Our Alumni

Undergraduate Success Stories

Recounted by Alumni from the Program in French and Francophone Studies

If you have a success story to share, please let us know.

Video Alumni Spotlight:  Constance Barker

Christina Karam

B.A. French 2009, As an undergraduate, I never really pondered the benefits of foreign language study. Having fallen in love with the French language in high school, I chose to major in it at Notre Dame without a second thought as to the “practicality” of the skills I would develop. (Indeed, I must confess that to the extent that I did consider career prospects in designing my course of study, I had always thought my other major in accountancy would eventually prove to be the more “useful” one).

Danny Rosas-Alvarez

B.A. 2009, Danny Rosas graduated in 2009, and he received the Charles and Simone Parnell Award, given to a senior who has attended the Angers International Study Program and has demonstrated a high level of international awareness and social service activities participation. Danny won the award because he was, to quote Professor Julia Douthwaite, "the most involved and dynamic returnee from Angers."

Rose Lindgren

B.A. 2004, Peace Corps volunteer in Togo.  After four years learning Spanish in high school, Rose Lindgren, '04, decided to chart a different course when she arrived at Notre Dame in the Fall of 2000.

Maribel Morey

B.A. French and Spanish 2003, Back in 2003, Maribel Morey became the first student to graduate with a major in RLL (French and Spanish Literatures). With a double-major in Political Science (Political Theory), Maribel studied abroad at Sciences Po in Paris during her junior year and wrote a senior honors thesis that bridged her interest in political theory and French literature.

Christie Bodnar

B.A. Marketing, French 2002, Pi Delta Phi. M.A. French, Bryn Mawr College; J.D., Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, 2006; Currently Associate at Collins, Collins, Muir & Stewart LLP, Pasadena, CA
"Looking back, I never would have imagined that I could learn a new language or live abroad. I am so thankful that I continued to study French in college, especially since it was not a requirement for business majors. I encourage every Notre Dame student to study a language. You never know how far around the world that knowledge will take you!"

Carly Krum

B.A. 2001, M.A. 2002, Kaneb Graduate Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2002. Graduate Student Union Award for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant for 2001. Lifetime Achievement Award, South Bend's Center for the Homeless.
Currently employed by Sotheby's in New York.
"One of the reasons I chose to attend the University of Notre Dame was its strength in international studies. I began in the fall of 1997 with every intention of spending my sophomore year in Angers, France. I had studied French since seventh grade, and had come to college with the intent of becoming a French and education major, hoping to one day become a French high school teacher.
While in Angers, however, I discovered a true love for art history."

Jessica Cichalski

B.A. 2001, Langford Award for excellence in the study of French.
Center for Public Policy & Administration, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
M.A. of Public Policy and Administration, UMass 2005
"When I arrived at Notre Dame in the fall of 1997, I had never imagined that I would study French, live in Angers for a year, or leave four years later heading to Paris with a B.A. in history and French literature in hand. At the start of my first year, I did know that I wanted to spend my four years studying what I loved, what fascinated me, what challenged me."

Daren Nicholson

B.A. 1997, Currently a health care informatics consultant, with a master's degree in biomedical informatics at Oregon Health and Science University and a doctorate of medicine from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Québec.
"My knowledge of French helped me land a job with Ernst & Young in their international economic consulting group. After a few years in the work world, however, I decided to take a new career path: medicine. Fortunately, I was accepted at my top choice, McGill University in Montréal, Québec."

Elissa Bell Bayraktar

B.A. 1995, Fulbright Award, France, 1996; Ph.D. French, Princeton University
"My dissertation is on Samuel Beckett's short prose. The close reading and critical writing exemplified by my instructors at Notre Dame, along with their unwavering dedication to teaching, continue to inspire me."