The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Costa Rica Center

Alumni Update

Faculty Spotlight

Frau Elisabeth Buxton

Jennifer BrownML:    Now that you are retiring after teaching at Whitworth for 17 years, what are your plans?

EB: I will spend most of the summer in my backyard, watching the grass grow. I am planning to do a lot of reading that I haven’t had time for. There are quite a number of books that I have ordered from the library in the last 15-18 years that I want to read or reread.   

ML: Do you have any pets?

EB: Yes, I have a kitty cat. She is very affectionate and good company. Her name is “Kitty Cat.” She adopted me a few years ago.

ML: What are your favorite types of movies or television programs? 

EB: Usually I only watch national and local news. My favorite movie is “Casablanca.” I also like to watch figure skating; my favorite skater is Michelle Kwan.

ML: What would be a simple traditional German meal that you think students could prepare?

EB: Pork roast, red cabbage and Spaetzle (noodles from Southern Germany)

ML: What do miss most about living in Germany? 

EB: I miss the sound of church bells on Sunday mornings. 

ML: How has your teaching of German changed through the years?

EB:  The main change in teaching at the university level has been that classes used to be teacher-centered. Now we try to have a student-centered classroom. We try to give students the opportunity to communicate in the target language in groups and pairs as much as possible in a non-threatening environment.

ML: How would you like Whitworth students and faculty to remember you?

EB:  I am hoping that I made a difference in the lives of my students. I am hoping that I was able to tell them about or show them a different culture, and that I was able to teach them about German/European history. I hope that some of them stepped out of their comfort zone by having me take them to Europe. 

ML: What is your favorite German fairy tale?

EB: I don’t have one particular favorite fairy tale. The ones that I like more are the lesser well-known tales. Everyone knows “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Hansel & Gretel,” etc. Conventional wisdom is that they show stereotypical roles, that the male goes out to slay dragons, whereas the female stays at home, spinning and weaving. However, the fairy tales that appeal to me are those in which girls go out into the world to rescue their brothers, who through a curse may have been changed into ravens or swans. The girls have to overcome obstacles and perhaps sacrifice life and limb to save the lives of their brothers. 

The Modern Languages Department wishes much health and happiness to Elisabeth and thanks her for her many years of service to Whitworth and its students.

Happy retirement, Elisabeth!

Costa Rica Center Update

By Lara Lichten, ’10, Volunteer Student Coordinator

In its inaugural year, the Whitworth Costa Rica Center has welcomed various student groups, hosted group retreats and conferences, including the Central America Study Program (CASP) students, and become “home” to a number of Whitworth staff members. After finishing my studies at Whitworth in December 2010 (majoring in Spanish and cross-cultural studies), I have been blessed to call the CRC mi casa, arriving at the center in January, at the same time as the first-ever Jan Term Honors Freshman group – what a joy to be a part of that community! I’ve been here since then, working as a CRC volunteer, a.k.a. “24/7.” I have loved serving in a variety of capacities at the CRC.

For the spring semester we had19 undergrad and one grad student living with Costa Rican host families and coming to the CRC campus for classes Tuesday-Friday, while participating in a variety of internships in the community on Mondays (at a restaurant, a bakery, a hotel, non-profit organizations, tutoring and teaching English, as well as in ecological capacities). These students hail from a variety of areas of academic disciplines. Studying at the CRC is a unique opportunity for students to take their Whitworth courses within the context of another culture. Courses offered this semester included Spanish (102, 202 & 302), Latin American Culture (Spanish), Latin American Women Writers (Spanish), Conservationism and Human Rights (biology), IDS 301 - Latin American Studies, and Core 350, with discussion groups in Spanish and English. We love to use our campus up here atop our mountain, but we also enjoy opportunities to organize field trips around Costa Rica, and greater Central America, for academic purposes.

In March our CRC semester students took a weeklong trip to Nicaragua, where they studied history, economics, politics, and themes of poverty in the area for CORE 350. In April, as a part of the biology module, we traveled to the Caribbean coast to visit a self-sustaining farm in Punta Mona; we also went to the Pacific Coast to study mangroves and stay with host families in a small fishing community, where we observed a fishing cooperative.

The Costa Rica Center semester program offers unique academic opportunities, and also presents Whitworth students with the opportunity to grow within a different community setting. In the words of one student at the CRC, “A small group placed together over a protracted amount of time and being ‘stuck’ together fostered the ambiance of grace and understanding.” Living in community is something we continually grapple with and develop – among students, staff, and our Costa Rican families and neighbors.

A semester at the CRC is packed with classes, travel, exploration of Costa Rica’s mountains, beaches, rural communities and small cooperatives, time with host families, and is supplemented with homestays and guest lectures from a variety of speakers. The intercultural experience encourages Whitworth students to continually seek an education of mind and heart, broadening their worldview perspectives and learning to dig deeper and ask hard questions to find their own way to fulfill needs that are identified.

If students are seeking a study abroad experience, but still need to fulfill key Whitworth general education requirements and would like to remain in the Whitworth community, they should consider spending a semester at the CRC. For further details, contact “Whitworth North” CRC Liaison Kim Hernandez at

2011 Jan Term and spring semester Costa Rica Center photos:

Jan Term Freshman Honor’s Group

Spring semester students

Jan Term work-service project

Spring semester swimming Spring semester studying Spring semester studying

Jan Term – a day at the beach

Alumni Update

Amy Whisenand, ’09

Thanksgiving in Germany With Frau Buxton in her hometown 

I graduated from Whitworth in 2009 with a major in philosophy, and minors in German, music, English, and theology, and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to Germany. The fall after graduation I moved to Neumünster, a small town in Schleswig-Holstein (the northernmost Bundesland of Germany). Neumünster’s nickname is the “cold corner,” because it lies about halfway between the Baltic and North Seas, and it gets the cold winds from both. Its nickname stands in stark contrast, though, to the generosity and kindness of the people I encountered and worked with. 

The English Teaching Assistant Fulbright program in Germany aims to foster intercultural understanding by providing German students with access to a native English speaker. As an ETA, I was also selected to be one of about 20 teaching assistants who participated in the Diversity Initiative. The Diversity Initiative participants were sent to schools whose students would have little to no chance of meeting a native English speaker.

While in Neumünster, I worked as a teaching assistant in a Berufschule, i.e. a vocational school, under the supervision of a mentor-teacher. My mentor-teacher and I team-taught lessons, which allowed students to have more speaking time. I also taught some topic courses and developed lesson materials for the school. I also founded an after-school English club where students had the opportunity to speak, hear, and learn English in a more informal setting. We played games, sang songs, discussed current issues, and read literature…even a little E.A. Poe.

Teaching and living in Germany enabled me to take the liberal arts education I received at Whitworth and learn to apply and live it. Upon arrival in Germany, I discovered that most of the other Fulbrighters had majors in German; I only had a minor. But that minor had given me such a good foundation that with hard work, I found myself able to communicate and, more importantly, to live well. Through this experience, I learned to love teaching and language, but I also learned a deeper compassion for people. I plan to attend Princeton Theological Seminary next and want to pursue teaching and writing as ministry.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Class of 2011: Mark Your Calendars for the Modern Languages Senior Breakfast

This annual event is Saturday, May 14, from 9:30-11 a.m., in Seeley Mudd Chapel, and is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. Please see Vicki for announcements to send home.

The deadline to R.S.V.P. is Tuesday, May 10, with payment due May 13.

Positions Available through Trinity Christian College

  • Director of marketing and recruitment for semester in Spain, starting summer 2011
  • Student ministries coordinator, living and working in Seville, Spain, starting Aug. 2011

Contact Vicki Daggy at 777.4765 or for more information.

Summer Positions Available with the Chijnaya Foundation

The Chijnaya Foundation ( invites applications for its 2011 summer volunteer program. The program offers an excellent opportunity for students to learn about Andean culture through six-week immersion in a rural village on the Peruvian Altiplano, living with a campesino family while doing volunteer and/ or research work.

The cost is extremely reasonable and the work is rewarding. This program began in 2006 with eight volunteers living and working in the community of Chijnaya. In 2007, ’08, ’09, and ’10, we had 17, 10, eight and two volunteers, respectively, and we placed some of those volunteers in other communities on the Peruvian Altiplano: Ccotos, Pucara, Tuni Grande, Tuni Requena, and Coarita.

While most of our volunteers have been students at Pomona College, we have had volunteers from other colleges and universities, including Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College, Pitzer College, Whitman College, Bates College and the University of Pennsylvania. As we continue this volunteer program, we welcome applications from students at colleges and universities throughout the United States and from other countries. Contact Vicki Daggy at 777.4765 or for more information.

Paid Summer Internships Available with a Fortune 50 Company

Fourteen internship positions in the Pacific Northwest are available for summer 2011. State Farm Insurance offers a 10-week paid summer internship program in the areas of claims, marketing, and agency field offices.

  • Locations: DuPont, Bothell, South Seattle, and Spokane operations centers (Washington); Billings operations center (Montana); Salem, Portland, and Eugene operation centers (Oregon); and the Boise operations center (Idaho).
  • Qualifications:
    • 3.0 GPA or higher
    • Candidates must graduate within Dec. 2011 – June 2012
    • Majors: Business administration, liberal arts, communications, insurance, management, marketing, risk management, sales and Spanish
    • Qualified through pre-employment testing
    • Bilingual skills a plus

As a State Farm intern, you would have the opportunity to contribute to our success as the nation’s premier provider of insurance and financial services through utilization of your unique knowledge and skills.

The summer internships will include a variety of experiences such as professional work assignments, job shadowing to learn about various career paths, community service opportunities, and professional development events.  The internship also includes a Business Challenge Project, in which you will work together as a team to solve a real business challenge we face in our organization or industry. At the end of the summer you will present your research and recommended solutions to an audience of company leadership.

Interested candidates can create an online profile and submit an application at For the specific job-posting number, e-mail Vicki Daggy at

Tutoring Available
Spanish tutoring: Available five nights a week during spring semester, through finals week. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

Sunday-Thursday, 7-9 p.m. in the library, second floor, room # 208. Sign-ups are available and encouraged.

French tutoring: Available three nights a week during spring semester, through finals week. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 8-9 p.m. in Westminster #142. Sign-ups are available and encouraged.

German, Chinese and Japanese tutoring is available by appointment. Please contact Vicki Daggy for more information at or 777.4765.

Vol. 7 Issue 1 May 2011

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the modern languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

Modern Languages Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Bendi Benson Schrambach
Editor: Victoria Daggy
For student employment information, please contact Vicki Daggy, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

Scripture of the Month

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Spanish: Proverbios 3:5-6 Confía en el SEÑOR de todo corazón, y no en tu propia inteligencia. Reconócelo en todos tus *caminos, y él allanará tus sendas.

Sprueche 3:5-6 Verlaß dich auf den HERRN von ganzem Herzen und verlaß dich nicht auf deinen Verstand; sondern gedenke an ihn in allen deinen Wegen, so wird er dich recht führen.

Proverbes 3:5-6 Mets ta confiance en l'Eternel de tout ton cœur, et ne te repose pas sur ta propre intelligence. Cherche à connaître sa volonté pour tout ce que tu entreprends, et il te conduira sur le droit chemin.