Paula J. Hanssen
MA German, 1986
My career in German studies began at Texas Tech University. Not in the German Department, though (yes, it was a German Department); it began in the Music Department. As a Music major at Tech, I enrolled in a summer travel course in Austria. My piano teacher suggested I'd better take some German (she didn't let me know that Austrian German would be different - but I survived) so I did. Experiencing the camaraderie in a classroom learning another language was great fun, and spending time in Austria was even more interesting. A passion for German blossomed and altered the trajectory of my career towards things I had never dreamed of.
I got hooked on the Tech "German Play" and performed in three before finishing my BA. That really honed my German, and after a year studying in Vienna I came back for the MA in German. We had interesting courses and wonderful professors in literature and history of the language. I got scholarships to study abroad and polish my language skills through Fulbright and DAAD – and with the 'Texas Tech German Dancers.'
Teaching German for 20+ years has been a joy. The graduate coursework at Texas Tech helped me develop interesting, dynamic curriculum here at Webster University - whether performing a play with my students, or a radio play, or discussing the short story, or developing activities for a weekend immersion class, I often think about colleagues and my professors at Tech. It was a fitting preparation for what we now call 'Global Citizenship' and a great start for the PhD. in German from University of Illinois/Champaign.
Amanda Sellers, 2008
I came to Texas Tech as a junior, in 2008, to study Exercise Sports Sciences. I graduated in December of 2012 with my B.S. and a double minor in English and American Sign Language. ASL was always interesting to me because I am Hard of Hearing and it gives me a way to connect to my students. After completing my B.S. I returned to Tech to complete a post-bac in Elementary Education and a M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in 2014.
Teaching Deaf students is both a passion and a challenge. I enjoy helping my students learn about their language and culture. I work hard to share my passion and belief that ALL students can learn, and I firmly believe Deaf children can do anything that their hearing peers can do! I currently teach Deaf Ed for Lubbock ISD in the Regional Day School Program for the Deaf. I teach middle school at Smylie Wilson. While working on my degrees I earned a black belt in karate and it taught me about perseverance and determination both of which I try to instill in my students. I currently live in Lubbock, TX and I enjoy spending time with my friends and dog, Ace, reading, and learning more about ASL. Texas Tech helped me achieve my dream to become a teacher, and equipped me with the tools I need to be successful both in and out of the classroom.