Category Archives: News

LRC Student Staff Member: Samantha K. Smith

The new semester has begun, and we are featuring profiles of our multilingual and multitalented student staff members.

Hello! So I’m Samantha K. Smith, and I’m (gasp!) a senior. I’m a Religious Studies major with a minor in Middle East and Islamic Studies. As part of my course work I’ve been studying Arabic with Abdulkareem Said Ramadan. I love the language, and for fun this past summer I started reading the Harry Potter series in translation. Anytime I can make it through a page without reaching for my Hans Wehr I do a little happy dance.

I gained my appreciation for studying a foreign language at my mother’s hands. Growing up, she would read to me, and my favorite was always The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s work continues to inspire me. He was a linguist by training and invented full languages that helped shape the world he created. To honor my love of his work, I’m knitting a scarf with the text from the One Ring of Power.

Previously I’ve received a Mellon Grant and conducted research on America veterans’ experiences serving abroad in the Middle East. Currently on campus I also work in the History and Classics Office, am involved in ALLies club, and am president of Gettysburg College Mock Trial. I guess you could say that I keep myself busy. I live in the Middle East and Islamic Studies Spark House on campus. Keep an eye out for events this semester the house puts on. Next semester we’ll be hosting a Poetry Night that will feature students reading poems in Arabic with a catered dinner. I read last year, and I can’t wait to participate again.

This summer I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Israel. I have a funny story about how I accidentally propositioned a man in the Arabic market in Jerusalem’s Old City. Stop by and ask me about it sometime.

This semester I’ll be keeping up with America’s Next Top Model, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, and the Black and Gold. Geaux Saints!

LRC Student Staff Member: Anoush Aghababian

The new semester has begun, and we are featuring profiles of our multilingual and multitalented student staff members.

Anoush Aghababian is a junior at Gettysburg College, currently pursuing a Classical Studies major with a double minor in Anthropology and Studio Art. She is fluent in Japanese, and has studied both Ancient Greek and Latin extensively. She also has learned conversational Macedonian, and she hopes to add Twi to this list of languages after the spring of 2015.

Anoush loves spending time abroad. She lived in Japan for five years until she moved back to Central Jersey in 2007, she visited Macedonia on an archaeological dig during the summer of 2013, she studied abroad in Rome during the spring of 2014 (she also visited Paris for a week!), and she plans on studying in Ghana during the spring of 2015.

On campus, Anoush is involved in the Bullets Marching Band, Phi Sigma Iota, the national honor society for classical studies, and the PLA program as the Ancient Greek assistant. She also works at the Classics and History Department Office, and is a member of the LRC staff.

In her spare time, Anoush enjoys playing the piano (Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy are her favorites), running, eating french fries, sleeping, and watching Sunny.

LRC Student Staff Member: Mariam Aghayan

The new semester has begun, and we are featuring profiles of our multilingual and multitalented student staff members.


Hi, my name is Mariam Aghayan and I am a sophomore Political Science major. I was born and raised in Yerevan, which is the capitol of Armenia. My family and I moved to Albany, New York, when I was 11 years old in order to give my brother and me a better chance of attaining a higher quality education. I learned English in 6th grade.
In Armenian, there is a saying that how many languages you know is how many people you are. My great-grandfather knew seventeen languages and so far I am fluent in only three: Armenian, Russian, and English. I am certainly hoping to pick up a few more in college; I started learning Spanish once I got to campus and am currently studying Italian. I am very interested in different languages and cultures and hope that my study abroad experiences will broaden my perspectives and make me a better citizen of the world.

Growing up in Armenia, I was constantly aware of the scarring effects of the Armenian Genocide. I grew up listening to the survival stories of my ancestors at bedtime, as recalled by my grandparents, and that has left a lasting impression on me. I realize that the Armenian Genocide is only one of many human atrocities, but it is the one that is closest to my heart and it has fueled my passion to further my own knowledge in the field of human rights.

In 2012-2013, I was selected to pilot the Honors Project at my high school, which meant that I created my own year-long course. I researched the correlations between human rights violations in the twentieth century, exploring the sequence of events leading up to the genocides in order to determine any commonalities that might help us to prevent future human atrocities. Last May, I traveled to Armenia and interned at the Human Rights Defender’s Office, in the department of International Affairs. The experience was amazing and inspired me to become more involved in human rights campaigns and politics.

I became a member of the European Youth Parliament in 2013 and most recently represented my home country, Armenia, in the Thessaloniki International Forum in Greece. One of the most amazing experiences I ever had was debating on whether a strong central government was necessary in the oldest Union Chamber in Europe, where Gandhi and Clinton gave speeches. That experience was made possible through the Exceptional Merit Scholarship that I received to study at the University of Cambridge, which granted me the opportunity to study International Law and Debate. In 2012, I received a Dean’s Scholarship to attend Brown University for the summer and study Community Psychology.

In March, 2014, I was awarded a Project for Peace grant by the Davis Foundation. My Project for Peace grant proposal was submitted by the Center for Public Service and selected from a competitive pool of students from all over the nation. My project was aimed at educating disabled, homeless, and children of war-torn families to teach them English, healthy living, computer literacy, and social skills. I know first-hand the disparity that exists in the educational system that is accessible to children of wealthy parents and children who have to rely on the scarce government funding to secure their food, shelter, clothing and education. There is a huge stigma in Armenia against people with disabilities and it is heart-breaking to say that more often than not they are treated as sub-humans. This project helped build some confidence among these vulnerable children. The objectives were achieved through provision of high-intensity, interactive workshops during 21 days. I was able to lead a team of dedicated people, including a World Health Organization doctor, teachers, and peers, without whom this project would have simply been impossible to implement. We were successful with accomplishing the goals we set out to reach in Kapan and we even managed to expand this project into the neighboring region. I reached out and collaborated with the Governor of Vayotz Dzor Province in Armenia and donated over 100 textbooks and novels to an NGO in Vayk, the capitol of Vayotz Dzor, which delivered the books to children in hospitals and orphanages.

LRC Student Staff Member: Begench Atayev

The new semester has begun, and we are featuring profiles of our multilingual and multitalented student staff members. First up is Mr. Begench Atayev.


                My name is Begench. I am a sophomore from Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia.I can speak English, Russian, Turkish and Turkmen. I have attended a boarding school in Wisconsin. My interests are Economics, IR, Chinese, Football(Soccer), watching comedies.
                I am one of the leaders of the Gburg Intramural Soccer(join us on fb!). We meet each Tue and Thu from 9 to 11 pm in Bream to enjoy a game of pick-up soccer. You don’t have to be great at it, anyone is welcome – so just show up!
               And yeah, I love 12 grain chicken salad sandwich at Bullet Hole! And I also love camels!!

Want to work at the LRC?

The LRC is seeking responsible students to work 8-12 hours weekly between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. starting September 1, 2014. Duties include teaching students and faculty to use language software, troubleshooting the LRC technology, monitoring the LRC and lab, checking out equipment and software, answering phones, event planning, general office work, and projects related to language teaching and learning. You must be willing to learn new technology skills. Punctual attendance is required for work and staff meetings.

LRC front desk

An ideal candidate will be reliable, able to function efficiently with minimal guidance, and have excellent communication and organizational skills. A background in foreign language learning or a working proficiency in a second language and computers skills are desirable but not required.

To apply, please complete the online application, then email a one-page resume to the LRC director, Dr. Betsy Lavolette,

Betsy Lavolette

Betsy Lavolette is the director of the Gettysburg College Language Resource Center.

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New game available: Influent

Influent is an interesting new game for learning vocabulary. Check out the trailer:

Influent Launch Trailer from PlayInfluent on Vimeo.

The LRC has a copy of the game installed on a computer (the first one on the left when you walk in). Right now, we have only Japanese, but if you’d like to try it in a different language, just let a staff member know! We can also purchase copies for more computers if it gets popular.

The game is currently available in the following languages, with more coming soon:

  • Japanese
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish
  • English
  • French
  • Swedish
  • Bulgarian
  • German
  • Latin
  • Korean
  • Russian

Have you tried this game? What did you think of it?

Betsy Lavolette

Betsy Lavolette is the director of the Gettysburg College Language Resource Center.

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