To hear senior Kimberly Annas talk about German is to be in the presence of someone who loves learning and has found their true calling in life.
As a high school student, Annas took her first German class and she was hooked, because she loved German linguistics. Unfortunately, the funding for her high school’s German program was cut shortly after Annas began the study of German. Instead of reducing her passion for the language, Annas became motivated to continue the study of German in college.
Once at Wake Forest, Annas continued her study of the language and credits the German department’s faculty for cultivating her passion for both the language and culture.
“The department is so great and I have close relationships with the professors,” Annas said. “They are so helpful, generous, and passionate about what they teach.”
This respect and admiration is shared by Annas’ professors and advisers.
“Kimberly is an extraordinarily good departmental citizen who has never taken the easy way out with classes,” said Dr. Alyssa Howards, chair of the German department.
After declaring a German minor during her sophomore year, Annas studied abroad at the Flow House in Vienna, Austria during the spring semester.
Her favorite memory from abroad was attending a May Day festival in Vienna. She dressed in traditional German dress, danced traditional German folk dances and was even named the guest of honor. For Annas, studying abroad came to define her time at Wake Forest and shape her worldview.
“The opportunity to study abroad can teach you so many things about yourself and how you relate to unfamiliar environments. It also shows you that the world is much bigger than Wake, but smaller than you think,” Annas said.
After a semester full of unique cultural experiences, she decided to dedicate herself to the language and she declared a German major. Since declaring her German major, Annas has loved every minute of her time in the German department. Her favorite classes include History of the German Language, as well as her German literature classes.
Last summer, Annas pursued her interest in German outside of the classroom. She received a research grant from URECA to study the portrayal of male gender roles in nineteenth century German literature.
Annas sees many benefits of studying German beyond mastering the language.
“German pairs well with other majors, like business or political science because Germany has one of Europe’s strongest economies and is an important country in world politics,” Annas said.
In addition to her German major, Annas is also a Sociology major with a concentration in social determinants of health and wellbeing and an interdisciplinary writing minor. Annas has also been an active member in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Delta Phi Alpha (the German Honor Society). She was also a Writing Center tutor.
Annas says she will miss the people she has come to love over the past four years the most afer leaving Wake Forest. Annas will also miss the traditions of Shag on the Mag and Lovefeast.
As Annas prepares to graduate in May, she leaves two pieces of advice for Wake Forest students. First:“Try everything. If you have an interest in something, don’t be afraid to explore it.”
Second, Annas seeks to remind students of the importance of finding your own path at Wake Forest. “Try not to let others’ definition of success shape your thoughts of your own self-worth,” Annas said.
While Annas is unsure of her immediate plans after graduation, she plans to apply to doctorate programs for German Studies this fall. Eventually, she hopes to become a German professor.
“We hope very much to see her as a professor of German,” said Howards, speaking on behalf of the German department. “She has this sense of calm and a good sense of humor that would make her a great professor.”