2024 Global Languages and Cultures Award Recipients

Wednesday, April 24 | 4-5 p.m. | Pollock House

Lester Beberfall and Robert Berens Study Abroad Scholarship


Molly Cujak

Molly Cujak is a junior majoring in Spanish and minoring in Law and Policy. She received a Global Scholar certificate this past December. She has been a two-time recipient of the Daniel Raaf scholarship and was selected for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, funded by the US Department of State. She is currently studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain.

Clifford W. and William C. Sanders Memorial Award

Owen Pergolski

I am majoring in Microbiology and French at UW Oshkosh. Studying in Lille, France was one of my favorite college experiences. I look forward to using French in my future career. After UW Oshkosh, I plan on continuing my education at LSU’s School of Public Health in New Orleans.

Excellence in French Award

Brianna Hone

I am a Radio-TV-Film major with two certificates in digital marketing and advertising. Currently, I am the digital content manager for our campus radio station, 90.3 WRST. I am from Green Bay, Wisconsin and graduated from De Pere High School in 2022. In my free time I enjoy reading, listening to music, and playing board games. After graduation I would like to work for a local radio station in either digital content, programming, or as an on-air host! 

David James

I was born in Chicago and raised in the Appleton area. My major is in Mechanical Engineering Technology. I currently speak two languages fluently (English and Spanish) and am currently learning French. I work as a welder and metal fabricator for a company in Neenah. I am married to my beautiful wife, Molly, and we are expecting a baby in May.

Bryan Lemke

I am currently a senior here at UWO. I have taken French since I was in 6th grade. I plan to become a French teacher once I graduate. I love to learn about the French culture and teach my dog French commands! I am very excited to be receiving the certificate of excellence in French! 

Elizabeth Walla

I’m completing degrees in French and International Studies. I started learning French after a long-term exchange experience and my love for the language and culture has only continued to grow. I’m looking forward to pursuing a career in which I can continue to explore diverse cultures and experiences. 

Excellence in German Award

James Kedzuch

I am a history major at the Oshkosh campus at UWO, expecting to graduate in 2026. I first began studying German in my junior year of high school in 2020. My current pursuit is to become a historian in aviation or technological history. I am also a member of Chi Alpha campus ministries and the Oshkosh Gaming Society. My advice to all language learners everywhere is to listen to music you enjoy in a new language.

Dakota Morin

I am a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in advertising. I wanted to study a language because I think stepping out of our comfort zone is important in learning. German has been an educational and at the same time a fun journey which has opened doors for me to meet and talk to new people. I hope I can utilize this skill set in my personal and professional life for years to come.

Benjamin Yost

I am currently in my second semester at UWO majoring in geology and minoring in German. I came to UWO because of dissatisfaction with my choice of career path, that being working as a welder/laser machine operator. Since I did not find that type of career fulfilling or desirable long term, I decided to go to a four-year college to get a degree in one of the sciences, which ended up being geology. I have been learning German ever since I was in middle school, on and off over a decade at this point. I would say I am very impressed with my development in understanding of the German language over time and am looking forward to improve it even further and potentially expand my horizons into learning a second foreign language during my time at UWO.

Excellence in Japanese Award

Samuel Ewert

I’m a senior graduating with a major in Radio-Tv-Film and a minor in Communication Studies. As an avid fan of all types of music, my specific interest in the Japanese underground indie/rock scene led me to taking the Japanese course here at UW Oshkosh. Even though I originally began taking the language classes for fun on the side, they soon grew into some of my favorite courses I’ve taken in my time here. Thanks to both of the wonderful professors in the department, I’ve not only grown to finally be able to understand the lyricism behind some of my all-time favorite songs, but have also learned to appreciate the depth, beauty, and complexity underlying the Japanese language.

Richard Zupan

My name is Richard Zupan, and I hail from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Currently, I’m in my 4th year at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Initially, I came to Oshkosh with the intent to study biology and dentistry, but I transitioned over to Japanese Studies. I recently returned to the United States after spending about a year abroad at Seijo University. After graduation, I intend to return to Japan to further my studies and pursue long-term work opportunities. My passion for Japanese Studies stems from a simple curiosity about the language. With no prior connection to Japan or Japanese culture, I originally used it as an excuse to get back into school after taking a short break due to the pandemic. What started as an excuse quickly turned into a deep affection for my studies and a desire to learn more. Thanks to this, I was able to remind myself just how enjoyable it is to challenge myself. I wouldn’t have gotten this far if it weren’t for those around me supporting me, I truly am thankful.

Excellence in Spanish Award

Diana Enríquez

I am from Appleton, Wisconsin. I am a senior, and I am majoring in Nursing and minoring in Spanish. I am a member of the Student Organization of Latinos, as well as the Multicultural Student Coalition. Being part of these organizations has given me the opportunity to meet and work with some wonderful people. I have also grown closely with some of these individuals, whom I am still friends with. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. We enjoy going out for dinner, watching movies, and shopping together. Lastly, after school, I hope to begin my dream job of becoming a Pediatric Nurse. 

Emily Heider

I am a second-year student at UW Oshkosh. My majors include Biomedical Science and Spanish (Liberal Arts Emphasis), and I intend to achieve a minor in music as well. With this education, I will apply to veterinary school following my undergraduate studies and advance my knowledge of the Spanish language and culture to better communicate with family, friends, and other Spanish speakers. In addition, my hobbies include music and the piano, soccer, spending time outdoors, and working with animals such as dogs, large animals, and birds. Thank you for this honor and recognition in receiving the Certificate of Excellence in Spanish. The enjoyment and admiration that I experience in relation to the Spanish professors, course content, and peers at UW Oshkosh inspire me to continue engaging in the Spanish program. 

Kiara Hess

I’m Kiara, originally from Oshkosh, and I’ve chosen to continue my education journey at UW-Oshkosh. As a sophomore but with enough credits to qualify as a junior, I’m on track to graduate in May 2025 with a major in HR and a minor in Spanish. Outside of academics, I thrive on traveling, hitting the gym, and soaking up the outdoors with loved ones. My journey with Spanish spans about 8 years, including a transformative study abroad experience last summer in Salamanca, Spain that deepened my appreciation for the language and culture. If it weren’t for my accelerated graduation plan, I’d definitely pursue a double major in Spanish—and I wholeheartedly encourage others to do the same!

Vivian Lukas

My name is Vivian Lukas, and I’m a senior at UW Oshkosh. I am an Honors student and History major, and I will be getting certificates in Spanish and Museum Studies. After graduating, I plan to travel, utilizing and expanding my skills in different languages. I am currently learning Spanish and Korean, and I intend to learn other languages as I strive to be multilingual. I have studied Spanish in school for over eight years, and I look forward to continuing my journey outside of the classroom. 

Lorena Reid

¡Hola! My name is Lorena Reid and I am a senior psychology major at UW Oshkosh. I will also be graduating in May 2024 with certificates in Behavioral Science and, of course, Spanish! I have had a desire to learn Spanish since I was very young. Ideally, I would have learned it natively from my grandfather who came from Puerto Rico, but he unfortunately passed away right before I was born. My mother always kept our Puerto Rican culture alive through food and other traditions, but she couldn’t teach us Spanish, since she could only understand the language. I vowed that I would learn Spanish to connect more with my culture (as well as other Hispanic

Ivonne Valencia

I am a non-traditional student who is pursuing a major in nursing along with a minor in Spanish. Given my minor in Spanish, I aim to serve as a bridge in the medical field, facilitating communication and overcoming language barriers. I am a mother of two lovely daughters with whom I love spending time and creating cherished memories while not studying.