two students studying with NYC skyline in background

Featuring our Majors

Thomas McNulty

Hello, my name is Thomas McNulty, and I am a junior studying German, International Business, and Marketing. My German studies have thus far led me to Graz, Austria, a lovely city in which I will be studying a full year as a recipient of the Montclair-Graz Sister City Scholarship. I began studying German since I viewed it as an excellent counterpart to my international-based curriculum. As I have progressed through the different levels of language learning, I am finding that this part of my education benefits me in many other ways as well. Like Goethe said, “Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own.” The study of German has certainly given me a wider international perspective and cultural experiences abroad, but it has also led to a greater understanding of my own culture and, quite simply, of myself. Learning a new language is no easy task, but the rewards and experiences unlocked along the way are truly invaluable and cannot be obtained through any other means. I am incredibly thankful to the German department for outstanding guidance, support, and passion, and I am looking forward to many new language adventures to come, in this year and the ones to follow!

Fun fact: This bio was written while traveling through the Austrian Alps en route to Munich for Oktoberfest. So, study German and this could be you, too!

Kim Toich

Hi, my name is Kim Toich and I’m a junior at Montclair State but am currently studying abroad in Graz, Austria! I am a German Major with a minor in Business. People tend to ask me why I would major in German and that’s my favorite question to answer! The German language is both challenging and rewarding, and I have been in love with the culture since my first few German classes back in the 6th grade. Through my German Major and my involvement in German Club as Vice President and then President (can’t wait to go back!) I have met some really incredible people who really helped me grow both as a student of German and as a person. I am also eternally grateful to the Montclair-Graz Sister City Scholarship that has allowed me to study abroad for a full year!

To keep up with my travels check out my blog at

Katie Kreutz

My name is Katie Kreutz and I am currently a junior at Montclair State University. I am a German major with a minor in Psychology. I am on the University’s Cross Country team in the fall. I am also and on the Track and Field team during the winter and spring seasons, where I usually race the 5k.

I chose to study German at Montclair State because I learned it for 5 years in middle school and high school. During that time, I loved learning a new language, the German history, and about a culture that wasn’t my own. When I arrived at Montclair State as a freshman, I was an undeclared major and during my first semester, I didn’t take any German classes and I actually missed learning it. That’s when I knew I wanted to study German. Now, I have taken 3 semesters worth of German classes. At the beginning of every semester, I look forward to learning new things about the German language, history, literature, and current news. I can’t picture myself attending Montclair State and majoring in any subject other than German.

Awije Bahrami

My name is Awije Bahrami and I am a senior German and Classics major at Montclair State University. As part of my German studies, I studied abroad in Graz, Austria last semester to enhance my learning experience by surrounding myself with the German language. In addition to my studies, I am the Entertainment editor at The Montclarion, the student-run, independent newspaper at the University, and a peer advisor at the Global Education Center. In the future, I want to work for an international organization and my degree in German studies and the study abroad experiences will help me achieve this goal.

Haide Contla

Hi, my name is Haide Contla and I’m currently in my junior year. I fell in love with languages when I found out there was more than English and Spanish. Currently, I am teaching myself: Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese, Turkish, Hungarian and I’m hoping to pick up Icelandic by the end of the year. I was introduced to German by some friends who made me listen to Tokio Hotel about 10 years ago. My love for this language was cemented when I heard the pronunciation of “Muffin.”
Picking this major was an easy choice. I want to connect to others and help others connect. I want to ignite the love I have for this language in others, especially in those who think that German is harsh and ugly.  In times of stress, I find myself singing in German to my cat, Stevie. And even though I am interested in several other languages German will always hold a special part of me.

Ryan Sondermeyer

My name is Ryan Sondermeyer and I am a senior at Montclair State University. As a sophomore in high school, I realized that I had a very high interest in language which was sparked by my second year of German class. There was something about learning about a different language and culture that was not only interesting to me but also extremely fun. I knew that I wanted to find a career one day that would involve language in some way, so I decided to major in both Linguistics and German at Montclair State which has been a great decision. Aside from getting to work with the great professors in both departments and getting to learn a huge amount about German and German culture specifically, I was also given the unique opportunity to spend an exciting year abroad during the 2015-2016 academic year in beautiful Graz, Austria. During my time there, I was not only immersed in the German language and Austrian culture, but I also made countless friends and had plenty of experiences that I will cherish forever. Looking forward, I am hoping to graduate by the end of this year and either pursue another program in Austria or Germany or go on to get my masters.

Ben Hernandez

My name is Ben Hernandez and I am a German Major at Montclair State. My interest in German is my desire to understand a third language and travel to German speaking countries to see new and exciting cultures. So far I’ve taken three years of German and have found it very challenging but a lot of fun. A little bit about me aside from being a German major, I swim and dive for Montclair State, I work as a swim coach for a club team in Lyndhurst and I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Rio, Brazil and work at the 2016 Olympic Games. Being part of the German department here at Montclair State has also given me the opportunity to travel, as I have done this summer by visiting Austria and going to many different bordering countries during my time abroad.

Cathy Garrison

My name is Cathy Garrison, and I am a Second Bachelor’s Degree Student majoring in the German language. I have always loved languages, I studied French in high school and a little German in college the first time, and my first degree was in European history –  I have always been fascinated with understanding our connections with the past.  I am also a musician: a classical flute and choral singer – so the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven is all close to my heart.  My career goal is translation – I see it as a true bridge between cultures that can help people be able to work here, but also to see into their family history. I worked on a very interesting project this summer translating handwritten (as in script) diaries for a family member who wanted to know what his grandmother had to say. And as the photo demonstrates, I am an avid traveler – my favorite is to travel alone because I like to meet new people and we have the most interesting conversations.

The Montclair German program offers me, an advanced student, a great deal of flexibility in pursuing my individual goals and improving my German skills and confidence.  I enjoyed my time as the German tutor, helping other students improved their own skills and I am an enthusiastic regular at Stammtisch gatherings.

Alex Hoffman

My name is Alexandra Hoffmann and I am a senior at the University. I am working towards receiving two degrees from Montclair. I am studying Business with a concentration in Marketing as well as German. I have always been interested in the German language and culture since I was a little girl and I would visit my Oma in Germany. My Oma, Aunt Amy, and Uncle Eric were people who have inspired me to learn German starting in High School and motivated me to continue my education in German throughout college. To further enhance my learning experience, I studied abroad in Graz, Austria where I was able to take all of my courses in German.  I definitely feel that studying German with my business major gives me a competitive edge while there are many students go to school for only a business degree. If you are looking to stand out among your peers in Job hunts, consider minoring or majoring in German!

Nicole Czergovits

My name is Nicole Czergovits, and I’m a junior here at Montclair State University majoring in German with a minor in Business. I developed an early interest in the German language and culture from my maternal grandmother who was from the Graz, Austria area and often spoke to me in German when I was a child. In high school, I had the opportunity to take four years of German where I learned I had a passion for the language and culture. I look forward to studying in Graz, Austria through Montclair State’s study abroad program. After graduation, I hope to travel to more German speaking countries and pursue a career using German and my business background.

Tayllor Cunningham

My name is Tayllor Cunningham. I am currently a senior dual major at Montclair. My majors are Animation/Illustration and German respectively. My interest in German stemmed from my high school German classes where I fell in love with the language and Culture of Germany. I hope to continue my studies and eventually move there to begin the next chapter of my life.