Western Kentucky University

Department of Modern Languages: Alumni and Community


Our web site help inform students, alumni and others about what is going on in the department. We invite you to send us information about where you are and what you are doing that we could post in this section. Write to us: modern.languages@wku.edu.


Alumni information

Monica Allen
Major: Spanish
Minor: Russian
E-mail: mja1226@yahoo.com

Brittie Ann (Cole) Tidwell
Major: German
E-mail: tnbearhugger@charter.net

I have been teaching German in high school since August 1987. This would have never been possible without some marvelous teachers at Western. I owe eternal thanks to Dr. Thomas Baldwin. Without his teaching, support, and understanding, I do not think I'd be teaching today.

Julie Kempf Borders
Major: French, double major in Government
Minor: Business Administration
E-mail: jkborders@aol.com
Attended WKU From 1984-1988, earning a BA in French and Government.

"I went on the graduate school at Indiana University from 1988-90, earning a Master of Arts in French Instruction, a degree aimed at those wanting to teach French at high school level. There were some pedagogy and linguistics classes required, as opposed to it being a straight literature track. While there, I was an Associate Instructor, as were all language graduate students, teaching introductory level French classes. After IU, I married my husband, Harry, and moved to Lexington for one year. At the University of Kentucky, I took a couple graduate level French classes just for enjoyment and taught as an associate instructor there as well.

From there, we moved to Louisville. Then I completed classes to get an MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) at the University of Louisville. (If there is ever a chance a student would teach high school, I don't recommend going the backwards route I did, getting certified last!) I then did student teaching in French in a high school in Louisville. I taught French part-time for one year at a girls Catholic high school in Louisville before deciding to stay home to raise my children, four of them now, ages ten to three."

Gary Lee Cottrell
Major: Spanish
E-mail: glcottrell@charter.net
Attended WKU: 1975-80 BS, 1982-94 MA, 1984-8 ED.S

"I took the may term in Mexico- Spring 76 with Dr. Hutcher and Dr. Brown. Great trip!! Student teaching in Guatemala(1980) through arrangements with Dr. Nolan."

Barbara Koehler Higdon
Major: Spanish
Minor: English
E-mail: higdon5@aol.com
Attended WKU: 1983-86 BA, 90-91 MA in school counseling

"I am currently in my ninth year of teaching Spanish at Holy Trinity Lutheran School. I teach grades 1-6."

Judith Krish Krish
Major: Spanish
E-mail: j.k.krish@worldnet.att.net
Attended WKU from 1961-64, AB

"I recently retired after enjoying a career as a Spanish teacher/elementary librarian. Some of my teaching years were spent in Peru, Mexico, Aruba and Puerto Rico. I still enjoy travelling and am interested in other cultures and languages, but ofcourse, Spanish is my first love."

Stephanie Mashburn Santos
Major: Spanish
E-mail: amaurysantos@hotmail.com
Attended WKU from1987-1992

Greetings! I never knew how much learning Spanish would help me in life - but God did! I moved to south Florida in 1995 and have lived in Florida ever since. Most of my positions have been in Adjunct Teaching and higher education administration/student development positions. Currently I stay home with my two sons and love it! In 1998 I married my husband from the Dominican Republic and he has been the pastor of several hispanic churches over the last 8 years. I thought I knew Spanish until I had to use it ALL the time and then you realize how much you don't know. However, since I have used it on a daily basis for the last 8 years my husband says I'm fluent. We currently serve as missionaries with the Florida Baptist Convention serving the north-central portion of Florida. We work with English-speaking churches who want to start a language (any language) church. It is a wonderful position and allows us to encounter and interact with so many languages and cultures. Our children really benefit from the exposure and it is a blessing. Moving to Florida really caused me to improve my Spanish skills - Dr. Padilla and Dr. Pennington would be proud :) Also, marrying a hispanic helps too :) Suggestions: Thank you so much for creating this alumni website. I really hope it gets utilized to its potential. Thanks again.

Brian McMurtry
Major: Spanish major
E-mail: brian@mcmurtryfamily.net
Graduated from WKY in 1990

I'm very glad to see that the Modern Languages Department continues to grow and develop. I only wish that we'd had so many opportunities when I was a student there! While I was at Western, I only recall a handful of Spanish majors during those years. It's neat to see how the program has developed beyond the classroom to provide opportunities and events for students of foreign languages.

I graduated from WKU in 1990 with a degree in Spanish, and was a recipient of both the F.C. Grise and Walls Travel Award, and also served as the president of Sigma Delta Pi. The Walls Travel Award pretty much paid for my summer of study in the KIES program in Madrid- a life-altering experience for me.

My Spanish degree from WKU has served me well, as I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of Dr. Carol Brown, Dr. Eric Pennington, Dr. Luz Maria Umpierre, and Dr. Raul Padilla. I also was able to spend some time with Dr. Hatcher, although he had retired from full-time teaching by then.

I wanted to express my gratitude for the recognition of Dr. Carol Brown mentioned in the spring 2006 newsletter. Dr. Brown was like a father to me during my years at WKU, going far beyond the call of a University Professor. Not only did we attend the same church, but he took deep personal interest in me as a mentor. He was a gentleman of the highest character. I recall him stopping me in the hallway one day in my earliest days at Western, asking how my grades turned out for the previous semester. When I abashedly told him that I had made two C's (in Accounting and Radio Production), he sternly looked me in the eye, wagged his finger, and said, 'Never again.' It was a lesson that I would learn to appreciate. I graduated from WKU cum laude, but more importantly, he taught me to take every day and every opportunity seriously. He was a brilliant man, husband, and father whose life was cut way too short.

I recall my first Spanish Conversation class with Dr. Padilla. It was a rather unwieldy class of 20+ students, and was, in my opinion, too large for effective conversation. It was a very frustrating experience, as the class was dominated by 3 or 4 native speakers from Mexico and South America who would interrupt the poor American students attempting to assert themselves. Talk about an unfair advantage! At any rate, at the end of the semester, I returned to Dr. Padilla's office to ask him why I made a B in his class, also expressing my frustrations with the unfair advantage of the native speakers. (It was the only B that I ever made in Spanish). He looked at me quizzically, and responded, 'You didn't participate enough.' Well, I made sure that I was a blabbermouth in Advanced Conversation that next semester, and was happy to see that it resulted in an A!

My wife (also a WKU graduate) was born in Zamora, Spain, and grew up shuttling between Madrid and Valencia. Thanks to her dual-nationality, our children also have Spanish citizenship, and I am eligible to live and work permanently in Spain. My current job title is 'Network Engineer,' as I have worked in Information Technology for the past 5-6 years.

I've been brushing up on my Spanish listening comprehension again by listening to Radio Espaa over the Internet, as well as by watching CNN+, the Spanish version of CNN, also on the Internet. We are attempting to teach our boys Spanish by establishing the rule that no English is to be spoken at the dinner table, much to their dismay. J I suppose that it's forced learning, but I'm convinced that young children are the best learners of foreign languages. My wife also is teaching structured Spanish classes to our sons and several neighborhood children.

Jenny Murtz
Major: German
Minor: Child Development
email: Jenny.Murtz@anixter.com
Attended WKU: Aug. 1990 - May 1994.

"After WKU, I returned home to Chicago and got a job in day care. I was an assistant director and had responsibility for payroll, staffing, tuition collection, classroom management, cooking, van driving and many other tasks. It was a tough job, but at the end of the day the kids' smiles really made it all worth it. Well, it was worth it until I had to pay my rent, car payment etc, etc. Finally, in March of '96, I had to find a job with better pay.

I've been with Anixter since then, March of '96. I started out as the receptionist for the worldwide operations organization. I gradually moved into different roles, and for 3 years I was the order coordinator for our international company shipments between US and Asia/Pac. Currently, I support large projects for customers on a global basis. Currently, the largest project I support is in China.

Over the years here I have had the chance to deal with our offices in Germany, and I've spoken to several customers and utilized my German. Unfortunately, I'm out of practice and rusty, but it's amazing how quickly it does come back when I spend enough time on it.

I married my husband, Dave Randolph, on 27th July, 2002. Since our wedding, we've purchased a home and now reside in Arlington Heights, IL, which is a suburb northwest of Chicago. Some may recognize Arlington Park Race Track, which is a just a few mile north of my house. I return to Kentucky annually for the Derby, which I love doing. I missed last year, as we'd just purchased our house and money was tight. This year will be my 10th trek to the Downs, and I really can't wait!"

Charles J. Peach
E-mail: pecharles@usainteanne.ca
French major
Years at WKU: 1998-2001

After graduating from Western, I went on to earn an M.A. in French linguistics from Universit Laval in Qubec City, and a Ph.D. in French sociolinguistics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am currently a professor of French studies at Universit Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Elizabeth Scheiber
Double major in French and German
E-mail: escheiber@rider.edu
Attended WKU from 1986-1989

Greatly inspired by Dr. Nathan Love, Elizabeth Scheiber attended Indiana University-Bloomington where she earned M.A.'s in French and Italian literature and, in 2002, a Ph.D. in French literature. She currently resides in New Jersey where she is Assistant Professor of French and Italian at Rider University.

Patti Troutman
Major: French
Minor: Spanish
E-mail: pet@duo-county.com
Graduated from WKU in 1978

Timothy M. Waldorf
Attended WKU from 1979-1982
E-mail: waldorftimo@yahoo.com
Postal Address:
Calle 9 Número 1717 Depto. 4
La Plata (1900) Buenos Aires Argentina

My degree was a B. A. in Spanish, Latin American Studies and Economics. While at WKU, I served as the student representative on the Latin American Studies Council. I have lived in La Plata, Argentina for over 13 years, where I teach ESL and have taught Economics at Lincoln University College (La Lucila, Argentina) and Universidad Nacinal de La Plata (La Plata, Argentina in the International Marketing Masters Program). I have been married for over 11 years to the best wife in the world, Mnica Adriana Violante and we have two wonderful daughters, Brenda Elizabeth Waldorf (9) and Josefina Joana Waldorf (6). God bless WKU for the great education I received and keep up the good work.

 Last Modified 7/23/13