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Department of Modern Languages
The University of Mississippi

Modern Languages Student Ambassadors

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Mikayla Jordan

Picture of Mikayla Jordan.

Mikayla Jordan

A student at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Mikayla is a double major in German and history as well as earning a degree in social studies education from the School of Education. She has immersed herself in the German language and in campus life at UM, reviving and leading the German club and studying in Berlin. Under her leadership, the club bought a tent for the Grove so they could tailgate as a group and then cheer on the UM football team (in both English and German)!

Why did you decide to study German?
I lived in Germany for four years when I was little, and I fell in love with the culture. I had always wanted to learn the language and saw college as my opportunity to get started on that goal. It is a beautiful thing to be able to engage with someone in their native language, and it gets us one step closer to a more united world.

Why should someone decide to study your major at the University of Mississippi?
The German program here is great. Class sizes are growing because of increased interest in the language, but they are still small enough that it feels like a safe space to practice and make mistakes. All of the professors are super encouraging and go the extra mile to help you find professional opportunities to use your German. We also have a great German Club that offers a weekly coffee hour (Kaffeestunde) to practice speaking as well as a biweekly movie night (Filmabend) to practice listening skills.

Career goals?
I would love to teach German at the high school level. I am in a dual degree program with the School of Education, so I will be certified to teach 7-12th grade social studies. Any opportunity to spread my love for German and History to the next generation would be my dream job.

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
When I was a freshman, I was asked to be president of the German Club. At this point the club functioned completely separate from the department. I recognized that we would need the support of German professors if we wanted to thrive as an organization. I asked my professors to offer extra credit incentives for students to attend meetings, and I refreshed our social media pages with a logo that I designed. Junior year the department hired a new professor to serve as our faculty advisor. I worked closely with him to establish consistent opportunities for engagement and to create an updated constitution to guide future officers.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
Every German professor I’ve worked with with has encouraged me to speak more confidently. This has helped me tremendously with my public speaking skills even in English as I am now able to feel incredibly confident at the front of a classroom during my student teaching experience.

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?
During my freshman year, I spent a month studying in Berlin. My roommate and I had only met each other once before living together as foreign students. We bonded over the experience and took full advantage of the opportunity to explore the historic city. Now we share an apartment in Oxford, and she is one of my best friends. Some of my favorite memories are about our walks through the Tiergarten and coffee breaks at the cafe underneath our school (right down the road from Checkpoint Charlie).

What are you binge watching?
I am currently watching Lucifer, Glee, and Gilmore Girls (for the fifth time–and in German!)

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
I love the Fiesta at El Agave, the pork drunken noodles at Aloha Thai, and a chicken quesadilla tray with double Cajun fries and a cheer wine float from Cookout.

What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM?
I enjoy being on campus and going for walks on campus in the early evening when the sun has just gone down. I also try to serve the community whenever I can. Last year I was a UM College Corps member, working with local preschoolers 12+ hours a week. We would read and talk and play games that helped them discover the world around them as well as identify their own emotions. This kind of learning is important to give them a jump start at being successful students.

Lilly Fritz

Picture of Lilly Fritz.

Lilly Fritz

Lilly is an aspiring businesswoman with hopes to work in a multinational company. She loves France and the French language and has combined that passion with her interest in international studies, as a student at the Croft Institute.

 

Why did you decide to study International Studies and French?
I decided on International Studies and French after studying French since I was 8 years old. I had already developed a love for the language and culture and knew it was something I would want to use for the rest of my life.

Why study at the University of Mississippi?
Ole Miss has one of the best International Studies programs, the Croft Institute. It made me feel included from the time I applied. The University of Mississippi quickly became my home away from home.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
I spent four hours working with the professor of my African Studies class on one paper over the course of a week, and he made me feel like I was a good writer and helped me find my voice in academic papers.

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
This past summer I worked as a Croft mentor to help the incoming freshman feel included in the Croft family and I was able to help them learn more about the amazingness that is Ole Miss.

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?
My most memorable trip was to France to study abroad. There were many mini-trips within that trip that made it one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

What are your career goals?
I want to be the COO of a multinational company! Dream big or else don’t dream at all.

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
Turkey burger and fries from Mugshots!

What are you binge watching?
Chopped. I have a newfound passion for cooking.

Miller Greene

Miller Green

Miller Greene

Miller is a world traveler with a deep love for his state. In Mississippi, he has worked for Habitat for Humanity, and he loves a good Southern meal at a “meat-and-three restaurant.” Yet, he’s also interested in world affairs, and has traveled and studied in the Middle East, relishing the beautify of the landscape and the people. In his time at UM, he has becoming linguistically and culturally fluent. He hopes to use his experience and education to “make an impact on the local, national, and global levels.” He is well on his way. Miller is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors, has won the Society Arabic Honors Award for the University of Mississippi, and is on the Chancellor’s List.

Why should study Arabic and International Studies at the University of Mississippi?
During the college application process, I had resigned myself to attending school far away from my hometown if I wanted to specialize in international studies or foreign languages. When I learned that the University of Mississippi had a strong Modern Languages department and an impressive International Studies program, it seemed like the perfect fit! Only here am I able to research the Middle East, learn a critical language, and develop research skills while still being able to remain connected to Mississippi.

Career goals?
After graduation, I hope to work at an embassy or other government department abroad. I love Arabic culture, music, and cuisine, and I hope that with this cultural knowledge I can provide some societal context for complex geopolitical conflicts.

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
Through both the Arabic Language Flagship Program and the Croft Institute I have been able to tutor students and give them general life advice. College is an exciting time full of possibilities, but I know that it can be confusing and overwhelming. I hope that I am able to give some younger students advice that I wish someone would have given me.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
Dr. Charles Joukhadar has been a great resource throughout the language learning process. He is extremely knowledgeable about Arabic grammar and syntax, and I learned so much about the region and the language through his media classes. He is also personable and kind, creating a great environment for learning.

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?  Please provide a little specific detail or example to showcase that experience.
I studied abroad in Amman, Jordan the summer of 2019. It was an incredible experience that greatly improved my Arabic skills as well as my life skills. We were able to visit so many historical sites that I had only seen on postcards. Petra was absolutely incredible, and our weekend trip to Jerusalem was one of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life.

What are you binge watching?
The Great British Baking Show! I had watched a few seasons before, but now I am fully committed. It is a very soothing experience when the outside world is so hectic.

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
Ajax Diner is my go-to when I need some Southern food.

 What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits?
I spend time at Lamar Park and the running trails at least once a day. It gives me a chance to exercise, talk with friends, or just be alone. At home I like to experiment in the kitchen (often unsuccessfully) and tend to my “garden.” It’s really just a mint plant and some herbs.

Sarah Smith

Sara Smith

Sarah Smith

Now fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Sarah enrolled in the Chinese Flagship Program with no previous background in Chinese. At UM, she has the flexibility to tailor her education to meet her career goals: majors in Chinese and business management (with an international business emphasis) and minor in manufacturing. As a campus Global Ambassador, she helps acclimate international students to UM campus life. Sarah is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the national honors and service society Gamma Beta Phi Society, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Why did you decide to study Chinese?
I decided to study Chinese because I love studying history, and China has an expansive and deep history. I also am studying business management, and knowing Chinese culture and linguistics is becoming very important in a global economy, so pairing Mandarin Chinese with this major gives me so many opportunities to connect with people on personal and professional levels.

Why should someone decide to study Chinese at the University of Mississippi?
By studying Mandarin Chinese, you can connect and understand so many unique cultures, travel to stunning places like Taipei and Harbin, China, and gain a close-knit friendship with your peers in Chinese class.

Career goals?
After graduating, I will apply to the capstone program in China in order to study and intern there for a year. After that, I want to become an international business manager possibly in the fields of supply chain management and international relations.

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
After becoming the President of International & American Student Alliance, I became empowered to help serve the international community at the University of Mississippi. Since I have also studied abroad, I can empathize, help students adapt to our culture and gain life-long friendships.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
All of my Chinese professors supported and encouraged me so much! When enrolling into the Chinese Language Flagship Program, I never learned another language before, so having all of the professors go to such lengths for me (like having supplementary tutoring daily and being easily accessible) is truly what made my language learning successful.

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?
The summer after freshman year, I went to Taiwan to study abroad with the Chinese Language Flagship Program. I loved the experience because I not only improved my Chinese but also met so many new people and ate so much traditional food. I remember going to the night markets in various cities and seeing how friendly and open everyone was.

What are you binge watching?
I just finished binge watching Cobra Kai!

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
Taco Shop is definitely my go-to meal here in Oxford.

What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM?
I love singing, dancing, walking trails and attempting to relearn how to play the piano.

Chandler Douglas

Chandler Douglas

Chandler Douglas

Chandler was inducted into the nation’s oldest honors society, Phi Kappa Phi, last spring. He has been a member of the Model United Nations and currently is part of a new linguistics club in the Department of Modern Languages. A member of Ole Miss’s Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship since September of 2018.

 

Why did you decide to study linguistics?
I’ve always been fascinated by languages, their different features, and why they don’t always translate word-for-word. As a child I tried in vain to create my own language, before settling with just studying the existing ones.

Why should someone study linguistics at the University of Mississippi?
Linguistics is a major that provides answers for how we use language. The amounts of societal influence relative to our innate ability to learn languages manifest differently in everyone. Where you stand on certain linguistic debates can open a gate to lots of interesting research.

Career goals?
I’m not too decided on anything yet, but I think being a translator or a forensic linguist would be quite interesting!

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
During my junior year, I partook in MPartner’s 2019 Community Day. I was in the group that drove to Lexington, MS, to improve the landscaping of areas surrounding the library and courthouse. Although I wasn’t in charge, I felt immensely empowered to be able to help such deserving community in even a small way.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, I had formed the habit of shaking my professors’ hands at the end of each semester to adequately thank them for their role in my education. It elicited numerous positive responses, although my favorite was something along the lines of “It’s crazy that despite how nice you are, you don’t seem to be walked over.”

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?
As a part of a world music history course I took as an elective, we visited the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS. Touring the museum was essential to my understanding of both the significance of the blues and the importance Mississippi had in shaping the country’s music. The appeal of the blues was felt outside of our country, even, as even the Beatles leveled their dialects to mimic the vocal qualities in their music. King himself was even permitted to give a concert in the Soviet Union in 1979; this entry caused many to see him as the ambassador of the blues.

What are you binge watching?
Currently I’m binge watching The Americans, but I always find time to rewatch the best episodes of The Sopranos!

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
The restaurant may not be exclusive to Oxford, but I am a huge fan of the spicy shrimp pizza at Newk’s.

What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM?
I love trying out new genres of music and examining the music theory behind them. It has recently led me to learning the guitar, so hopefully I will be able to learn others’ styles and develop my own.

Reed Peets

Reed Peets

Reed Peets

Reed is in the Croft Institute’s international studies program, and he also majors in Spanish. He is a National Merit Finalist, a Croft Scholarship Recipient, and is on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. As a Junior Connect Group Leader, he facilitates community group with weekly meetings, working to build relationships with incoming freshmen.

 

Why did you decide to major in Spanish and international studies?
I saw tremendous opportunities for personal growth within these majors. Born and raised in Jackson, I wanted my four years in Oxford to coax me outside of my cultural bubble. The Croft Institute and the Spanish Department have fostered in me a multicultural perspective, challenged me to celebrate nuance, and forced me to embrace discomfort.

Why should someone decide to study your majors at the University ofMississippi? Both International Studies and Spanish are perfect majors for students who crave exploration. If you find language and culture exciting and you want to learn how to think with a global perspective, these majors are a great match.

Career goals?
After graduation, I’d like to spend a few years working for a non-governmental organization in Latin America before coming back to the States for graduate school in international relations.

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
This semester I spearheaded a $20,000 letter-writing campaign for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Mississippi through my fraternity. My aunt passed away from CF before I was born, so it was empowering to rally the support of my closest friends behind such a personal cause.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
Professor Ashleen Williams from the Croft Institute has been an incredible friend throughout my time in Oxford, always encouraging me to see the opportunity in every situation. Professor Klodt, Professor Otero, and Professor Gowan have been ever-present encouragers throughout the difficult process of learning a new language.

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?
From July to November, I interned virtually with Endeavor, a non-profit organization focused on the empowerment of entrepreneurs across the globe. Since I worked with their office in Uruguay, all of our meetings were conducted in Spanish—to translate my classroom learning into the world of business was a rewarding challenge. With my original plans of completing this internship in Montevideo dashed by the pandemic, pivoting to a virtual format was an awesome learning experience.

What are you binge watching?
La casa de papel.

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
Ka Prow Kai with an egg from Zapp Thai.

What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM?
I love playing tennis at the city courts, running at the South Campus Rail Trail, and listening to live music on the Square.