Alumni Stories

Shannon Turner '12

Eileen (Tesarik) Girmsheid '12

Melissa (Elias) Arndt '05

Rose Mueller '11


Shannon Turner, WLC Class of 2012

Shannon Turner is a graduate teaching assistant at The Ohio State University in Columbus. She is a student in the university’s Ph.D. program for medieval history.

Shannon Turner

I took German for four years in high school, and I decided to continue taking classes during my time at Wisconsin Lutheran College. The language has come in handy doing research for, as well as in certain classes, such as History of Modern Germany.

In the fall of 2012, I began my graduate studies at The Ohio State University, and my German skills will continue to be helpful. Academic research in history, as well as in a number of other fields, requires a certain degree of knowledge in foreign languages, especially German and French. Proficiency in foreign languages opens a wide range of resources otherwise not available in English. German will especially be helpful in my case, because I will most likely be focusing on medieval German monasticism. This is the area that my Doktormutter (Ph.D. advisor) specializes in. She has several friends and connections in Germany, and it is likely that I will be able to do some studying over there through the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). Through this program, I could potentially be funded to study in various German institutions for a couple of months to a year. I anticipate using my German language skills quite often over the next several years!

Eileen (Tesarik) Girmscheid, WLC Class of 2012

Eileen (Tesarik) Girmscheid is a 2nd grade teacher at the Milwaukee German Immersion School.

Eileen Girmsheid

I was a double major in wide-range education (birth to 21 years) and German at Wisconsin Lutheran College. During the 2010 spring semester I was blessed to work with several teachers at the Milwaukee German Immersion School as an independent study toward my education major. I found through this experience that even after studying German for almost five years, it can sometimes be intimidating to step into a classroom where these children have been learning it at a much younger age and are already very fluent. The most important things to remember are being confident in your skills and realizing that the teachers you are working with want to see you achieve and the students are excited for you just to spend time with them.

I worked most closely under Melissa (Elias) Arndt, a 2005 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College and 3rd grade teacher at MGIS. She was an exemplary model and I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with her. She really engages the students and is very professional in how she carries out her classroom. It's wonderful to see the theories of our education classes in practice. I also worked in K4, K5, 1st, and 2nd grade classrooms and had the pleasure of seeing some other very effective teachers in action as well. It was very impressive to watch the language acquisition as the children grow up, and amazing to see that even though they just started the language, they cognitively spoke at the same level that they would be if they had been speaking it all their life.

It was a wonderful blessing to tie my passion for German with my love of teaching in such a unique way. After college, I hope to be able to teach at the German Immersion School. I know the Lord will be guiding my footsteps and no matter where I go, he will find a way for me to use my talents.

Melissa (Elias) Arndt, WLC Class of 2005

Melissa (Elias) Arndt is a 3rd grade teacher at the Milwaukee German Immersion School.

From Frau Krause: As a teacher I enjoy keeping contact with my former students and I am always interested in finding out how they are doing. I visited Melissa Arndt at the Milwaukee German Immersion School. While attending WLC, Melissa did part of her student teaching at MGIS and then was fortunate enough to obtain a teaching job there after graduation. She has been teaching there for the last six years. In addition, she met her husband at MGIS. It is fun talking to her because she is so enthusiastic about her school and about being able to use her German skills.

Melissa Arndt

What made you choose Wisconsin Lutheran College?
Melissa: My sister was already attending WLC and both my sister and parents really liked the school. In addition, my parents liked it that it was close to our home.

What drove you to major in German and Education?
Melissa: At first I did not know what I wanted to do. In high school I had had a literacy teacher who had made literature really come to life and so I decided to give education a try and took EDU 201. This class got me hooked, but I still  needed a minor and since I really liked German (my grandpa also spoke it), I decided to go for it especially since it included studying in Germany.

How has your experience at WLC helped you in your teaching career?
Melissa: It was foremost the professors. For example my education professor, Professor Brightsman, taught us there is not just one way of doing things. I found that particularly true when teaching math at GMIS. Germans use a different method in how they multiply and divide and now I teach my students both and it seems that they benefit from learning different approaches.

How do you use German specifically in your job?
Melissa: (Laughing) I use it all day long from 9:05 to 2:35. At that time I teach English as a subject. Obviously German is a very important part of my job.

What advice would you give to students who are considering a major in German? Or, for that matter, a major in German Education?
Melissa: Stick with the language, even if you started late. Focus on what you can all do with it later.

What do you plan to do with your career in the future?
Melissa: If I can, I want to stay at the German Immersion School. I love teaching here. It is awesome to basically spend my whole day speaking German.

Rose Mueller, WLC Class of 2011

Rose Mueller, a December 2011 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College, teaches History, Geography, and German at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. She has achieved her dream of becoming a German teacher.

Rose Mueller

I came to Wisconsin Lutheran College in the fall of 2008 mainly because I wanted to study German. The grammar courses provided me with a solid foundation in the structure of German. I then was able to gain a better understanding of German history and culture through the literature courses and the German Films class. In every class, Frau Krause introduced us to German songs, shared her own personal experiences of life in Germany, and helped us to improve our understanding of and appreciation for the German language and culture.

The best part of studying German is that it allowed me to travel to Germany and spend two months there. I studied, traveled, learned, and lived all things German. That trip gave me new confidence in my German-speaking skills, but also, and perhaps more importantly, changed the way that I now see and understand the world around me.

The pinnacle of my German education was researching and writing my Senior Thesis. Being able to pick any topic in German history, literature, culture, etc., was daunting at first, but I was able to focus on something that I was interested in, and something that related to my other studies at WLC. After hours of reading, writing, and editing with the help of Frau Krause, my final product is something that I am very proud of.