Carnegie Mellon University

Stephen Brockmann, Kenya Dworkin, and Bonnie Youngs

August 24, 2023

Modern Languages Faculty Celebrate 30 Years at Carnegie Mellon University

By KellyAnn Tsai

Three faculty members in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University are celebrating 30 years at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Stephen Brockmann, professor of German Studies; Kenya Dworkin, associate professor of Hispanic Studies; and Bonnie Youngs, teaching professor of French and Francophone Studies, joined CMU in the fall of 1993. Since then, they have made an indelible impact on their students, colleagues, and scholarly fields through their academic research and teaching.

Brockmann, Dworkin, and Youngs reflect on their most memorable experiences at Carnegie Mellon University in the past 30 years.

Stephen Brockmann

Stephen Brockmann“It quickly became clear to me that Carnegie Mellon is quite different from other universities. What that meant for my career and work was an extraordinary opportunity for interdisciplinarity within the department, college and university. I am grateful to Carnegie Mellon for making it possible for us to develop a top-notch German program in both teaching and research. I've had extraordinary students and fantastic colleagues, and I've learned a lot from them.” 

About Stephen Brockmann

Stephen Brockmann, professor of German Studies, researches the German Democratic Republic (socialist East Germany) before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, an area of scholarship uncommon among German professors in the United States. In 1985, he spent ten months conducting dissertation research in the GDR, an experience that influenced his entire career. Today, much of his scholarly work and teaching focus on East Germany and its collapse.

Soon after arriving at Carnegie Mellon in 1993, Brockmann developed a popular course called History of German Film. His book “A Critical History of German Film”, now used in universities across the country as well as in other countries, emerged directly out of teaching that course. His most recent book, “The Freest Country in the World”, is about East Germany's final year as a period of unprecedented freedom.

Read More About Brockmann

Kenya Dworkin

Kenya Dworkin“One of the most fortuitous things about coming to Carnegie Mellon and the Department of Modern Languages also turned out to be one of the most rewarding — finding I had to constantly push myself, continue to grow both intellectually and personally, and constantly rethink how to meet the needs of often extraordinary students often with equally extraordinary talents and interests. My career here both as a researcher and teacher has pushed me in directions I had never thought I would pursue, and it continues to do so after 30 years. More importantly, Carnegie Mellon has supported me all the way. Any idea I’ve had about a course or event has always been met with a ‘yes.’ Any international or community event in which I have wanted to involve Carnegie Mellon and my students has likewise been met with a resounding ‘yes’ and even financial support. I have learned at CMU that it is never enough “to teach the book” or “by the book,” and I’m happy that’s the case. I’m fortunate enough to be in a college and department, and have colleagues and collaborators who agree with me.”

About Kenya Dworkin

Kenya Dworkin, associate professor of Hispanic Studies, researches Cuban, U.S. Latino, and Latin American Jewish and Sephardic literary and cultural Studies. Dworkin’s book publications include “Spanish and Empire,” “En otra voz: Antología de la literatura hispana de los Estados Unidos,” and “Herencia: The Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature in the United States”. She is currently completing “Staging ‘Whiteness’: Racial Impersonation, Performance, and Nostalgia in Cuban Immigrant Theater” with the support of an NEH fellowship

Dworkin is also co-director of the Master’s in Global Communication & Applied Translation, a graduate program offered by the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of English. 

Since joining Carnegie Mellon, Dworkin has influenced countless students through her encouragement, dedication and support. Previous students recall this support fondly. “I am so grateful that I met Kenya Dworkin. What an impact she has had on my life,” said alumna Erika Banuelos (DC 1996). “Her strategy to teach me so that I left CMU with top level-professional skills was her ultimate contribution and I can't thank her enough. She went above and beyond for me during my education at CMU.” 

In addition to her scholarly work, Dworkin is heavily involved in Pittsburgh’s Latin American community. She is currently the Executive Director of Coro Latinoamericano, President of the Latin American Cultural Union and a writer and co-anchor for Barrio Latino, a Spanish-language community affairs radio program.

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Bonnie Youngs

Bonnie Youngs"Little did I know that my first job would be my last job. I never imagined that I would remain at CMU for all these years. In fact, most faculty in Modern Languages remain in the department because we are allowed to grow and change, in our approaches to teaching, in the courses we teach, and in the research that we do. I'm very proud of what Modern Languages has become since 1993, and that I was a part of that development. I am also so thankful to work with colleagues who make working in the department a pleasure and help me sustain a constant personal learning path about their work. The Modern Languages students are a joy to work with, just as dedicated and inquisitive as our faculty."

About Bonnie Youngs

Bonnie Youngs, teaching professor of French and Francophone Studies, focuses on teaching, course development and revision through research in applied linguistics and teaching with technology. She works closely with faculty in the Department of Modern Languages to help provide the best environment possible for teaching and learning and the best experience for students. Currently, her work focuses on the adaptation of coursework, assessment and in-class activities to exploit AI tools, but also acknowledges that many issues come with the use, or not, of AI for the teaching and learning of additional languages.

Over the years, Youngs has helped shape the undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Modern Languages. She has held a variety of administrative positions including Director of Undergraduate Studies and group coordinator for the French and Francophone Studies program for more than ten years, and is currently the advisor for the Applied Multilingual Studies major and minor. 

Youngs has represented Modern Languages widely on campus, most recently on the University Education Council, the Dietrich College Council, the Dietrich College committee for the new General Education curriculum and the Dietrich College AI support committee. Currently, Youngs is also director and advisor for the Master’s program in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, and teaches in the program as well.

Read More About Youngs