direct my own learning. This included conducting research, analyzing and synthesizing data, determining the applicability of current theories, and evaluating both my own work and the existing body of knowledge. The development of these skills culminated during the dissertation-writing process, but it was reinforced by research papers in all of my classes.
4. Tell us about your current job, what you are doing and how your degree helped you.
I was recently promoted to Associate Professor at Charleston Southern University, where I teach Spanish language and literature and the Arabic language. Last year, I presented papers at three professional conferences, was named Junior Member at Large of the Philological Association of the Carolinas, and was appointed Editor of its journal, Postscript. During the summers, I am working towards a Master of Arts in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from Middlebury College. While Arabic and Spanish differ greatly, many methodological approaches may be successfully applied to both languages. In researching the teaching of language skills and the ever-present challenge of Arabic diglossia, I am pleased by how much the concepts learned in both my MAT and Ph.D. facilitate my comprehension of scholarly texts in Arabic.


Meet Kristina Stefanic-Brown

1.Describe your experience with the graduate program in DLLC
Having completed both my M.A. in German and Ph. D. in Comparative Literature, I spent 6 years learning from amazing scholars and incredible educators in DLLC. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the department, each student is able to tailor a very unique program of study, which sets him/her apart once they enter the job market.
2. What did you like best about being a student in the DLLC?
Most of my classes were rather small, which meant that there has always been a close bond between professors and students. Since my arrival at USC, I have experienced continuous and selfless support from all the faculty members, whose classes I attended. The dedication and expertise of all my professors has been a determining factor in continuing my studies at USC after graduating from the M.A. program in German.
3. What was most valuable thing you learned during your graduate work at USC?
Ever since my first year as a graduate student at USC, I was given opportunity to teach courses in German and Comparative Literature. The teaching experience at DLLC has been central to my decision to pursue a teaching career at the university level. I feel that the DLLC faculty has encouraged me to work on both my research agenda and teaching.
4. Tell us about your current job, what you are doing and how your degree helped you.
I am very fortunate to teach German and Italian at DLLC, where I have started my graduate studies and learned everything about teaching at the tertiary level. I would not be the teacher that I am now, had it not been for the learning and teaching experience that I gained during my years as a graduate student at DLLC.