RCS Recognizes Student Achievements

The Department of Romance and Classical Studies (RCS) rewards outstanding students for their academic achievements annually with a series of scholarships and awards. The recipients were asked to submit biographies to be posted on the RCS website, in lieu of an in-person ceremony this year. The Department of Romance and Classical Studies would like to take a moment to recognize the following award recipients for their hard work and dedication as students within our programs:


Oustanding Student in Classics

Braxton Gooch

Braxton Gooch is a junior currently majoring in history. He is a member of the honors college and is one of the board members of the recently established MSU classics society. He plans to further pursue his education in Latin, hoping to forge a career in it.


Dorothy Carr Houvener Memorial Scholarship

Riley George

Madeline Korte

Madeline Korte is a junior from Crystal Lake, Illinois, majoring in French and Elementary Education. She has also been recognized as a National Merit Finalist and is on the Dean’s List.  She is an active member of the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and will be serving as an executive board member for French Club during the 2020-2021 school year. Next summer, she plans to study abroad in Tours, France. She plans to participate in TAPIF after graduation to further develop her French and teaching skills. After graduation, she hopes to use both her Education and French degrees to teach French at an immersion elementary school.

Jeremie Nicholas

Jeremie Nicholas is a graduate of the College of Arts & Letters’ class of 2020. He was born on the island of Guadeloupe but was raised on the island of Saint-Martin. After graduating high school and attaining his Baccalauréat in Sciences & Management Technologies, Jeremie pivoted to pursuing a career in French teaching after discovering a love for languages and public speaking. Due to a lack of higher education in Saint-Martin, he moved to Michigan with his father and began his journey to becoming a French professor. Now that he’s acquired a bachelor’s degree, Jeremie aims to enter a master’s program in French & Francophone studies next. Besides his academic and professional interests, Jeremie enjoys traveling, spending time in nature, reading and writing about Afrocentric topics and aims to use his talents to push the African diaspora forward.  

Ryan Schroeder

Ryan is a senior in the College of Arts & Letters with a major in French and a minor in Fiction Filmmaking. He is also in the College of Education planning to go into French secondary education. He has loved studying the language since he started in high school and decided that he wanted to share his love for it. Last summer, he was fortunate enough to participate in the Tours study abroad program spending 8 weeks in France; It was an experience of a lifetime for him and cemented his pursuit in learning the language. He would like to thank the French department and his professors for this honorable nomination and for fueling his appreciation of the language. He would also like to thank his parents for always supporting his endeavors and pushing him to succeed in his college career.

Emily Vailliencourt

Emily Vailliencourt is a rising senior from Brighton, Michigan, majoring in History Education with an RX endorsement, which qualifies teachers to teach social studies, geography, political science, civics/government, and economics, and she is minoring in French. She is a member of the Spartan Marching Band, Spartan Brass, and Tau Beta Sigma, which is a service sorority dedicated to the uplifting of women and bettering the community around music. During the summer of 2019, she studied French abroad in Tours, France, and this summer will be working as an Orientation Leader for New Student Orientation. After graduating and completing her internship year, she hopes to teach both U.S. History and French to high schoolers.

Outstanding Student in French

Sean Evers

Sean Evers is a rising junior majoring in Finance and minoring in French, who hopes to work internationally in Europe after he graduates where he can mix his Finance and French studies. Sean started studying French in middle school because he thought it would impress girls. Now he studies it because he loves to learn and hopes to use it in the future. After his freshman year at MSU, Sean studied abroad in Tours, France, where he really learned comment parler français. He enjoyed my time in Europe so much that Sean decided to study abroad again in the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021 at the University of Namur in Belgium. Sean is hoping to gain the connections that will help him start working Europe after he graduates. Outside of his schoolwork, he is the Treasurer of the MSU Crew Club.  Sean is involved in a number of other finance organizations on campus and has a job at Capital Area United Way through the Community Engagement Scholars Program.

Rachel Shapin

Rachel Shapin is a junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan majoring in Biosystems Engineering and minoring in French. She is a recipient of the MSU Engineering Abroad Scholarship and the DeBoer Family Scholarship/Fellowship fund and is a member of both the Pi Delta Phi French Honors Society and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society. Last summer, she studied in Pau, France with the University Studies Abroad Consortium. Rachel is also a member of MSU’s Honors College and on the Dean’s list. She will serve as Vice President of the French Club for the 2020-21 school year. She is currently a research assistant for the Biosystems Engineering Department. After graduation, Rachel will work as an intern for a Spirulina production company in Cannes, France and then apply for medical school.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant in French

Thomas Fdoula

Thomas Fdoula is from Tours, France. He graduated from the Université François Rabelais de Tours with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Civilization and Linguistics in 2018 and came to Michigan State University to study for a Master of Arts in French in 2019. In 2019-2020 he taught Intermediate French as a teaching assistant within MSU’s Romance and Classical Studies department. 


Arthur & Huguette Sirianni Award

Nick Clarizio

Nick Clarizio is a Freshman in the Honors College majoring in French while pursuing minors in Italian and Peace and Justice Studies. He is a member of the MSU French Club, Phi Kappa Phi, and Pi Delta Phi – the National French Honor Society. He looks forward to studying abroad in both Italy and France in the near future. Beyond MSU, he aspires to pursue graduate studies in Peace and Justice in order to prepare himself to work in foreign services or an associated field.

Max Martin

Garret Novak

Kaelynn Seestadt

Carson Stachelski

Outstanding Student in Italian

Braxton Gooch

Braxton Gooch is a junior currently majoring in history. He is a member of the honors college and is one of the board members of the recently established MSU classics society. He plans to further pursue his education in Latin, hoping to forge a career in it.

Hermann H. Thornton Award

Ally Iverson

Ally Iverson is an Apparel and Textile Design major and an Italian minor here at Michigan State University. Ally has been on the Dean’s List for all six semesters that she has been at Michigan State. As a freshman, Ally was selected to travel to New York City on a study away program through MSU. While she was on this trip, she gained experience networking and meeting members of the fashion industry. She is the assistant creative director of the VIM fashion relations team and works hard to plan events and fashion shows to showcase other student designers’ work. In the future, Ally plans to attend graduate school to receive a masters degree in textile studies or global fashion management, either in the United States or in Italy.

Gamma Kappa Alpha National Italian Honor Society Inductees

Kenzie Cannarile

Logan Cholody

Grace Koepele

Elissa Loch

Madison Marras


Outstanding Student in Portuguese

Amanda Hawkins

Amanda Hawkins will be a junior at MSU this fall. She is a psychology major with minors in Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Amanda is also a member of the MSU Honors College, and a volunteer research assistant at a cognitive psychology research lab here on campus. Currently, Amanda is planning on continuing her education to become a clinical psychologist. However, she also loves learning different languages. This is a huge passion of Amanda’s and why she decided to start studying Portuguese at MSU. In the future, she would love to find a way to combine her passions for psychology and languages while also helping others.

Harkin Massopust


Dr. Johannes Sachse Memorial Award

Isaac Veysey-White

Isaac is a Ph.D. Candidate in Hispanic Cultural Studies in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. His research focuses on the literature and popular culture of Spain with a special emphasis on Spanish comics since the 2008 economic crisis. He has also been diligently working to improve his Spanish language teaching skills in the classroom, and is making plans to spend time in Spain in the coming academic year to further his research. He is extremely grateful to have received this award and to be part of such a supportive community.

Outstanding Contributor Award

Kailey Henderson

Kailey Henderson is a recent graduate of the M.A. in Hispanic Literatures program through the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. Throughout her Master’s degree she has served as the Secretary for GSA-TROPOS, she was a member of the MSU Latinx Film Festival committee, she taught Spanish for Kids through CeLTA, she participated in the Romance and Classical Studies Learning Community and she helped facilitate Pláticas (Spanish Conversation Hours). She is very thankful to be the recipient of the Outstanding Contributor Award. Her future plans are to spend a year teaching English in Catalonia and return to Michigan State University in the fall semester of 2021 to begin the Ph.D. in Hispanic Cultural Studies program.

Eliot Westdorp

Eliot Westdorp was master’s student in the Spanish as a Second or Bilingual Language program (aka Applied Spanish Linguistics). During Eliot’s time at MSU, he has worked as a TA in the Basic Language Instruction courses in Spanish and this final semester in SPN 310 Spanish Grammar. Last summer, he also worked as the program assistant for the Santander, Spain Study abroad program. Eliot was treasurer for the grad student organization TROPOS and lead weekly Pláticas sessions (MSU’s Spanish speaking hour). Eliot graduated in May and will continue his academic career this fall at the University of Georgia in their Hispanic Linguistics PhD program.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Spanish

Martiniano Etchart

Martiniano is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and he joined our Department in 2019. He is a M.A. student in the Spanish as a Second or Bilingual Language program as well as a Teaching Assistant of Spanish. He completed his undergraduate degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Argentina, where he graduated with honors and received the Best Companion Award. He taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) for four years in his country to students of different ages and in many diverse contexts. In 2018, Martiniano earned the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant grant that took him to teach both Spanish (his native language) and Hispanic culture at University of Arkansas at Monticello, where he also presided over the university’s Foreign Language Club. Martiniano’s main area of interest is studying how L2 instruction affects learners in the acquisition of a target language and how the social variables interfere in that process.

Ella Cowles Award

Claire Netemeyer

Claire Netemeyer is a senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan, majoring in Spanish and minoring in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. She works under the supervision of Dr. Searl in the Lip-Tongue-Larynx (LiTL) Lab, which aims to develop diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to improve communication in people with neurological disease or head and neck cancer. Claire is on the Dean’s list and has studied abroad in Spain. After graduation, Claire will be taking a gap year before attending graduate school. She plans on working and hopefully returning to Spain. Claire would like to use her studies of Spanish and communication disorders to become a speech therapist. Next fall, she plans on pursuing a M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology. In the future, she would like to participate in research on bilingualism and speech and language disorders.

Mary F. Klapperich Memorial Scholarship

Madison Lea Campbell

Madison Campbell is a recent graduate of the College of Arts and Letters. She majored in Spanish and minored in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She plans to pursue a career in interpretation and translation with the long-term goal of working in immigration reform. She has been accepted to the translation and interpretation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where she plans on pursuing her graduate degree in the fall. She would like to thank all of the faculty and professors of the Romance and Classical Studies department who saw her potential and supported her throughout her undergraduate experience, with special thanks to Jennifer Gansler, Assistant Professor Alejandra Márquez, and Dra. Gabriela Alfaraz.

Erin Menich

Erin Menich double majored in Criminal Justice and Spanish at Michigan State. Erin has served as treasurer of the Michigan State Irish Dance Club for the last three years, and has loved performing on campus. One of the highlights of Erin’s time in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies was studying abroad in Santander, Spain in the summer of 2018. This led to a research assistant position within the School of Criminal Justice, where she interviewed the Spanish-speaking participants in a study about the juvenile justice system. Erin has accepted a position for next year with City Year through AmeriCorps where she will be mentoring and tutoring students in underserved communities in Chicago. Erin hopes to attend graduate school or law school after this year of service.

Outstanding Student in Spanish

Sarah Chaudhry

Sarah is a graduating senior with a dual degree in Neuroscience and Spanish. During her time on campus, Sarah volunteered for the “Spanish for Kids” program through MSU’s Community Language School. Through this program, she worked closely with students, ages 5-9, to help them improve their Spanish speaking and writing skills. Following graduation, Sarah will join a neuroscience lab at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to focus on research in neuronal circuitry of underlying pain states. She plans to continue studying Spanish in the future, as well.

Mindy Kidder

Mindy is receiving her two undergraduate degrees in Spanish and Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences this summer. For the last three years, she’s volunteered with Read to Succeed, a program that pairs tutors with elementary schoolers in the Lansing area. She also has been working with CELTA’s language school in Wells Hall, in both the Spanish for Preschoolers program and the one for elementary schoolers as well. She spent a full semester in Valencia, Spain, during which she had a translation internship with a professor at the University of Valencia. This next year, she will have her internship year at Holt Junior High and plans on continuing to teach in the Lansing area for the next few years.

Keith Tindall