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Two of Seven German National Honor Society Winners Hail from Montclair

Posted in: Homepage News and Events, World Languages and Cultures

photos of two German students side by side. Lower third is Delta Phil Alpha, National Honor Society for College Students of German

Montclair’s German program has had an active chapter of the Delta Phi Alpha national German Honor Society since 2019 and has been recognized as a German Center of Excellence by the American Association of Teachers of German since 2020.

This spring, two students received additional recognition when they were among the seven winners selected nationally to win a $500 scholarship based on essays they wrote in German for the inaugural Delta Phi Alpha National Award for Undergraduate Students of German.

Sidney Berger (German and Linguistics double major) and Ath-Yah Brathwaite (German and Psychology double major, ‘24) each took advantage of this opportunity to flex their German skills, writing an original essay without any outside assistance about the relevance of German in their lives and in the world today.

Berger says of his essay, “This essay was a great opportunity for me to retrace my steps in both the German program and in my overall university studies. My original enrollment in German 101 helped me realize my passion for language as a whole, which I aimed to describe through this essay. I hope to continue using German in academic writing and as a future teacher of it and English.”

Bathwaite says of her essay, “My experiences traveling abroad, studying the culture, and taking class in German studies helped me write this essay. I wanted to showcase the culmination of my work ethic and personal development. I enjoy scholarly writing opportunities like this that highlight the great benefits and possibilities that come with studying a language.”

German Professor Pascale LaFountain notes, “I am so proud of our students for winning this. They have worked very hard in class, in co-curricular activities, and on study abroad programs to gain this level of fluency, and the scholarship will make their next endeavors all the more feasible.

Brathwaite, who graduated in May and received the Dean’s Student Recognition award for graduating seniors from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, plans to apply to graduate school for German Studies, become a German professor, and create learning programs that promote diversity and inclusion; Berger anticipates two more years at Montclair to complete certification in teaching English as a second language, hoping to one day take on a position in a European international school that will enable him to move between North American and European educational settings.

These students were recognized at an end-of-semester awards ceremony, which also named Avelisse Guzman as winner of a $5000 Schmitt Scholarship and Larissa Dauman as winner of the $1000 Vogel Scholarship, and again, Sidney Berger as winner of the $1500 Falk-Romaine scholarship for outstanding achievements as a German major.

Additional winners in the German program include:

  • Flavia Hidalgo, who won a $1500 Soar scholarship for summer study in Munich.
  • Jack Nardone, Mia Cortijo, Olivia Polverari, Bryan Horna, Jason Kleinschmidt, George McComas, and Leysel Romero, who each won a $1500 Kade scholarship for summer study in Munich.
  • Stephanie Zirkenbach, who won a Graz Sister City Scholarship for a fully funded study abroad year in Austria.
  • Bianca Isabella Zárate González, who won a full scholarship for the Middlebury Summer School as well as a Graz Sister City Scholarship full ride to study in Austria for a year.
  • Lirena Engelsbel (‘23), who won a scholarship for the Sommerakademie Goethe Institut
  • Alli Kodila (‘24), who won a Fulbright Austria Teaching Assistantship to teach in Austria for a year.