Department of Modern Languages

The University of Mississippi

Alumni

Arabic

Photo by Robert Jordan

Corey Fuller
B.A. in Arabic, minor in Military Science, 2016
Home Town: Pinson, AL

“My interest in Arabic began as a child with my father traveling to the Middle East. I became intrigued with that part of the world due to the mystery surrounding the Middle East from our Western cultural filters. I applied to UM because it offered more resources to accomplish my goals.”

Corey received scholarships to study abroad in Amman, Jordan, including a prestigious Boren Scholarship from the US State Department. He helped plan and execute two Rebel Charge exercises that allowed ROTC, Arabic, and journalism students to use Arabic in a simulation under high-stress conditions.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army, Corey recognized the importance of Arabic and his cultural knowledge. “It is my job to be the most prepared I can be. In order to accomplish that, I must be culturally competent and able to effectively communicate and operate in complex environments.”

Since graduation, Corey has served as a platoon leader and an installation response force commander. He is currently an operations officer and a graduate student in geographic information systems at Pennsylvania State University. He continues to work on his language skills, earning qualifying scores in Modern Standard Arabic, Levantine, Egyptian, and Iraqi dialects while in service, and hopes to eventually work in the security/defense industry in the Middle East full-time.

Chinese

Photo by Robert Jordan

Anthony Yuen
B.A. International Studies and Chinese, 2008
Home Town: Hattiesburg, MS

Drawn to the Chinese Language Flagship Program, the Croft Institute of International Studies, and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Anthony found at UM a unique opportunity to pursue multiple intellectual passions.

With the support of the Chinese Language Flagship Program, Anthony spent a year and a half in China honing his proficiency in Mandarin and developing an expertise in China’s political, economic, and social issues. He spent his capstone year taking graduate-level coursework in foreign policy and politics – taught completely in Chinese – at Nanjing University and interned with a Chinese intellectual property law firm in Shanghai.

His experiences in China and his Mandarin proficiency not only helped differentiate Anthony as an applicant for both graduate studies and employment opportunities, but also formed the foundation for his career. After graduation, he moved to Thailand to study Thai, volunteer, and teach English. He later earned a MA in international affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. After an internship with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s East Asia Office and a year with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Anthony joined PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Washington, D.C.-based Global Intelligence, Anti-Corruption and Strategic Threat Management practice group. At PwC, Anthony led a China and East Asia-focused research and investigative team and helped establish similar teams throughout Asia. Drawing from his experiences consulting for global companies and government agencies, Anthony joined the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s malaria elimination financing team for Southern Africa in 2018.

French

Photo by Harry Briscoe

Christine Day
B.A. in French and International Studies, 2006
Home Town – Germantown, TN

“I started learning French in high school because I loved the language/history and had a great teacher from France who really inspired me to learn.”

Christine studied abroad in Montpellier, France, and wrote a senior thesis on the topic of how many French were against further integration in the European Union in the early 90s.

“Ironically the French are now a leader in the EU but a lot of the reasons the French were against further integration in the European Union are relevant for why the UK is currently trying to exit the EU. So one could argue the lessons from the past have not been fully appreciated!”

Christine’s path since graduation has included International Marketing Assistant for Pfizer European Marketing in Paris, France; Global Account Director TBWA\WorldHealth for TBWA International Communications in Paris, France; Strategic Business Development Manager for TRM-Oncology in Paris, France; Senior Director, Global Educational Services for prIME Oncology Medical Educational Services in The Hague, Netherlands. She is currently the Director of Medical Education Oncology/Hematology for WEBMD- London, UK.

German

Photo by Laura Morton

Deeneaus Polk
B.A. in German and International Studies, 2011
Home Town: Pascagoula, MS

“I did not want to take German at all. In high school, everyone considered German to be a difficult and ‘ugly’ language. I believed them and tried to enroll in Spanish or French classes. They were full, so I was forced to take German. I’m eternally thankful for that. I was selected as a Congress-Bundestag Scholar and spent my junior year abroad. I fell in love with Germany.”

Dee started college at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, weeks before Hurricane Katrina. He learned what it meant to serve others and gained such honors as Coca-Cola Scholar, Institute for International Public Policy Fellow, Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, and was elected International Vice-President of Phi Theta Kappa. After he transferred to UM, Dee joined the Men’s Glee, became a Croft Scholar with the Croft Institute for International Studies, and a Roosevelt Fellow with the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He studied abroad in Mainz, Germany.

After graduation he taught English in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. “I came back to make an impact in Mississippi. I eventually became a policy analyst at the Mississippi Economic Policy Center. I then applied to the German Chancellor Fellowship program to research German workforce and vocational educational systems. I’m currently the Director of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program.”

Linguistics

Trey McCain
B.A. in Linguistics, 2010; M.A. in French, 2012
Home Town: Amory, MS

“My interest in linguistics began as an accident. I always had an interest in languages, but couldn’t decide on just one. I intended to learn Arabic and work for the State Department, but after travelling abroad, decided that wasn’t the job for me. Linguistics seemed a good option because it would equip me to learn whatever language was in front of me. It has done that, but it’s so much more. I learned not only the structure but the function of language – hint: it’s more than just communication. My favorite courses were generally tied to sociolinguistics, where we looked at why and how a language changes within different contexts. That differed greatly from my initial conception of linguistics, but I found something all the more valuable for it.”

A transfer student from Northeast Mississippi Community College, Trey took Introduction to Linguistic Science, Forensic Linguistics, Intro to Chinese, and Intro to French in his first semester at UM. Ultimately he decided on French, even staying to complete a master’s in French. Trey’s interests drew him out into the community in different ways. Linguistics courses involved interviewing people or recording conversations. He was involved in the Oxford Community Garden, Campus for Clean Energy, and a founding leader of the North Central chapter of the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi.

Since leaving Oxford, Trey has worked with an environmental non-profit and done freelance media work. He currently lived in Wales where linguistics helped him learn Welsh and serve as an advocate for minority language speakers in Europe.

Spanish

Wilson Helmhout
B.A. in Spanish, minor in Neuroscience, 2016

“Studying poetry in AP Spanish in high school made me fall in love with the language, and then my first trip to Argentina my senior year made me fall in love with the culture. I wanted to pursue my medical degree, and you can major in anything and go to medical school. So, I chose a subject about which I was passionate. Communication is a critical skill for physicians, and my Spanish will allow me to serve a larger, and more diverse patient population.”

While working on her neuroscience minor, Wilson joined the biology lab of Dr. Lainy Day where her research became an honors thesis and conference presentations. She participated in a medical mission trip to Bolivia where her Spanish helped with community health screenings and shadowing local physicians. To explore her interest in public health, Wilson was a summer researcher with a Center for Population Studies project on improving birth outcomes in the Delta. For an internship in Clarksdale she compiled and presented community profiles to local leaders and nonprofit organizers. As a member of Delta Gamma fraternity, Wilson was an academic tutor and community volunteer.

During her first year of medical school at UM Medical Center in Jackson, Wilson noticed a need for Spanish speaking health care providers. She became involved with the Spanish Club at UMMC and interacted with patients in Spanish at community health screenings. She is looking into becoming a certified medical translator soon.