Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 15, 2016

Alpha Mu Gamma Inducts New Members

Stratton Smith

The Alpha Mu Gamma chapter at Manchester “encourages the competency in foreign languages, and fosters exchange and understanding among different people through language acquisition,” according to Alpha Mu Gamma faculty advisor and Spanish professor at Manchester, Juan Jesus Payan.
Alpha Mu Gamma, the honor society for modern languages, celebrated its 75th anniversary of the association this year, along with the 15th anniversary of the chapter’s presence at Manchester. Alpha Mu Gamma is the first and largest national collegiate foreign language honor society, with over 307 chapters across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

On Sunday, April 3, Manchester students, faculty and parents celebrated the induction of eight new members, along with the induction of an honorary member, Spanish, German and English visiting professor Shane Thomson.

Payan, the leader of the association, energetically hosted the ceremony. "In 2001, our department of modern languages created the Mu Gamma chapter to support our students, celebrate their success and promote peace and understanding through language,” Payan said. “This (ceremony) is a moment of joy and celebration."

Students studying Spanish, French and German are honored within the association. The ceremony also included three personal speeches by students concluding their journey at Manchester this semester, instilling wisdom to the inductees. German study-abroad student, Franziska Kulbel, was among the speakers. Manchester is the third school she has studied at during her time abroad (she also attended a high school in Iowa and the University of Kent in England). "As of now, I'm one of the only European students and the only BCA student,” Kulbel said. "Coming here was a great experience because I got to leave my comfort zone. It's fun as soon as you embrace it."

Also among the speakers was senior Kandace Terry, who student-teaches Spanish at Huntington North High School. "It seemed just like yesterday that I started to move my things into Garver Hall to begin my time at Manchester,” Terry said.

Like Kulbel, Terry spoke of her time studying abroad, highlighting her experience with being “stuck waist-deep in the mud with the BCA director in Ecuador.” Her journey from high school all the way to finding her career path—teaching—was also recognized. "I had a teacher in high school that showed me what it meant to be an outstanding teacher and opened my eyes to a whole different world,” Terry said. “Just like her, I found a love for this language and just want to share it with those around me. What better way than to teach what you love?"

Katie Skeen, senior political science and economics double major spoke at the event as well, highlighting her study abroad experience in Strasbourg, France. "I was surrounded by students from India, Japan and China,” she said. “I struggled to understand their accents, let alone while they were speaking French. For the first time, I was the minority."

Shane Thompson was stunned when he was unexpectedly named as an honorary member of Mu Gamma. As Thomson held back tears, he filled the room with joy and gratitude.

The eight students inducted were Ingriz Garrido, Christopher Holston, Mackinzie Kempton, Leif Pallo, Cheyenne Ramsey, Leah Smith, Kandace Terry and Donnie Watkins. Following the ceremony, President Dave McFadden extended handshakes and kind words to the new members.