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MCLLC Alumni News

Victoria Ballengee (Japan Studies)

Victoria will be teaching English in Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan at Ichinomiya Elementary and Taga Elementary as a part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET).

Regarding the JET Program and her time at UK, Victoria said: "The JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program is an opportunity for individuals to live and work in Japan, promoting international exchange and teaching English. The program receives about 5,000 applications each year, with about 1,000 selected participants.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The University of Kentucky prepared me for this experience by providing a well-rounded education, cultural awareness, and language skills, which have been invaluable in my role as a JET participant. During my time at UK, I served as a language assistant tutor and an intern at Lafayette High School mentioned by Mrs. Mariko Barns. I also participated in other activities, such as partnering with visiting exchange students from Yamanashi University and entering the Bluegrass Area Speech Contests every year. These experiences have undoubtedly prepared me for the JET application process.

I owe it to the faculty of the UK Japan Studies department - Dr. Koji Tanno, Dr. Doug Slaymaker, Dr. Miyabi Goto, Dr. Akiko Takenaka, Dr. Joannah Peterson, Dr. Keiko Tanaka- for always going above and beyond for me throughout the years. They have all impacted me personally, professionally, and academically. It has been such an honor to be under their mentorship and I will never forget all they have done for me.”                                                                                                                                                           

Ethan Byrd (Classics)

Ethan, who earned his Masters in Classics in 2023, will be going on to teach Latin at a private school in Smyrna, Georgia. 

Reed DeMarco (Classics)

Reed recently received the Glenn M. Knudsvig Award for Outstanding Latin Teaching in Michigan Secondary Schools.

This from Reed: “The Outstanding Latin Teacher Award was established in 1981 and was renamed to honor the memory of Professor Glenn M. Knudsvig in 1999. The annual recipient is a secondary-level Latin teacher within the State of Michigan. Recipients are selected from among nominations submitted by UM undergraduate and graduate students, UM Latin faculty, and instructors at the secondary and college level.

After leaving Kentucky in 2009, Reed finished his high school teaching certification at Grand Valley State University in 2010 and was hired full-time to teach Latin at Brother Rice High School, a prestigious all-boys Catholic school in the metro-Detroit area, shortly after getting certified. He has been teaching a full load of classes there for the past 13 years and is proud to be a catholic educator. Most importantly, he values the chance to connect to students through the content area of Latin. Reed has also moderated an active chapter in JCL and has served as state chair for Michigan Junior Classical league for the past eight years. Reed is very thankful for the professors at Kentucky and his time as a Teaching Assistant which allowed him to fine-tune his skillset before entering the teaching field at the secondary level.” 

Matthew Edwards (German Studies)

Matthew has accepted a PhD opportunity at the University of Arizona in Tucson in Transcultural German Studies with funding for 4 years.

Parks Mason (German Studies)

Parks has committed to the PhD program at the University of Michigan and was awarded a Zvi Y. Gitelman fellowship in Judaic Studies.

Esteban Arango Casas (Classics) 

Esteban has accepted a PhD opportunity in Classics at the Ohio State University. 

Reflecting on his time at UK, Esteban said this: "Studying in the University of Kentucky was the opportunity of a lifetime. I not only got the chance to get a M.A. in Classics, but also to write my thesis in Latin. This program really helped me improve my active Latin skills. Moreover, being able to study Classical and Neo-Latin authors, gave me the chance to see how the Classical tradition of Greece and Rome was kept alive across the centuries in texts written by men born long after the fall of the Roman Empire. Nonetheless, I can say without a doubt that the most rewarding experience was the chance to find and write about Neo-Latin authors who were born in my country, Colombia. Now it is clear to me that there is a close link between Latin and education in my country, and that there are countless authors and works written in Latin waiting to be discovered. I will soon begin my PhD in Classics at the Ohio State University, where I hope to continue my research on Colombian Latin." 

John Lambert (Classics)

John, recent alumnus (University Scholar, B.A. and M.A. in Classics) and current student at the UK Law School, won Second prize in Certamen Poeticum Nubicentauricum, the First International Competition for Speculative Poetry and Short Prose in Latin. 

Johnna Warkentine (Russian Studies)

Johnna, a 2023 dual degree MCL/Russian and Linguistics graduate, was published in the inaugural issue of UK's undergraduate research journal, Aperture. Her essay discussed her research on the audio-visual materials of the Zislin Collection, a literary archive of writers Marina and Anastasia Tsvetaeva, donated to UK Libraries two years ago.