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Erika Voeller

May 26, 2016
Photo of Erika Voeller

Year: Junior (Graduating December 2016)

Hometown: Buffalo, MN

Why did you choose to major or minor in German, Scandinavian, and Dutch?

I wanted to study German because my family heritage is German and because I’d enjoyed learning the language and traveling to Germany in high school. I have always been a communicator and I thought learning a second language offered a unique way to approach the communications industry, especially in today’s global economy. I was granted the College in the Schools German scholarship, which solidified that I was on the right path.

What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?

I have had so many great experiences, but I think my favorite overall has been having the opportunity to learn from professors visiting from Germany. They offer unique perspectives and have really helped me better understand not only the language, but the culture of Germany.

Are you pursuing any minors, internships or fields of interest outside your GSD major? How do you feel they enhance your study of GSD and/or your career plans?

I have a double major in GSD and strategic communication. Having a double major has significantly enhanced my opportunity for career development, because I am capable of working in a number of different fields. I can combine what I’ve learned in GSD with what I’ve learned in strategic communication and make a bigger impact on the communications industry; for example, maybe I’ll work at an agency in Germany someday!

What is something about the GSD department that most people wouldn’t know?

Our GSD department is flourishing, and combined with the scale of the U of M, one would think class sizes are large and overwhelming. However, I’ve taken classes in GSD with only 10 students! The smaller class sizes allow for greater conversation and collaboration; I love the small classroom environment.

What GSD courses would you recommend for majors? For non-majors who want to take a GSD course?

For majors, I recommend taking the topics course (GER 3510), because it changes every semester! Often these are taught by visiting faculty and they fill up fast, so you will have a truly unique experience. For non-majors, I highly recommend Green Culture, German Literature, and Global Debates (GER 3651), because it combines the ideologies of the sciences with the humanities, which doesn’t happen often, and I really learned a lot!

When you are not in class where can you usually be found on campus?

You can almost always find me somewhere in Johnston Hall. During my time as a student, I’ve become increasingly involved with the College of Liberal Arts, which is housed in Johnston. I work three student jobs and they’re all located in that building!