Our Students

Current Concentrators and Secondary Fielders

Benjamin Altshuler - Joint Concentration in German and Classical Languages & Literature

Talia Boylan - Secondary Field in German

Cooper Bryan - Secondary Field in German

Benjamin Grimm - Secondary Field in Scandinavian

Leib Celnik - Secondary Field in German

Desmond Green - Secondary Field in German

Vince Guo - Concentration in German

Gillian Hess - Secondary Field in German

Rebecca Jarvis - Secondary Field in German

Julia Lechner - Concentration in German

Andrew Lin - Secondary Field in German

Carney Mahon - Concentration in German

Daniel Menz - Joint Concentration in German and Government

Eela Nagaraj - Secondary Field in German

Steffan Paul - Joint Concentration in German and Cellular & Molecular Biology

Sophia Ramsey - Joint Concentration in German and Integrative Biology

Madison Schmitt - Secondary Field in German

Aizhan Shorman - Secondary Field in German

Nathaniel Ver Steeg - Secondary Field in German

Frank Zhou - Joint Concentration in German and Chemistry

Tim LaVelle - Joint Concentration in German and Biomedical Engineering

Pepo Zivny - Secondary Field in German


Alumni Voices

Max Phillips (German and Music, 2015) has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to undertake a Masters degree in Music Composition at the Kunstuniversität in Graz, Austria, and to teach English part time in an Austrian school.

Michael Ardeljan, (German and History, 2013). Warum denn habe ich Deutsch gelernt?  Why did I learn German?  When I arrived on Harvard’s campus and jumped into my German studies with this department, my German educational experience took off in a completely new direction. Introductory courses lucidly and entertainingly built a foundation of technical understanding at a tremendous rate.  And then, I began reading German philosophers. It was a fantastic department filled with wonderful professors and graduate students, who took my studies to a level of intellectualism that I had never before experienced with another language.  This is the reason why I studied abroad with Duke in Berlin, and wrote historical research papers in German – publishing one in Simplicissimus, the Harvard College Journal of Germanic Studies – because I had stopped learning a language and began to live it.  The Harvard German department helped me tremendously with my joint concentration thesis with the History department, prepared me for my oral honors exams that I did in German, and gave me the opportunity to translate Michael Sandel’s course “Justice” into German for edX.

As a law student at New York University, I worked for one summer at the United Nations in Geneva, and have just had my law school Note on German constitutional law published in the New York University Journal of International Law & Politics. The Note, Mann und Mann, Frau und Frau: The Jurisprudence and Democratic Theory of German Civil Partnerships, 49 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 239 (2016), explores the contours and development of eingetragene Partnerschaften in Germany. These are same-sex civil partnerships augmented through judicial review without formal recognition of the right to gay marriage. I survey German federalism, jurisprudence, and the political philosophy theories of judicial review in a democracy to conclude that gay marriage's constitutional recognition in Germany is inevitable as an extension of the Bundesrepublik's notion of militant democracy. I credits my invaluable experience as a joint concentrator in History and Germanic Languages & Literatures for generating my interest in this legal thesis topic, as well as for equipping me with the skills to analyze and translate legal opinions by the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Germany's Federal Constitutional Court) to make my arguments. I look forward to continuing to employ his German concentration throughout his career.

Preston Copeland (German, 2011). Of course your professors are leaders in their fields, and of course you have access to prodigious resources—this is Harvard, after all. But in hindsight, what makes the German Department great are the very things that you, as an undergraduate, will blithely experience daily—class sizes of 5-15 students, genuinely caring professors who know you by name (or, more precisely, who simply know you), and a quality of instruction that most students in America don’t experience until graduate school (if they’re lucky). What seems facile at first glance but actually astonishes me the more I think about it is that I liked every single one of my classes in the German Department. In fact, I think that I took it for granted at the time—that a student would love all of his or her concentration courses.

Jordan Cotton (2011). Upon arriving at Harvard I intended to pursue a Secondary Field in the Germanic Languages & Literatures department. I had learned German in high school and enjoyed it massively but thought at first that a degree in German would not be very practical. However, after enjoying my German classes far more than the rest, I realized that a creative and flexible student can make most any subject relevant to a variety of career paths and decided to follow my passion. After an internship in Germany that both honed my language skills and padded my resume, I am now working as a management consultant to NASA and the space industry in Washington, DC. While I don't use German every day, it does come in handy tracking down research papers and in performing interviews on European topics. Outside of work, I have continued to seek out experiences in Germanic countries to continue my education. I just returned from a vacation to Finland and Denmark which made me wish I had taken advantage of the department's many Scandinavian language offerings.

Jasmine Ford (2010). I always knew that I wanted to study German in college for the simple reason that I love the language! I had been taking it since high school and wanted to continue to build upon my previous learning. Initially, I thought I would have it as a secondary field, but after a while I noticed that the classes I took in the Germanic department were the ones that consistently held my interest and drew my eye in the Course Handbook!   I also enjoyed being in a concentration small enough to where there were always multiple familiar faces in class! The neat thing about it is that there are so many directions one could take their studies in the department. For my senior thesis I got to examine how Afro-Germans mobilized a political culture through hip-hop and how they used their constructed 'Afro-German' identity to place themselves within the larger African Diaspora. I would encourage any student with an interest in German language, history, and/or culture to consider a concentration in German Studies! The faculty are all wonderful and welcoming, and being part of a small department gives students a chance to establish a familiar, supportive, and warm relationship with the professors that may not be as readily found in a larger department.

Trevor James (2011). Take German, even if you have no language requirement to fulfill or previous background in this language.  I did so and became a concentrator in the long run, for the engaging and provocative courses offered by Harvard's German department.  Learning German and reading German literature helped me to build concepts of value foreign to myself but nonetheless prescient.  I grew and continue to grow and shift in my study of this literature.