Skip to Content

Languages and Careers


We often hear the question: What kind of career can I get with language skills?

As the alumni profiles below demonstrate, language study can take you just about anywhere!

For an extensive list of additional jobs landed by languages alumni, see What Else Can You Do With a Degree in Languages? 

Special Assistant, Executive Office, Council on Foreign Relations

Alyssa Goessler, ’16

Majored in: General Social Sciences   Minored in: Arabic Studies
Language: Arabic

The first job Alyssa landed after graduation was as an administrative assistant at the Mission of Jordan to the United Nations in New York City, where she worked for a team of Jordanian diplomats, including the Jordanian ambassador to the United Nations. She has since been hired into a new position at the Council on Foreign Relations, also in New York. In addition to studying Arabic at the UO, she studied both the language and Arabic culture at Princess Sumaya University in Jordan.

Research Assistant, Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas

Katalin Plummer, ’16

Majored in: Marine Biology, Spanish  Minored in: Theatre Arts
Language: Spanish

As a double major in Marine Biology and Spanish, Katalin honed both scientific research and language skills—and both have proven essential in her current job, conducting laboratory and field work as a research assistant at the coastal marine station for the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. As a UO student, she was also a member of Mind the Gap, an a cappella singing group.

Global Business Partnerships, Sony Entertainment

Jennifer Schumaker ’16

Majored in:  Japanese  Minored in: Computer and Information Science
Language: Japanese

Working at Sony’s offices in Tokyo, Jennifer relies on both her language and technical skills to develop partnerships for Sony Interactive Entertainment’s PlayStation.In addition to her UO studies in Japanese and computer science, she also prepared for her career through two student jobs: instructional technology consultant with the UO’s Center for Media and Educational Technologies, and digital media specialist with the Yamada Language Center.

Teacher, English as a Second Language

Katerina Campbell, ’16

Majored in: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Language: Russian

Katerina has already taken her degree to the very place that she intended: Russia. She has used her degree to gain teaching  experience in the heart of the capital, Moscow, teaching English as a second language to Russian natives. Her next step will be to acquire a CELTA (Certificate in  English Language Teaching to Adults) and she plans to use this certification to pursue  teaching assignments in Germany and Japan. She has also held a position as a lab assistant working on Russian transcriptions,  and ultimately aims to become a Russian translator and interpreter.

Legal Assistant, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the SF Bay Area

Nayeon Kim ’15

Majored in: Romance Languages, History  Minored in: Political Science.
Language: Spanish

Nayeon has launched a career in social justice—first by volunteering as a legal assistant withLas Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, where she prepared and translated legal documents, conducted client interviews, and interpreted for Spanish-speaking clients. Building on this experience, she landed a job as a litigation assistant at Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit law center, and now works for Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Nayeon also volunteers for two organizations that serve prisoners and their families, and plans to seek a law degree specializing in prisoners’ rights.

Dog Musher

David Brengle ’14

Majored in: Chinese
Language: Chinese

What does a degree in Chinese have to do with a career in dog-mushing? David works for an outfit that appreciates his language skills because there are ever-increasing numbers of Chinese-speaking clients, and David’s Chinese fluency helps them serve these guests. David was previously a freelance translator for several years, specializing in the fields of politics, diplomacy, and economics. In addition to his UO studies in Chinese, he is also a graduate of the Defense Language Institute’s Chinese language program.

Director of Sales and Marketing, Linx Global Manufacturing

Lindsey Rosenfield ’13

Majored in: Chinese, International Studies
Language: Chinese

When she was an undergraduate student at the UO, Lindsey undertook a study abroad year at Harbin Institute of Technology in China. She also had two internships in China— both with Linx Asia Trading Co.—and these eventually led to a marketing and sales position with the parent company, Linx Global, at its Chicago headquarters. She also had an internship at Natooke, an urban bicycle shop in Beijing, where all of the customer and staff interactions were in Mandarin Chinese.

Intake and Legal Information Manager, Int’l Refugee Assistance Project

Hassan Shiban ’10

Majored in: Music Performance
Language: Arabic

Hassan once dreamed of being a professional musician, but took a course in Arabic while studying at the UO, and this completely transformed his career plans. He went on to get a master’s degree from Harvard University in Middle Eastern Studies and a certificate from the Harvard Center for Arabic Studies Abroad. Since 2015, he has been working for the International Refugee Assistance Project, where he coordinates a team of staff, interns, and volunteers who assist refugees from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan with legal, medical and physical protection issues.

Copy Editor, The Daily Star, Lebanon

Lily Leach ’12

Majored in: Comparative Literature
Language: Arabic

After receiving her degree in 2012, Lily moved to Cairo, where she worked for several Egyptian publications. She then went on to work for news organizations in both Istanbul and Palestine before landing her current position in Lebanon. “I would have never thought it possible to live and work abroad, had it not been for the education of the Arab world that I received at the UO.”

Assistant Director, Centro Latino Americano

Trevor Whitbread ’09

Majored in: Spanish, Humanities  Minored in: Latin American Studies
Language: Spanish

For Centro Latino, a Eugene non-profit serving the local Latino community, Trevor manages several of the agency’s services: mental health, alcohol and addictions, youth mentoring, and translation. He has both a BA and MA in Spanish literature and, as a graduate student, was program assistant for the UO’s Spanish Heritage Program.

Head Writer, Arcad Software

Carlie Rames ’09

Majored in: German, French  Minored in:  Business, Italian
Languages: German, French, Italian

Working for a global software company in the Alps region of France, Carlie manages a team of four technical writers, three of whom work at the headquarters in France and one in a branch office in India. She also works with the company’s software developers in research and development, helping ensure that the visual presentation of the software is coherent and user-friendly. She began working at Arcad as a translator of software manuals and documentation from French into English.

Program Manager, National Democratic Institute

Kristina Jeffers, ’00

Majored in: Political Science, Russian
Language: Russian

Kristina has been with the National Democratic Institute, a DC-based international development organization supporting democratic actors and institutions abroad, for 10 years. As a program officer, she oversaw parliamentary strengthening, civil society development, and election monitoring projects in Georgia and Moldova. In her current role, she manages programming in Ukraine, one of the most pivotal countries in the organization’s portfolio. She served for three years in the Peace Corps in Ukraine and received a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University.

Study Abroad Director, University of Arizona

Harmony DeFazio Davies ’99

Majored in: German   Minored in: Italian
Languages: German, Italian

When she was a UO undergraduate, Harmony studied abroad in both Germany and Italy and traveled extensively throughout Europe. Now she helps students pursue the same life-changing experiences, as director of the study abroad program at University of Arizona. Harmony also has a master’s degree from the UO in public policy.

Jobs and Economy Policy Advisor, Governor’s Office, State of Oregon

Jason Lewis Berry ’99

Majored in: Journalism    Minored in: French
Language: French

Jason has overseen economic policy and managed a statewide economic development program for Governor Kate Brown since February 2017. Previously, he worked for 15 years in international affairs, including nine years as a diplomat. As an appointee of President Obama in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Jason served as Director for Latin America, East Asia, South and Central Asia, and Europe, overseeing 25 staff and a $10 million budget. He also served abroad in a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown University.