Modern Languages Students Recognized for Achievements

Posted May 3, 2022

Each year, the School of Modern Languages recognizes its exceptional students with Excellence Awards and Outstanding Senior Awards.

This year’s awards honor nine students for their dedication to language learning and cultural studies through their coursework, research, and study abroad.


Excellence Awards

The Excellence Awards are a highly competitive award spanning language programs. The language program directors vote on nominations submitted by each language program, and one awardee from each degree program is selected. The award comes with a $300 prize.


Excellence in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (ALIS) Award: Ella Grace Tiller

Tiller, who is pursuing a dual degree in ALIS (Korean) and Chemistry, hopes to combine her knowledge of the Korean language and culture with the study of medicine in her future career as a doctor. Specifically, she wants to learn more about Korea’s world-renowned dermatology and plastic surgery fields and apply them to her work in this area. 

Tiller began her Korean studies at the elementary level in Fall 2018. She participated in the Korean Language for Business and Technology (LBAT) study abroad program in Seoul in 2019 and has since completed many 4000-level language courses on Korean media, history, and society. She is also a member of Georgia Tech’s K-Pop and Korean culture club, Seoulstice.

“Considering that Ella started in KOR 1001 in 2018, it is incredible that in KOR 4691: Korean Society, she currently discusses Korean politics and economy in Korean with her native or heritage classmates,” said Yongtaek Kim, director of the Korean program and associate professor of Korean.


Excellence in International Affairs and Modern Languages (IAML) Award: Rachel Hudson

Hudson began studying Korean in high school with Korean-American elementary students at a weekly Korean school run by a Korean church. Hudson declared her concentration in Korean as a first-year student at Georgia Tech. 

Hudson studied abroad in Korea during the 2021–2022 academic year, achieving her long-time dream to explore Korea in person despite delays caused by the pandemic. She said the best way to understand a country is from the inside out.  She hopes her IAML degree will lead her to a job with U.S. State Department.

 “I had the great opportunity to help Rachel with a Korean speech contest in 2020 and felt her passion towards Korea, her amazing efforts to improve her speech in such a short period, and above all, her deep understanding of Korean culture. Her behavior looked like a native Korean,” Kim said.


Outstanding Senior Awards

The Outstanding Senior Awards are selected based on grades in language classes, a portfolio, extracurricular experiences, leadership abilities, and enthusiasm for their chosen field, including language and culture. The faculty in each language group select their outstanding senior.

Outstanding Senior in Chinese: Yasmeen Herb

Herb is an IAML (Chinese) major who wants to use her Chinese language skills in environmental diplomacy. She has studied in Taiwan as a Rotary Youth Exchange Scholar. After graduation, Herb plans to teach English in Taiwan with the Fulbright Program, then complete a master’s in international environmental studies or management. 


Outstanding Senior in French: Laura Jarrel

Jarrel is majoring in biomedical engineering and ALIS (French). She received Faculty Honors twice and has continuously been on the Dean’s List.

“Jarrel is a wonderful learner with superb French fluency,” the French faculty wrote in their award letter. “She keeps pursuing excellence in French with a determination that continues to amaze us.”


Outstanding Senior in German: Emma Axelson

Axelson is pursuing a dual degree in civil engineering and ALIS (German). Axelson participated in the LBAT Germany in 2019 and served as co-president and president of the German Club.

“Emma stands out with her continuous commitment and passion for German in her role as president of the German Club,” the German faculty wrote in their award letter. “Under her leadership, the community of German-loving students has grown considerably.”


Outstanding Senior in Japanese: Teresa Flynn

Flynn is majoring in IAML (Japanese) and loves to learn cultures and languages. She has never missed an opportunity to improve her language skills and immerse herself in different cultures and learn the values of different cultures.

“We are immensely impressed by Teresa’s collegiality, motivation, and leadership in the classroom and beyond,” the Japanese faculty wrote of Flynn.  


Outstanding Senior in Korean: Sophie Gray

Gray is pursuing a dual degree in biology and ALIS (Korean). As the inaugural president of the Korean Conversation Club, she worked to build a vibrant community for students studying Korean in the School of Modern Languages.

“Sophie is a thoughtful, critically engaged student who brings important topics into the conversation in any Korean courses. She is clearly deeply interested in Asian and Korean culture and history,” the Korean faculty wrote.

Outstanding Senior in Linguistics: Omar Shaikh

Shaikh is majoring in computer science with a minor in linguistics and has already co-authored seven peer-reviewed conference papers about language processing, machine translation, and human-computer interaction. After graduation, Shaikh will pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a focus on language processing at Stanford University.:

“In the classroom, Omar shows a superlative ability to synthesize and communicate scholarly literature,” the Linguistics faculty wrote. 


Outstanding Senior in Spanish: Sophia de Lurgio

De Lurgio is pursuing a dual degree in industrial design and ALIS (Spanish).

“During the LBAT program and courses, Sophia demonstrated a very effective command of Spanish. She is also a very responsible student, committed to her learning experiences. Her work in the LBAT project was exceptional and came from a very deep understanding of the cultural and social dilemmas of Mexico,” the Spanish faculty wrote.

Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients!

Information on past award winners is available on the School of Modern Languages student awards page.

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Cassidy Chreene Whittle