Freiburg Alumni Updates

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Updates received Fall 2015

Eric Brotten, 1999 Fall – Eric is currently Vice President of global healthcare products and solutions at Optum International. Optum is the healthcare technology and services division of UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune 14 Enterprise. Currently, he works with global stakeholders to develop and implement healthcare IT products and services in the UK, Signapore, Australia, and Brazil. He was nominated as a Minnesota Emerging Leader in Healthcare by Minnesota Business Magazine (  Eric is also a panel speaker at an upcoming healthcare event in Munich ( ). “Studying abroad in Freiburg was instrumental in helping me become culturally aware, land multiple internships abroad in Germany and The Netherlands, and land my current role in international healthcare.”

Updates received Spring 2015

Diane Lightburn Vollum, 1978 Fall – Diane is currently working in IT at large printing company after having worked for several years for a German owned firm as a translator and marketing communications manager. Diane’s experience in Freiburg underscored and heightened her love for travel and appreciation for other cultures. She has continued to travel and has been pleased to provide overseas experiences for her two children. On a side note, Diane married an alum of the IES Abroad Vienna program (he is good natured when she pokes fun at his Austrian accent.) She sends greetings to her fellow Freiburger alums.

Christine Purtell Deblock, 1989 Fall – Christine went on to get a Master's degree in German at the University of Illinois. A few years later she got a degree in Applied Linguistics and taught English as a Second Language for several years. Christine currently lives in Salem, Oregon with her family. She is still good friends with many of the people she met in Freiburg, and always encourages students to consider studying abroad.

Hayne Cope, 1995 Spring - Since studying abroad in Freiburg, Hayne attended the Masters of International Business program at the University of South Carolina and then began working at BMW in 1998. As of this update in 2015, he is currently on his third international assignment in Munich (his 2nd home!) with his family. Hayne has not been back to Freiburg, but would like to, especially if any other class of 1995 folks were there.

Updates received Fall 2014

Kristine Umlauf Gough, 2002 Fall – Kristine graduated from Hope College with a double major in German and International Studies. Then she attended an intensive course through Monterrey Institute for International Studies and received a Graduate Certificate in International Development. Upon returning home, Kristine began an internship as a Customs Associate at American Axle and Manufacturing while taking classes at Eastern Michigan University towards a Masters in German. In 2006, she began working at Full Spectrum Solutions, Inc. as a Residential and Commercial Sales Associate. During this time she took classes towards a Global MBA through University of Phoenix, and in 2009 she moved into her current International/Purchasing Manager role. Kristine has received local and national awards including Jackson Magazine Class of 30 and Under, Employee of the Year, NAED Class of 30 under 35, and recognition for work on lighting projects through my positions. She is an Adjunct Professor at Jackson College teaching Contemporary Business and is involved in many local and professional groups. Kristine is married with two young boys and they enjoy family time on the lake and snow skiing.  Her experience through IES Abroad Freiburg was remarkable and she uses examples from her studies abroad in everything she does.

Updates received Spring 2014

Rachel Steinhaus, 2011 Spring – Rachel’s semester abroad at Albert-Ludwig Universität through IES Abroad changed her life. After returning to the U.S., Rachel interned at Learning Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota. After graduation, she entered the field of International Education, first in an internship at Jacksonville University and, then, working as a Programs Assistant in the Towson University Study Abroad Office. Rachel is currently in a pre-study program at Hochschule Fulda in Germany preparing to start a two-year Masters program in Intercultural Communication and European Studies. After completing her studies, she hopes to continue promoting the amazing experience that is study abroad. “Thank you IES Abroad for the part you played in starting me on this journey!”

Updates received Fall 2013

Judith Evans Molinelli, 1970-71 – Judith graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1972 then went to Columbia University in NYC where she received a PhD in neurobiology. Judith married Gene Molinelli while both of them were at Columbia, and they have three terrific children. Judith and Gene celebrate 39 years of marriage this December!  Judith received a JD in patent law in 1993 and together with her husband practice in their firm, Evans & Molinelli, PLLC.  They are the proud grandparents of three grandchildren.  Judith is still close to her buddies Jill Lusk Kerns (1970-71) and Carol Good Wyman (1970-71) from her Freiburg days. She credits that time with making her independent, confident and of an international world view. Thank you IES!

Christine Becher Tennyson, 1989 Fall – Christine currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN and due to her experience learning a second language in Freiburg, she is now teaching English to non-native speakers.  

Devani Scheidler, 1990 Spring – Devani married James Kearney, 1989 Fall Heidelberg/1990 Spring Freiburg, are married with three children and living in Portland, OR. James is an attorney and Devani raises chickens and quail. They have returned a couple of times to Freiburg. Once in 1995, while living in Berlin, they returned and stayed on the floor of a random IES Abroad student's single dorm room, which was a huge improvement over their August 1990 stay in an IES Freiburg classroom accessed through a carelessly unlocked window. They plan to return to Freiburg in summer 2014 and stay in a hotel.

Updates received Spring 2013

Michael Gula, 1972 Spring/Vienna, 1971 Fall – Michael is the “Geschäftsführer” or Managing Director of Johnson Matthey in Nürnberg, Germany.

Updates received Winter 2012-13

Amy Berger, 1999-00 – After working in politics at both the state and federal levels for the past twelve years, Amy is currently an MBA student. She will be graduating in December 2013.

Bryan Thomas Mullins, 1992-93 Fall/Spring – Bryan is living in Pennsylvania.

Heather Leahy, 1993-94 Fall/Spring – Heather still keeps in contact with many of the fascinating people she met while studying with IES Abroad in Freiburg almost 20 years ago. The experience changed her life and she returned to Freiburg in 1996 to eventually become fluent in German. In 2002 she relocated to the Karlsruhe area for career purposes. That year she also met her husband and diverged from her planned path to settle down and raise a family. She has a great German husband and two wonderful daughters, ages 6 and 3. After being a full-time stay-at-home-mom for a few years, Heather trained to become a licensed Musikgarten educator in 2009. She teaches early childhood music and movement classes in English to a growing number of children each week. She has also developed and taught an English conversation class geared specifically to child care workers. Heather’s children are growing up bilingual despite the family language being German and she feels equally at home in both languages and cultures. Germany has become Heather’s home and it is where she longs to return to when travelling afar.

Polly Peeler, 2003 Fall – Polly is a paralegal at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP. She is planning a 10-Year Reunion for the Fall 2003 Freiburg program.  The reunion will be held in Chicago for a long weekend of reminiscing, catching up & making new memories from Friday, May 31 to Monday, June 3, 2013.

Christopher Day, 2010 Spring – Christopher is a German instructor at Riverfield Country Day School in Tulsa, OK.

Updates recieved Spring/Summer 2012

Ann Bender Salzmann and Bill Salzmann, 1962-63 - Bill and Ann were married in 1964, and have three grown children. For 20+ years, Ann taught English to international students at the University of Illinois. Their adventure in retirement has been to buy and “revive” a 230-year-old Fachwerk house in the small German village where Ann’s grandfather was born in Lahntal, about an hour north of Frankfurt. They have been spending spring and fall there, and feel very much welcomed into the life of the village.

Betty Wagner Kargacos, 1967 Fall - Betty retired from a second career as a physical therapist and is living in NH. She enjoys cross-country skiing in the winter, kayaking and hiking in the summer, and stays in touch with Carol, Josie, Val, and Georg. She would love to bring their whole group together again.

Marc Lauritsen, 1972-73  - Marc went on to study and teach at Harvard Law School, work as a poverty lawyer, run research programs on law and technology, and build a consulting practice around professional ‘knowledge systems.’ His current focus is on online decision support environments. He is an active musician.   Laura Strang Aume, 1985 Fall - Laura lives in Ohio with her husband, Victor, daughter, Gwenn (b. 1996) and son, Cameron (b. 1999). She serves on a Youth Exchange Committee for Rotary, encouraging high school students to study abroad. Her daughter will spend her junior year (2012-13) in France. She also participates in community theater.   Beth Lewis Samuelson, 1986-87 - Beth teaches courses at Indiana University in Bloomington in the licensure programs for World Languages (secondary education) and English as a Second Language (all grades). She is involved in language policy research in Rwanda.    Marna White Louis, 1987-88 - Marna is currently living in England with her husband and two children.   Robert Gervais, 1989 Spring - Robert is lawyering in the Houston area, doing municipal law. He likes to travel and play guitar when his schedule permits.   Cynthia Massing Preston, 1992 Spring - Cynthia lives in Naples, FL, with her husband and two children, Chase (13) and Claire (20 months). She teaches middle school mathematics at a private college preparatory school and her husband teaches middle school geography. They travel with students to Europe each summer on educational tours.

Robert Woods, Vienna 1992 Fall, Freiburg 1993 Spring - Robert is a USN Foreign Area Officer currently serving as an attache in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. He would welcome a visit and enjoy catching up with any Freiburg or Wien classmates!

Amy Lefkowtiz Lawrence, 1993 Fall - Amy is living in New York with her husband Brian and they welcomed their second child into the world the night before Thanksgiving. They have a boy named Jonah and a girl named Emma. She’ll return to work with Deham Wolf Real Estate Services in a new role as Managing Director. 

Sara Bock, 1997 Spring - Sara is currently working as a nanny, tutor, and yoga teacher. Travel remained important for her since her study abroad experience. She lived for six months at a yoga studio in New Zealand after graduating college and spent three months in India a few years later. She is headed back to Freiburg to visit her German relatives (and travel to Paris, Rome, and London) this spring.