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French graduates: Where are they now?

Wondering what you can do with a French major? Just see what some of our Hollins graduates have done?

Arts & Communication

Meredith Glisson

Meredith Glisson '05

With a double major in dance and French, Glisson moved to Lyon, France, to conduct research at the Centre Chorégraphique National with the Maguy Marin Dance Company. She is still living in France, where she has presented her own works at the "Il Faut Brûler Pour Briller," an international dance festival in Paris. Also, Glisson has worked for Subsistances, an artistic laboratory, and La Baraka/Abou Lagraa Dance Company, along with continuing her study at the C.C.N. She serves on the board of Chez Bushwick, Inc., an artist-run organization in Brooklyn, New York, which is creating a strong international exchange, especially in France, for artists to create work and have residencies in other countries. Glisson now lives and works in New York.

Elizeth Labega

Elizeth Labega '94

Elizeth Labega graduated from Hollins with a major in French, a minor in Spanish, and the solid foundation "I needed to attend the Monterey Institute of International Studies which, at the time, was the only place in the USA offering a master's degree in translation and interpretation. Two years of intense training plus a year off to study in a similar program in Belgium prepared me for life as a professional linguist. I passed the State Department Escort Interpreter exam and worked briefly as a telephone interpreter, then decided that working with the written word (translation) rather than the spoken word (interpretation) suited me best. Starting with a computer and a purchased list of translation company addresses, I set up shop in my apartment. Nontranslation assignments through temporary employment agencies and other part-time work kept me afloat until I had built my client base to the point where I could become a full-time translator, receiving my documents by fax or e-mail and returning my translations of those documents electronically. I passed the American Translators Association examination to become certified for French and Dutch into English translation, and my master's degree came a few years later when I translated a book on rock climbing as my thesis." Labega has been a freelance translator for 10 years.

Business

 

Joy Sparrowhawk '04

After graduation, Sparrowhawk took a position with the French National Education System as an English assistant at junior high school in the Picardie region. The faculty at Hollins told her about the position. Many French majors from Hollins have accepted similar posts. Living in a small town instead of the capital and functioning as a professional in France provided the perfect complement to Sparrowhawk's year as a student in the Hollins Abroad-Paris program. After her teaching contract ended, she decided to remain in France and worked for an American travel company in Paris. The extensive travel she did during her junior year in Paris was instrumental in landing the position. During the peak season, she spent at least half her time on the road, mostly in southern France and northern Italy and Spain, with occasional trips into other Western European locations. In Paris, Sparrowhawk worked as an office manager for a wine-tasting and corporate events company. She still lives in Paris and is currently working for the British Embassy in Paris.

Education/Higher Education

Allison Connolly

Allison Connolly '00

Connolly is associate professor of French at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. In spring 2007, she completed a Ph.D. in romance languages and literatures from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her academic experiences at Hollins, both on campus and with the Hollins Abroad-Paris program, prepared her well for graduate studies. She taught a variety of French courses at UNC-Chapel Hill and was the first graduate student to teach business French at the university, thanks to the year of business French she took at Hollins. In 2003, she was hired as an English lecturer at the University of Montpellier, where she taught courses in English and American literature, business English, and English language. Connolly received a Tanner Teaching Assistants' Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from UNC-Chapel Hill, which recognizes excellence in the teaching of undergraduates by graduate teaching assistants. More »

 

Lisa Gray Algazi '86

Algazi's first job after her senior year was as an English assistant in a lycée in Aix-en-Provence, France. One of the two recipients of the Hollins French department teaching assistantships in 1986, she was sent abroad to teach in a French high school. Algazi went to Paris on the Hollins yearlong program and later had the opportunity to do an internship in the French embassy in Washington, D.C., as one of her Short Term projects while at Hollins. While in France as an assistante, she applied for and won a full four-year scholarship to Stanford University, where she studied languages and linguistics for her master's degree. She was a doctoral student and teacher of French at Stanford University. Today, Algazi is a professor of French at Hood College.

Meredith Pierce Hunter

Meredith Pierce Hunter '07

Meredith Pierce Hunter graduated from Hollins with a double major in French and international studies in 1997. She has worked in Brussels, Belgium as an international trade specialist for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, at Harvard University as the director of advancement and planning at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, at the Women & Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and as the manager of principal gifts at the Center for Women & Enterprise, a New England nonprofit that helps women start their own businesses. In 2007, Pierce Hunter returned to Hollins as the vice president for external relations, overseeing marketing, development, and alumnae relations. In January 2010 Pierce Hunter left Hollins to oversee the alumni relations and annual fund program at London Business School, where she was also beginning work on her Ph.D.

Heather Latiolais Heather Latiolais Eure '05 received her doctorate degree in comparative literature from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2013. After graduating from Hollins as a French and art history major, she entered the graduate program in Austin, where she received her master’s degree in May 2007. The interdisciplinary approach of the French major at Hollins, incorporating literature, art, cultural studies, and other areas, helped cultivate Heather's interest in comparative literature. She currently works on nineteenth-century French, British, and Italian literature, women's and gender studies, fashion studies, and visual culture. Her experience with Hollins Abroad-Paris was crucial in developing the French language skills necessary for the study of French literature. Equally, Heather’s foreign language teaching internship at a Louisiana high school during Short Term of her junior year helped prepare her for various teaching roles at UT. Having taught French language as well as rhetoric and writing courses at UT, Heather is pursuing a career as a university professor.

Law & Government

Gwen Fernandez

Gwen Fernandez '06

"For me, choosing to be a French major was not a decision I made solely based on the desire to master a language, although that was one of my primary goals. I have always loved French culture and society. Through literature, film, and yes, even pop music classes, the professors at Hollins taught me to thoughtfully consider and accurately articulate my views on the political, social and cultural landscape of the francophone world. Professionally, my language skills and cultural awareness have come to my aid when interacting with French speaking visitors whether it be a tourist at our information desk or the French Ambassador on an official visit. Knowing a language is a valuable skill indeed!" Fernandez has worked at the Supreme Court and now works as an educator at the National Gallery of Art.

Social Service

Erin Kathleen Pettigrew

Erin Kathleen Pettigrew '03

At Hollins Pettigrew studied both French and international studies. She spent her junior year in Paris through the Hollins Abroad program and for her senior honors thesis explored the Francophone literature and sociolinguistic conflict of Algeria. She joined the Peace Corps as soon as she graduated and, thanks to her linguistic preparation and academic interest in the Maghreb, was sent to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in 2003. In a country without enough educators to teach the compulsory English courses in both middle and high school, Pettigrew's primary job was that of an English teacher for the secondary schools. She spoke Hassaniya, the country's Arabic dialect, and used her French on a daily basis and also when traveling throughout West Africa and the Maghreb. Erin completed her Peace Corps service in 2005. In the spring of 2008, she completed a master's program in African studies at UCLA and is now working on a Ph.D. in African history at Stanford University.