Alumni News

Featured Alumna: Katie Maxwell ’17

Katie Maxwell graduated in 2017 with majors in German and Environmental Studies and a Management Studies concentration.  Having studied German since elementary school, she knew early on that she wanted to make German studies a central focus of her degree. For Katie, German and Environmental Studies are a natural pairing: “German language and culture are great vehicles for understanding environmental sustainability. I knew the [German] major and my study abroad would allow me to have a comparative lens unlike many of my fellow Environmental Studies classmates.” Katie studied in Konstanz in spring of her junior year. She recalls of that experience: “It’s one thing to learn in a classroom how seriously Germans take their waste sorting. It’s another thing to live that; to be responsible for doing it properly. I was inspired by how normal protected bike lanes and renewable energy are across the country. I also appreciated the opportunity to audit and take courses for credit on environmental topics during my study abroad. There was one on eco-criticism I still reference now and again in my work.” Katie spent her first year after graduation in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps as a Winter Farmers Market Coordinator for Faith in Place. There, she managed 17 indoor winter markets individually hosted by Houses of Worship across Chicagoland. She has continued working for Faith in Place, now serving as the Communications Coordinator, managing the website and social media platforms, coordinating office volunteers, and supporting a statewide team hosting events and advocating for climate justice.

Katie Maxwell ’17, pictured center

When asked what advice she would give to students considering a German major or German Studies Concentration, she says, “My view is that if you’re interested in German language and culture (or any language for that matter), then make it a priority in a way that makes sense with your goals. Give yourself the chance to broaden your perspective beyond whatever cultural lens you had growing up. Foster relationships with German speakers, too. It means a lot to me that I am still friends with my high school exchange partner and with several of St. Olaf’s German Exchange students.” Curious to learn more about Katie’s experience? Reach out to her at

Department Newsletter

The fall 2022 edition of the German Department newsletter with updates about alumni is now available online! If you would like to add an alumni news item to the next newsletter, please send your news to Prof. Amanda Randall ( Be sure to update your contact information with the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations (

What have St. Olaf German graduates been doing?

Through the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, students can find more information about life after graduation from St. Olaf. They have prepared resources profiling recent alumni from the German program, including representative First Destinations and alumni contact information.

Scholarships, Internships, Assistantships:
Josie Goellner ’22 Fulbright fellowship (environmental studies), Germany
Ingrid Nelson
’21 Martin Luther Schule, Rimbach, Germany
Hanna Elstad ’20, Martin Luther Schule, Rimbach, Germany
Benj Wollant
’19, Fulbright fellowship (medical physics), Germany
Jamie Truax ’19, Fulbright English teaching fellowship, Luxembourg
Alex Kim
’19, Martin Luther Schule, Rimbach, Germany
Sophia Buchda
’18, Martin Luther Schule, Rimbach, Germany
Suzie Hoops 
’17, Fulbright Combined Fellowship, Linz, Austria
Daniel Heslep
’17, Martin Luther Schule, Rimbach, Germany
Christopher Alexander
’16, Martin Luther Schule, Rimbach, Germany
Sophia Magro
’16, Fulbright fellowship (psychology/educational studies), Germany
Bethany Guse ’16, USTA teaching assistantship, Austria
Katherine Henly
’07, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany
Kathryn Sederberg
’07, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany
Amber Griffioen 
’02, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany
Kristin Melby ’02, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany; U.S. Embassy (Berlin); Atlantik-Brücke
Emily Ruggles ’02, DAAD Scholarship, Germany
Leah Smith ’02, Fulbright fellowship, Germany
Mariah Stember ’02, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany; internship
Catherine Brown ’01, Fulbright fellowship, Germany
Elizabeth Kracher ’01, USTA teaching assistantship, Austria
Deborah Pagels ’01, Fulbright fellowship, Germany
Claire Adamsick ’00, Fulbright fellowship, Germany
Kristin Nordskog 
’98, Fulbright fellowship, Germany
Karrin Hanshew ’97, Fulbright fellowship, Germany
Johann Benson 
’95 Fulbright fellowship (mathematics), Austria
Elizabeth Bodemer ’95, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany
Luke Gulstrand 
’95, internship, Landesturnschule, Trappenkamp, Germany
John Olsen ’93, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany
Crystal Jacobs ’93, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany
Heidi Helmich ’92, Fulbright teaching assistantship, Germany

Graduate School:
Melanie Nevins ’20, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Minnesota
Martha Barth ’19, Sacred Music, University of Notre Dame
Brian Nevins ’19, Physics, Michigan State
Kirsten Young ’11, Medicine, Des Moines U.
Kathryn Sederberg ’07, German, U. of Michigan
Erik Grell
’05, German, U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Duke U.
Valerie Aggerbeck
 ’02, Law, U. of Minnesota
Michelle Baker ’02, Political Science, Monterey Institute
Amber Griffioen ’02, Philosophy, U. Iowa
Kristin Melby ’02, German and European Studies Program, Georgetown U.
Mariah Stember ’02, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas
Gillian Born ’95, Art History, New York University in Buffalo
Jeremy Dickinson ’94, Medicine, U. Iowa
Eric Schmaltz ’94, History, U. Nebraska
Kenneth Hanshew ’92, German, U. Illinois
Mary Smith ’92, Library Science, U. Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Jennifer Redmann ’89, German, U. Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Mark Hatlie ’88, Eastern European History, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Mary Beth Stein ’80, Folklore, Indiana U.

Industry, Trade and Nonprofit:
Will Seaton ’20, catastrophe modeler, Guy Carpenter
James Cleven
’19, translation and quality assurance, EPIC, Madison, WI
Katie Maxwell ’17, communications coordinator, Faith in Place
Bethany Guse
’16, WIDA Educator Outreach Specialist, Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Katherine Henly 
’07, events coordinator, Institute for Global Studies, U. Minnesota
Erik Grell ’05
, assistant director, Institute for Freedom and Community, St. Olaf College
Paul Cochran ’94, apprentice broker, Paine Webber
Reis Haase ’90, account manager, Lufthansa Airlines
Jan Bienhoff ’85, senior IT consultant, BT Americas
Stephen Frerichs ’85, agricultural economist, USDA

Secondary School and University Teaching:
Heather Vikla ’17, German Teacher, New Prague High School, New Prague, MN
Kathryn Sederberg
’07, Assistant Professor of German, Kalamazoo College
Brenna (Gardner) Meunier
’03, German Teacher, Sauk Rapids-Rice High
Kristin Melby 
’02, Dreilinden OberschuleWannsee, Germany
Peder Hanson
 ’02, Kai En English Training Center, Shanghai, China
Amber Griffioen ’02, Münster, Germany
Kristin Nordskog 
’98, private language school, Kiel, Germany
Jon Bang ’96, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Faribault, MN
Suzette Apling ’94, Omaha North High, NE
Crystal Wiemann ’93, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Faribault, MN
Heidi Helmich ’92, German and Biology, Menasha High School, WI
Jennifer Redmann 
’89, Associate Professor of German, Franklin & Marshall U.
Mark Hatlie ’88, history, government and English, Johannes Kepler Gymnasium, Weil der Stadt, Germany
Barbara Swanson 
’87, Willmar Jr. High, Willmar, MN
Linnea Swenson ’85, German and English, Hastings High School, MN
Mary Beth Stein ’80, Associate Professor of German, George Mason U.