MA student in German Studies as of 2016

BA, Pacific Lutheran University, Sept. 2010 – May 2014


I am an MA student in German Studies from Washington state.  I graduated with a BA in German and Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. I studied for a semester in Freiburg im Breisgau while at PLU.

Awards and Fellowships

Professional Development

Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Sept. 2016
Professional Development session for graduate students
University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Other Activities

Member of UBC Sikh Students’ Association

My Psychology Capstone (consisting of a final paper and a poster presentation at PLU’s Psychology Capstone Conference, Spring 2014), “The Role of Language and the Self in Biculturalism”: A Literature Review,” examined the idea that individuals – “multiculturals,” or “biculturals” in the context of the theory and related publications – can possess multiple networks of culturally-bound, situationally-dependent knowledge. These networks are closely connected to language, which is the dominant “trigger” for the switch from one cultural frame to the other (a person can only ever be in one cultural frame at any given instance). Research suggests that this theory, called cultural frame switching (CFS), extends to self and identity, and even to personality, which is generally conceived of as being an overarching, situationally-static thing. I also explored a related theory called Bicultural Identity Integration (BII), which examines the differences between biculturals in terms of their perception of the relationship between the two cultures they identify with. High biculturally integrated individuals (“high BIIs”) and low biculturally integrated individuals (“low BIIs”) both identify highly with both cultures, but high BIIs perceive their cultures as compatible, and tend to self-identify as belonging to a combined, third, “hyphenated” culture, such as Mexican-American or Indo-Canadian.  Low BIIs, on the other hand, perceive their two cultures as markedly different, often in opposition to one another (Benet-Martínez & Haritatos, 2005). They report difficulty in being both at once, and that they feel as if they have to make a choice (Benet-Martínez et al., 2002). Low BIIs’ high awareness of the differences between the two results in a source of internal conflict.  Instead of identifying as hyphenated, they will instead identify as “a Mexican in America,” for example.  What is most interesting about low BIIs is that, unlike high BIIs who “follow the rules” of CFS, so to speak, they experience a reverse-priming effect (Benet-Martínez et al., 2002).

I would like to see this research on CFS and BII, which has primarily focused on East Asian and Mexican cultures in a North American setting, be extended to look at Turkish-Germans.  My current interests are related to this hope, but are taken from a literary standpoint: I am interested in how Turkish-Germans create their identity and view their two cultures. I am also interested in whether this cross-cultural psychological notion of multiculturalism fits in with the German notion of Kultur – does it contradict the notions of multiculturality/interculturality/transculturality/‘third space’ that are present in Germany today and in the literature of non-ethnic German German-speaking authors?  This has led to an interest in authors like Senocak, Özdamar, Tawada, Schami, among others, who directly address the concept of identity-creation and -recreation and conflict in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

My German Capstone (consisting of a final paper and a power point presentation at PLU’s Languages and Literature “Capstone Conference,” Fall 2013), “Geizig oder sparsam? Simpel oder schlau?: The changing image of the Swabians and their dialect in Germany,” focused on the development of Swabian identity as it related to the portrayal of the Swabians in “Die sieben Schwaben” by the Brothers Grimm. I examined the role of the dialect (in comparison to Standarddeutsch) in the portrayal of the “simpel Schwab,” and how this image (and the dialect) has been turned on its head through the use humor in Swabian culture, particularly in the realm of Volkstheater. I also looked at how pride in their dialect remains, despite the historically negative reaction to it by non-Swabian Germans.  I would like to expand upon this concept, however it has taken a “back seat” to my interest in Turkish-German culture and literature.

The German side of my family are Russlanddeutsche (Germans-from-Russia), specifically from the Glückstal and Hoffnungstal villages in the Black Sea (Ukrainian-Moldavian border) region. In the late 19th-early 20th century they fled “South Russia” and settled in McPherson County, South Dakota.  This familial background has led to an interest in Russlanddeutsche culture and dialect, in both North and South American and in Germany; this heritage is also a reason for my interest in Swabian Mundart and identity – my German Vorfahren having originated in the Stuttgart Regierungsbezirk.

I also have an interest in the Icelandic language, the sagas, and Norse mythology, as well as the role of folklore in the works of Henrik Ibsen.

Research Experience

Research Assistant, Fall 2012
Research supervisor: Dr. Jon Grahe
Project: “Psychological Data from an Exploration of the Rapport / Synchrony Interplay Using Motion Energy Analysis”
Psychology Department, Pacific Lutheran University
Description: I assisted in data collection and video coding for the projects of fellow students Andrew Nelson and Kelsey Serier. See:

Currently Teaching