two students studying with NYC skyline in background

Our Recent Graduates

If you are a Montclair State University German Program alumni and not yet on our alumni email list, please contact!


John Costello

 My name is John Costello and I graduated from Montclair State University in 2016 with majors in German and Economics and a minor in Math. In my third year I studied abroad in Graz, Austria to improve my German and immerse myself in another culture. It was one of the best experiences of my life and opened several doors to new opportunities. In the following summer, I did an internship in the Saxon State Parliament, working with multiple departments of the administration and visiting the monthly plenary sessions.

In April 2016 I was awarded an English teaching assistantship by USTA Austria, coordinated by Fulbright Austria for the 2016/2017 academic year. I’m currently living in Graz again and teaching in schools in nearby towns.

The German Department at Montclair State is incredible and has helped me discover and pursue multiple opportunities. With the help of the professors, I went from taking Beginner German courses to speaking fluently and working abroad within a few years. It’s been an immensely rewarding journey and I’m extremely thankful for the professors, courses, and opportunities provided by the German Department.


Bobby Nelson

My name is Bobby Nelson and I graduated from Montclair State University in 2015 with a degree in German, and a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. Since my graduation, I have been fortunate enough to have worked in two fantastic companies doing Accounts Payable. My German degree has helped me significantly in recent past, in getting a new job with a company who is expanding to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and needed help translating and working with German invoices.

I work closely with financial partners overseas, and being able to converse and relate to them in German has helped me to flourish in my position. For a while during college, I didn’t think the major in German was ever going to pay off for me, but in the end, I’m so grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me, not just professionally, but personally as well. I have gained more perspective and cultural knowledge because of where this degree has taken me, whether it be Graz, Austria for study abroad, or my new position here with a company who is growing and expanding.


Ryan Freligh

My name is Ryan Freligh and I graduated from Montclair State University in 2012 with a BA in French: Translation, and minors in German and Russian. In the months following my graduation, I profited from various translation and interpreting opportunities and also interned with the world literature organization, PEN American. During this time, I also began applying to German and French graduate programs and was accepted to the University of Wisconsin’s PhD Program in German. In my years of graduate study, I had the opportunity to teach German language courses while pursuing research interests in Germanic folklore, Scandinavian studies and Dutch. After receiving a departmental scholarship, I spent a summer in the Netherlands and came back to teach Dutch language courses.

Now with my MA in German, I work full time as a freelance translator, language teacher and German language consultant for companies developing learning software. My undergraduate education in translation, languages and culture has proved critical in my career and can be applied in various positions, language-related or not.


Wendy Timmons

My name is Wendy Timmons, I graduated summa cum laude in 2015 with a bachelor’s in German Language and Literature and a minor in Studio Fine Arts. Currently, I am attending the University of Maryland to earn my master’s degree and continue what I started at Montclair State, namely, my education in all things German. Between attending universities, I reluctantly took a gap year, which wound up being one of the most adventurous years of my life, fueled by an abundance of wanderlust and an outlandish dream come true, that being an endless supply of concert tickets to see my favorite rock band. I already love to travel, and the concert tickets were the perfect excuse to visit Europe, the UK,and Australia before once more putting my nose to the grindstone.

This love of travel was fostered long ago while I was in high school, and was cemented thanks to the Montclair-Graz Sister City Scholarship, which provided for an exchange year in Graz, Austria in 2012-2013. I was inspired there to work towards perfecting my German, to travel while it was easy to do so, and to broaden my horizons academically. After that year, my remaining semesters were a flurry of German courses, as the Humanities department had thankfully (and rather conveniently!) revived the German bachelor’s program. I had the opportunity to work for art historian Rosa JH Berland as her intern while she worked on a retrospective of the late American artist, Edward E. Boccia, who was heavily influenced by the German Expressionists. I also was privileged to be a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Pascale LaFountain, and served as President of the German Club at the University.

These experiences have made my resume dense with accomplishments and have prepared me for graduate school and beyond. This semester at UMD, I am taking German literature courses, reading books I already read while at Montclair State, and am working as a Graduate Assistant for the Film Department, where I hope to assist in organizing various film events on and off-campus, as well as unify the various film groups here. Next year I will likely teach a German course, and I’m really looking forward to it! Ultimately, I wish to earn my Doctorate in German Studies and begin a career through which I can continue to have marvelous adventures in the German-speaking realm and beyond, as well as spread and reinforce knowledge of German language and culture.


Meghan Marino

My name is Meghan Marino and I graduated from Montclair in the Fall of 2015 with a degree in German as well as Communication and Media Arts, with a minor in International Studies. Studying German at Montclair State was my favorite academic experience: The program was rather small, which made it easy for the professors to focus on each individual student, and the classes of 10-20 students helped me to create friendships that I know will last a lifetime. My German studies have allowed me to gain a different perspective on life as I learned about the history and language of another culture. It’s easy to stereotype what it means to be “German,” but taking German classes showed me that there is so much more to the culture than beer, bratwurst, and lederhosen!

Since graduation, I was offered an amazing position to teach German language in West Milford Township, where I grew up (Grades 8-12). I can’t believe I’m teaching German in the same schools where I fell in love with the language. I am striving to inspire students the same way my teachers inspired me, because it may just lead them to some of the best experiences of their lives.


Jeff Baker

My name is Jeffrey Baker and I dare you to be interesting. Little about myself, I graduated Montclair State University in 2016 and completed a double BA in German and geography and a minor in geographic information science. My liberal arts education equipped me with critical thinking skills, logical reasoning and confidence to take on any task. However, I would have never thought one day that I would finish a double bachelor’s. German was the major that struck me as the odd one. When I took my first German course at Montclair State, I enjoyed it and thought it would not hurt to invest into a minor. Before I knew it, I would spend a semester abroad in Austria. Then, I would sign-up for a German major. Furthermore, I would try to decipher both Hermann Hesse and the Refugee Crisis. What a crazy ride it has been pursuing a German major on top of my other exciting studies! In these experiences, I have learned how to empathize, relate and communicate with people from all over the world. I am a better-rounded person because of my studies and experiences.

Since graduation, I have volunteered in West Virginia at a place called Bethlehem Farm. There, I helped flood victims, low income homeowners and did some farm chores. Currently, I am a mapping technician up in Vermont. My skills and experiences as a double major have helped me to be more attentive, patient and perceptive in my new job. I enjoy interacting with my co-workers because it helps me to get through a busy day. It can be hard transitioning into a new place, but thankfully I am better prepared because of my study abroad experience. Unfortunately, I do not use much German nowadays, but I still long to take my language skills to the next level.  For now, you can find me reading a Hermann Hesse novel in German.

My advice to anyone reading this, dare to be interesting! Study everything you possibly can, and take every opportunity to travel. I did this and I am excited where I am headed next in life!


Jimmy Ellis

My name is James Ellis, and I graduated from Montclair State University in 2016 majoring in both German and History. While having two areas of study can be a lot to manage, German and History are two that are deeply connected. For me studying German was not merely learning a language, but also opened up an entirely new culture to me. One that I was able to experience first hand when I received the opportunity to study in Graz, Austria.

The German department was a vital part in motivating me throughout my time at Montclair State. Not only did I feel a strong sense of belonging amongst my fellow majors, but also through serving as the Vice-president of German Club. This student leadership role further allowed me to feel like I really was making a difference at Montclair.

Ryan Cathcart
My name is Ryan Cathcart. I graduated Montclair State in May of 2013 with a BS in accounting, and a minor in German. I studied abroad in Graz, Austria via the Sister Cities program in 2010/ 2011. Upon graduating, I began working for BASF Corporation, the world’s largest chemical company, in a rotational program giving me exposure to a variety of different finance and accounting applications. My lust for travel – or inability to stay in one place for too long – was stimulated by my year abroad. In my new position, I spent two years traveling domestically and occasionally to South America learning the fundamentals of my German parent company. Since graduation, I have lived in three different states and worked (at least for a short time) in seven as well as in Canada and Uruguay. My experience studying abroad and with Montclair’s German program prepared me for a career in which I am constantly being catapulted into new cultures, locations and situations.
The German program at Montclair helped me reach a number of different milestones. Professionally, I graduated with my accounting degree, attained my CPA and switched to a career in finance for a German company. Personally, I attained my goal of traveling to 25 countries and five continents by age 25, while establishing a vast, global network and many lasting relationships. In my current role as Financial Analyst for a business specializing in the trading of precious metals, I interface daily with colleagues in London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Switzerland and Germany. While there are many skills one learns as a business major, few compare to those you learn communicating and working hands-on with others.