Photos and Statements from Previous French Students

Alumni Speak

Stephan Vigier

 2010 - 2014

headshot of Stephan Vigier in his hockey uniform

I currently play professional hockey in Lillehammer, Norway, a former Olympic city.  Many World Cup, World Championship, and winter sports events are still held here, with visitors from all over the world.  Because of my study with Dr. Kupper in the French Program at NMU, I don’t shy away from saying hi and starting conversation when I meet people speaking French, such as for example, professional athletes like skiers from France and snowboarders from Quebec.  I also find myself using French more with family and friends when I return home. (more)

Amber Shumard

 2006 - 2010

Photo of Alumni Amber Shumard


In business, it’s all about relationship building, and speaking with partners in their native language creates a stronger business relationship. It shows you have taken the time to learn their language and they greatly appreciate it, allowing you to connect on a higher level. (more)

Kaitlin McDonald

Fall 2009 - May 2012

Kaitlin in Senegal with the Peace Corps

I cannot express how valuable having a background in French was to my work.  French is used in many international organizations and is taught all over the world.  I served in the Peace Corps Senegal, September 2012 to November 2014 as an Agroforestry volunteer in rural Senegal, West Africa. (more)

Karl Mercer III

August 2005 - May 2009

French Student

I am so thankful I studied French at NMU because it has been essential to my personal success and professional achievement. For me, French opened the door to the vast and vibrant Francophone culture that can be found throughout the world. (more)

Sidney R. Arnold

August 2005 - May 2009



Learning French has benefitted me in my career plans as an attorney, making me more marketable in my field.  After graduating from NMU, I went to law school in Indianapolis, IN, and passed the bar exam this past fall.  I am now a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois. (more)

Kasie Alt 

August 2004 - May 2009



French has been entirely fundamental in my career plans.  For the language skills themselves, which have proven to be absolutely necessary, but even more importantly because my experience through the French Program at NMU gave me the opportunity to discover my true passion. (more)

Monica Michele Lambert

August 2006-May 2010



I have been assigned to a Sub-Saharan Africa Peace Corps post because of my French education at NMU. I am embarking on a journey to Madagascar in March 2013, where I will be serving for two years as a Rural Environmental Food Security Advisor with the Peace Corps. French is their second official language next to Malagasy. 


Barbara Kathryn Thelen   

August 2000-May 2005

barb thelen



I found that my marketability in international business has been directly affected by my ability to communicate in French, which played a large role in my being hired into the internal audit department at TRW Automotive, an international company. If I did not speak French I would not have this job. This company simply does not hire people who speak only one language.



Alex Johnson-Buck

  August 2003 - May 2007

  alex buck              

My experience in a French-speaking area during or after my studies at NMU is limited to a 2004 course, FR 438 Cultural and Artistic Heritage of Europe with its trip to the Netherlands, Belgium and France. However, my wife, Lauren (who also participated in the FR438 course) and I hope to visit France (and possibly Belgium) again, perhaps after graduate school.

Leanna Ketola

August 2001-May 2006


While attending NMU and pursuing my French degree, I participated in FR 438, Cultural and Artistic Heritage of Europe, the study abroad course going to Amsterdam, Belgium, and France. During this trip I was able to actively expand and directly utilize my French-speaking skills and learn about different cultures.

Johanna Boyle

Fall 2003-Spring 2008

johanna boyle

I knew I had to study abroad to prepare me for the rest of life, which sounds kind of corny, but is true when I think about the level of confidence in myself I gained by living in France. But having made that decision, using French never became a critical part of my career. 


Andrea Jovanovic

August 2003-December 2007

andrea jovanovic

I count my decision to continue studying French in college as one of my most farsighted when I think of all the opportunities I would not have had without it. One of these greatest opportunities was the time I spent studying abroad in Grenoble, France. 




Layla Khoury-Hanold

August 2000-May 2004

layla hanold

French was a key to pursuing my dreams and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without it. French has always held a special place in my heart having lived in Paris when I was very young.



Journey (Steward) Schall

August 2001-May 2006

journey schall




Foremost, knowing French helped me get into graduate school at Northern Illinois University as I already have completed one of the requirements for my degree, and it reflected well that I am traveled, and that I have the skills necessary to learn a language.

Jill E. Grundstrom

August 2000-May 2005

Jill Grundstrom

The French language has indirectly been in my life since I turned two-years-old through the study of ballet.  This was the reason I chose to study French over Spanish or German when it came time to pick a language in high school.  I studied French for four years at NMU and traveled with Dr. Kupper on the FR 438 summer course entitled Cultural and Artistic Heritage of Europe.