West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) celebrated its Kappa Iota chapter of the Alpha Mu Gamma (AMG) Foreign Language Honor Society during the 35th anniversary Induction Ceremony. The festive event took place at the MCCC Conference Center on April 26.
Established in 1931 at Los Angeles City College, AMG has since expanded to 307 chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Mercer’s ceremony, which followed a set of procedures delineated by the national organization, saw the induction of 17 students, each of whom studied Spanish, German or American Sign Language (ASL).
“The languages these students are learning will help them connect with others in their work and social lives,” said AMG faculty advisor Daniel D’Arpa. “Learning a second language is a powerful tool to add to one’s personal advancement.”
Presiding over the ceremony were Nancy King, chapter president, and Alexander Muller, vice president, along with faculty advisors Daniel D’Arpa and Steve Richman.
Each of the students gave a short speech in their language of study. Those learning ASL had their presentations dictated by faculty member Allwyn Baskin. Afterwards, the students and their guests were invited to a multi-cultural dinner provided by the Conference Center staff, with entertainment by MCCC student Jerome McGady.
Many of the students’ decisions to learn a language were driven by a personal connection. Kiana Lopez, who was inducted for Spanish, began her study as a way to learn her family’s native tongue. “I’m Spanish, but I didn’t speak any Spanish. How strange is that?” she said.
Now, her personal interest has morphed into a professional one. Lopez will continue her education at Rutgers University in Fall 2019, pursuing a degree in social work. “I don’t want to limit the amount of people I can help because of a language barrier,” she added.
Similarly, Brooke Roberson had a personal motivation for learning ASL. “I had been interested in learning ASL since I was a little girl,” she said. “When my little brother became part deaf it further pushed me to learn even more.” Roberson is also headed to Rutgers where she plans on working towards a career as a speech pathologist.
This year’s inductees for full membership are: Victoria Blankenbiller (ASL); Kaylee Howard (Spanish); Betty Kish (ASL); and Cecilia Villacres (Spanish). Inductees for associate membership are: Grace Amantia (Spanish); Maggie Carrell (Spanish); Ryanne Fischer (ASL); Jessica Isaac (ASL); Rhiannan Kook (ASL); Kiana Lopez (Spanish); Brooke Roberson (ASL); Sofia Stepanoff (German); Aundrello Tally (Spanish); Alegra Titus (ASL); Taylor Varone (ASL); Alexa Wittman (ASL); and Doreen Zumba (ASL).
The Kappa Iota Chapter of AMG upholds the society’s goals to recognize achievement in foreign language study, nurture interest in the study of foreign languages, and foster greater understanding of others through languages. Inductees must have an overall grade point average of at least a 3.2 while achieving a grade of at least an A- in two successive courses of the same language.