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Feature Story: Scrapbook Recollections of JYM 1955-56, 1-5

JYM Class Notes, 12-14

2x Fulbright Recipient in Saxony, 6

In Memory of Fred Hoffman, 15

50th Class Reunion of JYM 1968-69, 7

Spotlight on JYM Students of 2018-19, 16-17

Rediscovering Munich 20 Years Later, 8-9

Reconnecting with Ebelke, 18

Photo: JYMers 2018-19 at the Taubenstein Summit, 10-11

New JYM Seasons of Giving, 19


Scrapbook Recollections: Junior Year

Munich, 1955-56


By Charlotte Klein Varzi In Memory


Carol Arnold Ferrero


ur Junior Year experience began on the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary. We sailed from New York under sunny skies on

a mid-September afternoon. The entire group consisted of around fifty-five students, roughly equal numbers of men and women, from different states and attending different universities. Carol was at Wayne State and I (Charlotte) went to Western College for Women. I told my family the year would have been valuable just by meeting all the students from so many different backgrounds. Two girls who occupied two of the four bunk beds in our cabin became good friends, and we got to know the boys in neighboring cabins when we paraded down the corridor to the showers and toilets. I was a non-drinker at the time, but recognizing the tax-free values of beer at $.10 and mixed drinks at $.38, I quickly reconsidered that status! Cigarettes were $1.40 a carton. We loved the food, enjoyed the nightly stage shows and films, and relaxed, bundled in blankets, on deck chairs awaiting the mid-morning serving of broth. There was dancing every night, even though it

Charlotte Klein Varzi (center) on board Queen Mary with fellow JYM students, Sept. 1955

often meant dancing uphill and downhill as the ship rocked. Our steward and stewardess catered

to all of our needs, even bringing sandwiches in the middle of

I should say to my Hauswirtin: ”Es freut mich sehr Sie

the night. After five days at sea, we landed in Cherbourg and

kennen zu lernen”. Clearly, my German was extremely weak.

boarded the Cunard boat train to Paris. Awaiting us there was

The German-born Math teacher at Western College taught

Dr. Bernard Valentini , the Resident Director of the Program.

freshman German; a German attorney earning money while

He was so urbane, dashing and enthusiastic.

seeing the US, taught German in my

He called us “creatures” and “creaturettes”.

sophomore year. Neither was a trained

He was very protective of the girls and even

language teacher.

assigned boys as protectors to groups of the girls. We filled the week in Paris with as

Prof. Valentini timed our arrival in

much sightseeing as possible.

Munich with the Oktoberfest. I had been to some German picnics in Detroit, but

Dr. Valentini tried separate compartments

nothing compared with this. There were

for the men and women on the twelve-hour

four large tents belonging to four of the

train ride from Paris to Munich, but before

major breweries. Each had a loud band

long, both compartments became co-ed. On

and a carnival atmosphere prevailed. It

the train I remember being coached in what

was certainly an exciting and interesting introduction to the city.



*Newsletter Cover: Artistic cover from Charlotte Varzi Klein‘s JYM scrapbook 1955-56

My fourth-floor room was on Amalienstrasse, close to the JYM offices.

I greeted Maria Schwaiger, my Hauswirtin, as

instructed but couldn’t understand her response. Three male students occupied the other two rooms of the apartment. They became good friends. But I wonder now how did Dr. Valentini allow this arrangement?! Across the street from the JYM offices was a restaurant we called the Greasy Spoon. It was one place you could always find JYM students enjoying the 1 DM Mittagessen. In 1955, the deutsche mark (DM) exchange rate was four to the dollar. Besides gathering at the Greasy Spoon, the American Church Center was a popular place to meet.

Emmy, the manager,

welcomed us and offered a taste of home. During orientation we learned to ride the Strassenbahn and many of us bought bicycles. I used my bicycle to get to classes and to my weekly bath since my room only had a washbasin. Carol lived in a dormitory with bathing facilities. Dr. Valentini planned weekend trips around Bavaria to charming little towns and into the mountains. One of the first outings was to the fantastical Neuschwanstein castle built by mad King Ludwig II. It was Disney’s model for the castle at the Magic Kingdom. When university classes began, I was scheduled for Organic Chemistry, Physics, German grammar, and a History of Modern Germany. My close friends, Joyce Swartney, Margaret Liedke and I were in Organic Chemistry together. We were assigned a nice young man as tutor to help us understand the lectures. Our Physics lecture, with perhaps five hundred students, was held in the large auditorium, (Grosse Aula) which had been bombed during the war and was missing part of its roof. When it got colder, and the winter of 1955-56 was extremely cold, we had to wear heavy coats to the lectures.

DETROIT OFFICE Junior Year in Munich Wayne State University 906 W. Warren Ave. 401 Manoogian Hall Detroit MI 48202 Tel. (313) 577-4605 MUNICH OFFICE Junior Year in Munich an der Universität München Richard-Wagner-Str. 27 80333 Munich, Germany Tel. 011-49-89 / 52 30 26 36 PROGRAM DIRECTOR Mark Ferguson, Ph.D. PROGRAM COORDINATOR Jackie Smith, M.A. RESIDENT DIRECTOR Hans-Peter Söder, Ph.D. ACADEMIC COORDINATORS Patricia Thill, M.A. Sommer Forschner, M.A. JYM ALUMNI NEWSLETTER EDITOR Sommer Forschner, M.A.

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Scrapbook Memories...continued from previous page

Physics was a very special class because it was taught by Walther Gerlach, a famous physicist and co-discoverer of the Stern-Gerlach Effect. Dr. Gerlach was a showman, and each lecture had one or more demonstrations that created a bang, smoke or flame. The topic for that semester was Mechanik. There were five of us, sitting together, all having trouble following the lecture because we didn’t know the one word most frequently used. We would all write what we thought it sounded like, changing a letter or two and then check our dictionaries. After many tries, we got the spelling right and learned the word was “beschleuningen”. He was talking about “acceleration”. How could you learn the laws of mechanics without understanding“acceleration?” We developed sore knuckles from rapping on the desk at the professor’s entrance and applause after each successful demonstration. That class included a four-hour Praktikum with a special English-speaking assistant. It took me hours to write the lab reports. I attended a lecture given by the famous philosopher, Romano Guardini. This attracted nearly a thousand people (not just students) crammed in the auditorium. I later learned he was a Catholic priest when he said Mass and preached at a church I attended. We discovered we could afford to attend many operas by waiting outside the box office at the Opera house and, at the last moment, getting returned or unsold tickets cheaply. As war-damaged museums were restored, we toured them. Other activities were Schwabing night clubs, tea dances at the Regina Palast Hotel, and Sunday masses with full chorus and orchestra at the Theatiner Kirche.

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“Prof. Valentini timed our arrival in Munich with the interesting and exciting introduction to the city.”

“After five days at sea, we landed in Cherbourg and boarded the Cunard boat train to Paris. Awaiting us there was Dr. Bernard Valentini, the Resident Director of the Program. We filled our week in Paris with as much sight seeing as possible.”

Dr. Valentini wanted us to experience Fasching and arranged for us to go to the ball at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Our costumes were quite creative. Sometime before the party ended, long after midnight, I met a nice German student and soon began dating him. The fellows in my apartment invited me to their fraternity ball. We all ended up at daybreak at Donisl Wirtshaus for a traditional breakfast. I took advantage of weekend trips sponsored by sporting goods stores and learned to ski in GarmischPartenkirchen.




Valentini led a trip by train to Italy and down to Taormina in Sicily.

Exit, stage left! Louise with her successor, Jackie Smith , at the JYM headquarters - showing her the ropes before heading out!


March, Carol and I joined a student group bus tour to Greece. The guide gave hours of information on Heinrich Schliemann’s discovery of Troy. Joyce Swartney, Elie Peiser, Ken Caulkins and I bought 3000-km passes on third-class trains to go to Spain. It got us all the way to Tetuan, Morocco and back. Per Anhalter (hitchhiking) was another inexpensive way to travel, that is, until my parents found out! Munich was the best place to be in spring, and biking around the Englischer Garten a good way to enjoy it. With all the travel, concerts, museum tours, it might have seemed like I ignored the academic side of the JYM experience. I do have to admit it that it did have an effect on my grades.


Physics lecture, with perhaps five hundred students, was held in the large auditorium, (Grosse Aula) which had been bombed during the war and was missing part of its roof... Physics was a very special class because it was taught by Walther Gerlach, a famous physicist and co-discoverer of the Stern-Gerlach Effect”.

My twenty-first birthday coincided with JYM’s Abschiedsfeier at the Regina Palast Hotel. Dr. Valentini made speeches, and they sang Happy Birthday to me. I shook hands with all the professors and guests. At the end of the program, leaving Munich was quite difficult for me. Carol hurried back to Detroit where a young architect, Harvey Ferrero, was waiting for her. I am very happy to report that my son, Jehan Varzi, who attended American University in Washington, was also lucky enough to spend his junior year, 1993-94, on Wayne State University’s JYM program. Carol and I remained close friends until her death, March 26, 2019.

“Dr. Valentini wanted us to experience Fasching and arranged for us to go to the ball...”


2x Fulbright Recipient in Saxony! Blue (Dana) Grandstaff (JYM 2013-14) tells of their experience as a Fulbright TA in former East Germany


ince September 2018 and up until September 2019, I lived in Chemnitz as a foreign language teaching assistant through Fulbright International and the German Pädagogischer Austauschdienst. My city was chosen by the PAD after taking into account that I wished to be placed in Sachsen, the Bundesland I fell in love with after a class trip to Leipzig during my time at JYM. This was a few months before Chemnitz was featured prominently on the international stage as an „epicenter“ for Neo-Nazi racism in Germany.

where artists can thrive and people don‘t mince words. It was not so much a disenchantment with Munich that catalyzed my love affair with the east, but a pulsing familiarity. Electric and strange, being in Leipzig was like being back in Detroit. It was like being in Vilnius, Lithuania, where I had also once lived. It was resistance, collectivism, and of course an unrelenting and nameless dread, both in memory of the political landscape of the GDR and in anticipation of a future that seemed dark and uncertain. Naturally, I couldn‘t wait to go back.

Before I moved to Munich in 2013, I spent three years in Detroit getting my BA in linguistics and German (Wayne State University) while working as a waitress at the Traffic Jam & Snug. As I‘m sure many alumni who made the Detroit-Munich move can attest, the contrast between these city streets is stark. Sometimes in Munich I imagined I could roll my body from the institute to Studentenstadt and arrive home magically cleaner. In Munich, I joked that the mythical fivesecond rule for dropping food on the ground before it becomes inedible was more like a five-minute rule. In fact, dropping food on the ground in Munich might even make it healthier.

After JYM I returned to Wayne State to collect my MA in German Studies. I got my job back as a waitress in the same restaurant, and eventually worked in a small Midtown property management office. That restaurant was my community, my collective, my safe place against the political encroachments of an evil pizza empire building, an absurd hockey colosseum with billions of taxpayer dollars. I started to feel physically ill from the dizzying contrast between the community of my hardworking and creative friends in Detroit and the „community“ of sprawling parking lots and rising rental prices and landlords who saw dollar signs instead of people in need of housing. It was time to for me to go away for a while.

Entering Leipzig in February 2014 was the first time I felt connected to a German cityscape. In my mind, here was a city that had really seen some shit. As I stood outside of bars at night engaging in conversation with residents, I swam in my own confirmation bias. „Leipzig is authentic,“ a word often associated with Detroit-- a real down-to-earth city

I don‘t believe I would have been selected by the Fulbright committee were it not for my time at JYM. It seems perhaps possible, but less likely. When I was informed of my placement in Sachsen, I was excited to return to the place where I first felt that electric strangeness. Later on, I was informed that I would be in Chemnitz, the former Karl Marx Stadt, a fact I immediately gleaned after a cursory glance at Wikipedia because I didn‘t know the first thing about Chemnitz. I feel the same authenticity here that I felt in Leipzig and Detroit. I did not feel, as I often felt in Munich, so underdressed that I may as well wear a trashbag to school. For better or worse, Chemnitz won my heart. I lived in a small apartment there with a roommate, took the tram to

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Farbstoffsammlung in Dresden, where Blue was given a personal tour by the head of the chemistry department, Prof. Dr. Horst Hartmann

school, and spent 12 hours a week with some of the funniest and smartest kids I‘ve ever met. I love it here in so-called „dunkel Deutschland“ because my mood is always better than the weather (very hard to out-gloom the skies here). The talkative elderly women at the bus stops regale me with stories of every illness and death they have witnessed. We meet

as strangers, and part as even stranger strangers. I often do not know exactly what has just happened. Actually, that sentence alone is a fair summary of my time in Chemnitz, and I could not be more pleased with it. My teaching philosophy both in grad school and here has always been rooted in curiosity and joy. Learning a language, and even teaching one, often has me asking this question-- What just happened? Where did the verb go? What did the man say? How has meaning shifted? How have I changed? Some of these are easy. The rest of them are ambiguous and require a unique flexibility of spirit. There is no better way to make peace with ambiguity than to learn a new language and then let yourself drown in it. -By Blue Grandstaff As of September 2019 Blue has relocated to Leipzig where they commute four days a week to an Oberschule in Leisnig, a small town in Mittelsachsen. They continue to work as an English Teaching Assistant as well as do volunteer outreach for LGBTQ in Leipzig through Queer Network Sachsen.

50th Class Reunion, JYM 1968-69


o, a cheery group of folks walks into a Vegas bar: several teachers, an airplane pilot, a biostatistician, a university dean, a health care administrator, a Lutheran pastor and a philosopher!...” While you might think this sounds like the set up for a classic bar joke, or even an odd sequel to the Oceans 11 series, it was neither. What could such a diverse crew possibly have in common? Did someone say, “JYM! “? With logistical help and encouragement from Jackie Smith and Mark Ferguson in the Wayne State JYM office, this past May 2019, a small and dedicated band of JYM alums from 1968-69 gathered in Las Vegas for an informal 50th year reunion. Many of them had also attended similar events in recent years in Munich, Boston, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee. This time it was a non-stop tour of some well-known sights and sounds of Las Vegas. This included a rowdy Vegas version of the Hofbraeuhaus and a side trip to Hoover Dam. Of course, there was no shortage of food and drinks to help fuel the festivities. (Rumor has it that a few bucks were also lost at the tables one evening as noble plans to raise funds for the JYM scholarship funds fizzled rather quickly.) The participants in this fun trip were: co-organizers, John Sawyer and Brad and Mary Lynn Jordan, Kathy Shailer, Carolyn (von Bulow) and Nelson Dittmar, Richard Mauthe, Rick Crispin, and Marcia (Weid) and Rod Stewart. Even Charlene (Reichert) and Tom Prince called in from California to chat at one of the dinners! One of the highpoints of this fun was just sitting around John Sawyer’s hotel room one afternoon before dinner and talking about the tremendous impact of the JYM on everyone’s lives and careers, even after so many years. The whole Vegas celebration was made sweeter when later in July fellow alum, Don Verity, was able to meet up with Brad, Mary Lynn, Marcia and Rod in Irving TX for a quick dinner before Don’s business conference there. In all these reunions over the years, the biggest questions folks left with were always when and where to have the NEXT ONE and how to include even more alums! Short of another big JYM reunion in the future, this group of old friends (with many others who were not able to come this time) hopes to find new places to take their reunion show on the road! Bis bald!

- By Don Verity

1968-69 Alumni at Lake Meade photo: Left to Right: Richard Mauthe, John Sawyer, Brad Jordan, Mary Lynn Jordan, Kathy Shailer, Rick Crispin, Carolyn (von Bulow) Dittmar, Nelson Dittmar, Marcia (Weid) Stewart, Rod Stewart

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R e d i s c o v e r i n g M u n i c h 20 Y e a r s L at e r ! JYM C l a s s


1998-1999 R e u n i o n


magine if you could step back in time and somehow relive your Junior Year, if even just for a few days. That is what a small group of alumni attempted last summer! It is not easy to coordinate the schedules of so many grown adults strewn across Europe and the States with jobs, kids and commitments, to get them to carve a few days out of their lives and make their way to Munich. But thanks to the promoting and organizing efforts of alumna Michelle Kelly Schuchardt, 8 members of her class of 1998-99 were able to come together in Munich the second weekend in July for their 20th class reunion. They spent an extended weekend recapturing the magic of a highly special year two decades later and reconnecting with one another. Present were Jeff Bastien, who didn’t have to travel at all as a resident of Munich, Greg Bukowski, who flew in from Florida, Neil Van Leeuwen, who flew over from Georgia, Erich Reiter, who drove down from Belgium, Susan Snedigar who drove up from her Bavarian village residence, Nicole (Borner) Coleman, who flew over from Connecticut, Marie Klopfenstein, who flew in from Illinois, and of course, Michelle (Kelly) Schuchhardt who drove down to Munich from her home near Stuttgart. First thing on the agenda for those who arrived on Thursday was to join a class at JYM nearing the end of the summer semester. Just like the good old days, the alumni sat in the familiar large classroom in the JYM institute on Richard-Wagner-Straße for Professor Söder’s Bergliteratur und Film class. They intently listened to HP lecture in German and watched a film Der Berg ruft (1938). They got to meet and talk with the current class of JYM students, twenty years their juniors! Afterwards it was off to the first Döner Imbiss and Biergarten of the revival tour. The rest joined on Friday, all meeting as a complete group with Prof Söder at the JYM Headquarters for a “Meet at JYM with HP – 20 Years Later - Tour of JYM premises, Maxvorstadt, Museumviertel and Uni-Viertel”. The group finished with lunch at the famous Schelling-Salon on Schellingstraße! From there, the group proceeded to revisit university Hauptgebäude and wander through the Englischer Garten by the Monopteros and Chinese Tower. After a break to freshen up (and another Döner for Greg) the group of alumni met for dinner and beers at the Augustiner Biergarten. They were pleased to be joined by the current JYM students: Tommy Dixon, Frank Bechard, Allena Edmonds and Alexandra Lies. The current students then took some of the alumni clubbing at a place called neuraum located on Anrulfstraße with three floors of electronic and pop music. They were happy to have these youngsters show them the current scene. And their elders were happy to share stories of the old days, compare what has changed since then, what has remained the same, and give some life advice in exchange. Both sides profited equally from the encounter! On Saturday, July 13th, afternoon there was walking tour of the Glockenbachviertel und Stadtbächle with Stattreisen which happened to coincide with ChristopherStreet-Day festival in the neighborhood. It brought back memories for many especially for Michelle who had lived in the Glockenbachviertel after her JYM Two Generations at the same table! JYM Alumni of 1998-99 meet with JYM Students 2018-19 for an interesting exchange!

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and for Susan who specifically recalled the major Isar flooding in their year. Joining the tour was also Lena Bittl, who had been the JYM academic coordinator their year! The tour was completely in German but that didn’t daunt these old pros, who twenty years later were able to keep up with no trouble (any hang-overs aside). The tour ended with Kaffee und Kuchen in the hip café and bar Trachtenvogel on Reichenbachstraße. After a break and a walk across the Alter Botanischer Garten, the next stop for all the ladies in the group was the Park Café Biergarten and later they met up with the guys at a Tapas bar near the university. On Sunday, the last day of the adventure there was a final get-together for a Weißwurst Frühstück at the Weißes Bräuhaus. The group really couldn’t get enough and immediately swore an oath to meet back in Munich again in five years for the 25th reunion in 2024! They hope for an even better turn out next time! So, all classmates of 1998-99: mark your calendars now! Having relived their JYM for a few days and inspired by meeting the current 20 somethings experiencing now what they did 20 years ago, it was agreed at the reunion that the members should each give a gift to the program for the new Next Generation Endowment fund to support program growth! As JYM depends on alumni generosity, we are ever grateful! -By Sommer Forschner, JYM Class of 1998-99 Reunion Updates - Here is what these classmates are up to now! Erich Reiter Since leaving JYM, life has continued to evolve. I completed a double-bachelors from McGill University in linguistics and modern languages. A few years later, I had become extremely interested in speech recognition technology, so I completed a Master‘s degree in Computational Linguistics from the University of Buffalo. Because of my strong German skills, I received a full scholarship from Buffalo and taught German for 2 years while I was there. After graduating, I moved to San Francisco to work for a start-up called Nuance that specialized in speech recognition. I didn‘t know at the time that I would be working on SIRI, the speech assistant now ever popular on the iPhone. While working for Nuance, an opportunity to transfer to the new European headquarters had become available. In 2008 I moved to Belgium. A wife, a child, and one more on the way, it has since become my home. I‘m currently working on my own speech recognition start-up that specializes in rehabilitation for people with speech disabilities. Living in Germany impacted my life immensely. I believe that the places we choose to live are rather arbitrary, and you can see this by stepping into an airplane and landing in a brand new city. This mindset has kept me curious and open towards other cultures and languages, which automatically shrinks the globe. It was amazing being back in Munich for the reunion. It was not my first return to Munich, however, it was the most meaningful return. Seeing old faces that still shared the joyous sparkle of youth was ever present. We have all grown in unique ways, and it seemed that the experience of being away and going through the pain of being immersed in a new culture has led to a much more colorful life for so many of us well beyond our year spent abroad. It is also what likely keeps us connected not only to the members of our own class, but to past and present JYMers. I am envious of all the JYMers who still get to discover their year abroad. The growth before them is not something anyone can describe. Greg Bukowski After JYM, I graduated from Northwestern University with dual degrees in Economics and German. I then worked briefly in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and high-level college football for the USC Trojans, where I helped the team win two National Championships. After getting my MBA at USC, I went on to start a mold and water damage remediation business in Chicago called “Moldman.” The company employs 25 people with hopes to expand nation-wide in the future. I currently live in Sarasota, Florida where I own a restaurant and vacation condos. My 4-year old daughter named Reagan lives in New York City with her mom. In my freetime, I enjoy playing tennis, following politics, playing fantasy sports, and traveling to Europe. The JYM Reunion 2019 was AWESOME and I can’t wait for reunion in 2024!! Updates continued on page 12....

Photo below: At the Schellingsalon, July 2019 - the JYM Class 1998-99 reunion members: Fltr, Susan Snedigar, Professor Söder, Michelle (Kelly) Schuchard, Neil Van Leeuwen, Marie Klopfenstein, Nicole (Borner) Coleman, Jeff Bastien, Greg Bukowski, Erich Reiter

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I n t h e A l p s at t h e T a u b e n s t e i n S u mm i t JYM C l a s s o f 2018-19

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More Class of 1998-99 Reunion Updates continued from page 9...


at Wayne State) and we have had lots of adventures moving Susan (Snedigar) Bertl around the country for jobs and PhD programs (for me) and My JYM year changed the course of my life. I met my husband frequent visits to good old Bavaria to see family. Around Uli at Agnes Adelheid and the rest, as they say, is history. After the time I started JYM, I had my first taste of linguistics and my JYM year I returned to St. Catherine’s University in St. afterwards that morphed into studies in linguistics and speechPaul, MN and finished my degree, got a Masters level TOEFL language pathology. I ended up earning degrees in all of and moved back to Munich in September of 2000. I worked those, in addition to German. My background in German at various language institutes in Munich and Starnberg before has served me well for all of this, as well as being able to have moving out to Peiting, a smaller town about an hour south the experience in higher education as a non-native speaker, of Munich and my husband‘s hometown. In Peiting I started being bilingual, and living in another country/culture. I am my own business as an English trainer and translater. Uli and I now an Associate Professor in the Speech-Language Pathology married in 2003 and we now have two kids, Anna 12 years old & Audiology Program in the Applied Health Department at and Max is 9. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I draw on my JYM I have become truly integrated into the community in Peiting experiences all the time when talking to students about studying over the last 20 years and am involved in various clubs, the abroad, language acquisition (second and/or multilingual), school and church. My husband claims I know more people cultural competency, and linguistics in general, just to name a than he does in town and I am sure that is true. It has certainly few. The 20 year reunion was great, although it certainly didn‘t been interesting raising our kids here and seeing the differences feel like 20 years - being together again it was just like old times! in how kids grow up. The Bavarian school system approaches It was great to catch up with everyone and get in contact again. learning in a very serious and disciplined manner including I definitely plan on coming back for future reunions! deciding after 4th grade where the kids will continue their schooling. I find that to be a Jeff Bastien bit young to decide what future After I finished JYM in 1999 (can‘t believe career options are available. I do it‘s been 20 years already!), I headed love the slower, safer feel to living back to finish my B.A. at Bates College here though which allows my where I majored in German. During kids many more freedoms than my senior year, I received a Fulbright many of my friend‘s childern Scholarship and ended up returning to growing up in the states. Germany after graduation. Once the Our reunion was a blast. It was Fulbright was over, I decided to stay such fun to catch up with „old“ in Germany „for a little while“ and friends and to meet some of the started selling English courses at „Wall new JYMers. We had the best Street Institute“ (now named „Wall time visiting our old stomping Street English“). After 8 years in sales, I grounds and had an epic evening received a promotion to Center Director checking out new clubs. I can‘t Familiar faces! Fltr, Nicole, Susan, Michelle, Neil, in Nuremberg, Germany where I was wait for our 25th Reunion and Erich, Greg, HP, Jeff and Marie responsible for running a branch of Wall hope that even more people can Street English. For 3 1/2 years, I commuted by train every day make it to that one. to Nuremberg (not recommendable!). Eventually, a position as Center Director opened up in Munich, so I was able to come Neil Van Leeuwen back and thankfully leave the commuting days behind me. In Hi everyone! After JYM, I continued with studies and was total, I worked for WSE for 14 years before I decided to make determined to go back overseas. So I headed to England for a the transition to a private university as their Local Head of Sales master‘s degree, before coming back to the States to get a PhD in Munich, a position which I held for 2 1/2 years. Currently, in philosophy. I‘m now a professor at Georgia State University, I am working for Galileo Global Education Germany as their and I‘m currently working on a book, tentatively titled Religion as Make-Believe. Along the way, my academic path has taken me Sales Perfomance Manager where I conduct analysis of sales performance across 7 private universities in Germany. to many different countries, including yearlong stints in South Privately, I ended up getting married to someone who I sold an Africa and Belgium. I‘ve also gotten into writing for musical English course to 17 years ago. We have now been married for theatre...if you look up Song of Solomon in conjunction with 6 years and have 2 daughters, Catherine (5) and Elenore (3). I my name, you might find interesting stuff. Hope to see you all have now been living in Germany for 19 years straight (20, if at the 25th anniversary reunion! you count the year with JYM). So, if you need any tips/advice or just want to chat about possibly living in Germany for an Marie Klopfenstein extended period of time, feel free to reach out, either via e-mail After the JYM program, I returned to Detroit and Wayne State ( or LinkedIn University. There I met my German husband (a PhD student

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Other Alumni Updates from the those who couldn‘t join the reunion! John Ruby (1998-99) is enjoying being an actor in Los Angeles. He has been on such shows as CSI, Penny Dreadful and Castle. Check out his movie Solver on iTunes. He still remembers and appreciates Herr Söder allowing “The Fast Lane” band (with John, Jeff Bastien and Craig Wehler) to perform at JYM. Amy Long Wulke (1998-99) is married and living in Waterford, Michigan with her four kids. She is a a registered nurse and is currently pursuing her doctor of nursing practice degree with a concentration in Family Nurse Practice. She is slated to graduate in December of 2019 from the University of Michigan, Flint. Recently she took a trip to Kenya with U of M as part of a cultural health exchange program. One of the things she misses most about Munich is the food! She writes: “I wish I could get something like Leberkase here. I also miss Sunday football games in the Englischer Garten with all of my JYM friends. And of favorite drink a Radler“. Erin Daniels (1998-99)is living the US and is the parent of three kids. She moved to Seattle after college and had lived there 17 years before spending the last 1.5 years living outside DC. They are moving back to Seattle since her family misses the west coast and the Pacific Northwest dearly. Erin owns a small business writing homeschool curriculum and also homeschools her kids. Right now they are learning Spanish but she plans to teach them German as well! Craig Wehler (1998-99) graduated from Wayne State and then began his career in experiential marketing. In 2006, he received his MBA. Craig is currently working as a Regional Business Director for a private marketing agency. His main client is Fiat Chrysler Automotive, and he spends his time promoting Jeep and Ram through live brand experiences. Still living in metro Detroit area, he is married and has two daughters. He writes: “It sounds cliché, but JYM really was one of the best years of my life. I have nothing but great memories from my time in Munich and the people I met there. I still chat regularly with a friend I met on my floor in StuStadt, so I can keep up on current events in Germany.” Craig says he still also keeps in regular contact with classmates: Rob Meinert, Paul Zelenski, Melissa O‘Donnell and Derek Kruse. Alexander Baum (JYM 2006-07) completed a Masters in City Planning that focused on Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning in Philadelphia

this past May. One of his main focuses is planning for, and promoting, active transportation (walking, cycling, and using public transit). He also spent the last ten years managing an educational nonprofit in NYC that teaches underserved youth math, science, and leadership through sailing and boat-building. He has since moved to Amsterdam to look for work in planning for livable cities. When people ask what made him decide to move, he explains that it was a „push/ pull“ situation. He feels pulled towards people-centric places, something he first discovered in Munich during JYM. He is also drawn to what he considers a higher quality of life in Europe. For him there is a push away from the United States at the moment. He writes: “Politics aside, many of the current city planning philosophies in the U.S. are still so stuck in the past and focused around the automobile that I decided I needed a change”. Although only three months into his new life, he is amazed at the differences he is personally seeing. He feels healthier, happier, and more hopeful than he had in a long time. He says there is a collective energy that can be felt in the streets of Amsterdam. According to Alex, the Netherlands has a year-long residence permit that is fairly easy to qualify for if you have recently completed a Masters or PhD and Dutch is quite similar to German!

Geno Yoscovits (2008-09) started a career with Quicken Loans in Detroit after graduation and is currently serving as their Director of State Government Affairs in the Southeast. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA with his fiancé, Daniel Nester. This past June, Geno and Daniel visited JYM and spent two weeks touring Bavaria. It was on Geno’s bucket list show Daniel the city and countryside that stole his heart and had been so formative in his younger years. During their visit to JYM, Daniel said it was good to finally see the place that Geno has raved about since they met. It was while hiking in the Alps at Ross und Buchstein, that Geno proposed to Daniel. Daniel said yes! JYM says congratulations!

Sami Berkley (2011-12) returned to the US to finish her undergraduate degrees in Biology and German and went on to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She served as an epidemiologist in Southwest Florida during the height of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Sami is now the Program Coordinator for the CDC’s World Trade Center Health Program. The Program gives health care to those who are sick because of the September 11th terrorist attacks. After a hiatus from European travel, she finally returned this summer for a wedding in Scotland. She met the couple getting married during her JYM in Munich while working at Penguin Camp during the semester break. Several friends she had not seen since JYM were there, including Hannah Ehlenbach (JYM 2011-12) (photo above, l.). After the wedding, I traveled to Paris and then back to Munich for the first time since leaving in 2012. She writes: “Munich felt exactly like the home I had left behind, and my memory navigated me through the city as if it were yesterday. I got my morning Nussschnecke, sat by the fountains at LMU, drank beer with friends in the Englischer Garten, and I even stopped by JYM to see Sommer, Patricia, and meet some of the current JYMers. Munich is still my favorite place to be!” Continuing on after Munich, Sami met up with another 2011-2012 JYMer, Caroline Brewka (photo below, l.), for a quick trip to Italy. Since this summer, Caroline and Sami have also taken a trip to Ukraine. It took them 8 years to finally see one another after JYM, and they promised it wouldn’t wait that long again.

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JYM CLASS NOTES ALUMNI UPDATES In Memory of Hannah Margarethe Kieta (1994 –2019)

JYM is very sad to announce the tragic death of Hannah Kieta (JYM 2015-16) on August 7, 2019 as a result of a traffic accident. In her obituary it is written that: “Hannah was born on December 28, 1994 in Bogota, Colombia, where her father served as a missionary of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Hannah was the oldest of three children who were sometimes known as “Club 28”, because each one had their birthday on the 28th of their respective month. When she was three, the family moved to Muskegon, Michigan. Before she started seventh grade, the family moved to Livonia, Michigan where they still reside. She attended high school at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, MI, where she graduated as salutatorian in 2013. She attended Wayne State University where she was awarded the Presidential Scholarship. She spent a year studying abroad in Munich, Germany. She graduated with honors in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in history and German. She was working at the Farmington Public Library and the Ann Arbor Public Library and was planning to begin a master’s degree program in library science. Hannah loved history. She was fascinated with old maps, orthography and the history of writing. She was an organist at her home congregation (as well as helping at many local WELS churches) and had a lifelong and deep love for church music. She will be greatly missed“. Hannah enriched the program very much during her JYM, never failing to impress her peers and instructors with her knowledge of history. She also regularly played music for a church in Wangen in Allgäu. Hannah will be greatly missed by her JYM / WSU family as well! Online condolences may be made at under obituaries.

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30 Year Reunion! The JYM Class of 1989-99 celebrated 30 years with a meet up in Munich last September 2018! Here they are pictured in front at a fountain in the Englischer Garten! This crew says they get together EVERY year somewhere to celebrate and vacation together! Fltr. Grant Kessler, Linda Ogden, Michelle Ansley Freno, Debi Fuchs and Halla Motawi.

Heike Jacob (JYM 2015-16) was inspired by her time in Munich to pursue a master‘s degree in city and regional planning. She finished her master‘s program in May 2019 from the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design with a Master of City Planning (MCP) degree and a concentration in sustainable transportation and infrastructure planning. (There happened to be another JYMer in the same program - see p. 11- small world!). Heike now works in the field of transportation planning, with a special interest in pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Current JYM students Ross (l.) and Riley (r.) with alumna Gabrielle Lunt (2017-18) at Marienplatz during orientation

JYM welcomes the following alumni back to Munich! Graham von Carlowitz (2014-15) is back in Munich pursuing a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication at the LMU! Mitch Griffin (2014-2015) packed his bags and his guitars and has hit the Munich pavement in September, currently looking for the perfect job opportunity! Avery Veldhouse (JYM 2015-16) has returned to Munich after being accepted to a graduate program in Health Sciences at the Technical University of Munich. Gabrielle Lunt (2017-18) is currently living in Frankfurt as a freelance English teacher with her German fiancé. To her it almost feels like an American city, with the tall buildings and rich diversity, but it is still filled with the German charm that she had grown to love from her year in Munich. She appreciates the Bäckereien on almost every corner, and that she is never more than a block away from an Apotheke or the next Biergarten. She says before JYM, she would never have imagined herself living and working abroad, but after the experience of studying abroad for a year with the program, she knew she was bound to come back and is glad she did! Gabrielle is a graduate of Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She came back to Munich this fall to visit two current JYM students from GVSU, Ross Simpson and Riley Miller during orientation to give them some pointers.



YM lost a very dear and special friend on October 26th,

On a personal note, I’ve known Fred and his husband Jim

2019. Fred Hoffman had been Honorary Consul of the

Stokes for decades. Both have demonstrated through their

Federal Republic of Germany for the State of Michigan for

actions and interactions more love and compassion towards

16 years, and before that Director of State Relations for

others than I have ever witnessed in anyone. Period. Fred

DaimlerChrysler Corporation, and before that he was on

never stopped loving and never stopped offering to help

way too many charitable, economic, automotive, civic,

others (just a few weeks ago he offered to see if we could get

governmental and religious organization boards to count.

President Obama to stop by JYM when he was in Munich

He was a loyal friend of the German American community

- and we really got pretty close!). He never stopped giving

in Michigan and to Wayne State‘s Junior Year in Munich

and never gave up. He battled multiple cancers over the

program. To most JYM students he was probably invisible,

course of the past four years and many of us have followed

working behind the scenes to get Michigan’s Governor

his journey on Facebook - a journey of tremendous courage,

Granholm to meet with JYM students, or offering to help

determination and faith. For me, Fred‘s rich life of giving to

find financial support for students. Many JYM students over

others and his final „bring it on“ attitude have been a lesson

the years, in fact, have benefitted from the scholarships he

in inspiration that I will always hold dear. Good bye my

made possible, either directly and indirectly by introducing

dear friend, and Auf Wiedersehen.

me to people inclined to support JYM.

- By Mark Ferguson

This picture is at JYM in Munich when we celebrated 50 years of the program in 2003. Fred is third from the right next to Wayne State‘s President Irvin Reid.

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Spotlight on JYM Students, 2018-2019 Sabrina Peisker, of Marquette University, had known since high school that she wanted to participate on the JYM program. Despite hurdles she made it happen! She tells us about her expericence and her love of Munich here in an interview with JYM


ou visited JYM during high school when you decided you wanted to sign up for the program. What specifically drew you to the program? I knew I wanted to do JYM when I visited through my high school’s exchange program. I fell in love with Munich and knew I needed to be back as soon as possible. The only thing stopping me was the difficulty of applying to a German university with still basic German. JYM was the ticket! Applying to JYM meant I was applying to LMU indirectly, could actively take German classes, and at the end of the year I was able to say I studied at a German university and my credits were able to be transferred to my home university. What hurdles were presented when it came time for you to sign up for the program and how did you overcome them? When applying for the program, it seemed as if all odds were against me. My advisor advised me to not do an entire year abroad as I would be behind on credits. Most of the German faculty suggested Phillips Universität Marburg as it is my home university’s partner university. My sorority didn’t want to let me out of my lease to live in the sorority house to spend a year studying in Germany. My family wanted me to heed all these “signs”. But then I met Jenny Watson (JYM 1986-87), my professor for German during my sophomore year, who had been on the JYM program years ago. She was also Vice Provost for Academic Planning at Marquette. She knew how special the JYM program is and did not want me to pass up the opportunity of a lifetime. She came to my assistance with the application process. She wrote a letter to my sorority which was accepted. She encouraged me when I was questioning if all the individual program and course approvals were worth it. She guided me through it all. How would you summarize your initial experiences in Munich and student life at JYM and the LMU Arriving in Munich for JYM was not much of a surprise for me. It was my third

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End of the Year Interviews!

time visiting the city and I had never been more ecstatic to live somewhere. JYM’s orientation allowed the students to get to know each other which was helpful in making new friends. I was somewhat surprised by my experience at the LMU and how students knocked on the desks after the lecture, or how the entire lecture was taught in German, or how students organized parties on the weekend inside of the academic buildings. Students didn’t always show up to class since attendance is not required, but they still did well on their exams at the end of the semester because they studied on their own. It was eye-opening to see a different system and another way of doing something. In what ways did you make the most of your junior year? How did it further you personally and academically? I made the most of my junior year by keeping in contact with my German friends from the exchange I did in high school. I have learned that Germans need time to make a friend and they often find American friendships to be superficial. But since I was in Munich for a year, I was able to see them and practice my German with them, and make friends that can possibly help me get back to Munich. As for academically, my German improved immensely. I also worked as an Au Pair (or live-in nanny) for a German family in Kiel for the summer before JYM. After speaking only German for an entire summer, I went to JYM and completed the Sprachkurse and took the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang and passed, so I now will be able to pursue my Master’s Degree in Germany. I had such personal growth this year by being in a new environment and living in a new culture. It was an incredible learning experience, and I have found different ways to think and to see different perspectives. You started a business Instagram account for JYM to help promote and highlight the unique-ness of the program. What were your considerations behind this? JYM has a special bond that can’t be seen through a brochure or website that is

created by someone not partaking in the program. As a public relations major, I know that people appreciate a genuine brand. When I was applying to JYM, I looked at JYM’s social media and because there was not yet an Instagram account, I could not relate as well. In order to appeal to the target audience (college students) it needed to reach them. In my opinion, Instagram is the current most-popular social media network for people my age, and I thought this was the best way to get their attention. Do you have plans to return to Germany and/or Munich after graduation? As soon as possible. I fell in love with the city when I was fifteen and knew that I never wanted to live anywhere else. My plan is to apply for my masters in intercultural communication at the LMU, and if that doesn’t workout I’ll just start working in Munich. I’m completing a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course and am keeping my options open for public relations or teaching or really anything, as long as I can return to meine Lieblingsstadt.

Tommy Dixon of Longwood University, whose father is a German teacher, seemed predestined to study abroad. He too had hurdles to surmount when it came time to apply. Read more in his interview here with JYM


ou grew up in German-speaking environment. In what way did that influence your decision to study abroad? Although my father has his doctorate in German, he didn’t speak German to me as a child. He taught German at Episcopal high school in Alexandria Virginia and ran an exchange program with the Theresianum in Vienna. When I went to Episcopal, I followed in my father’s footsteps and took German as well. As a student of his, I also went on his Austrian exchange trip for two weeks. Needless to say, I had a great time in Austria. When I asked my father if there was a possibility to go back next year, he told me I only was permitted to go on one exchange, but he did get me a job working at a family run hotel in Salzburg, Austria instead. For a month and a half, I worked there as a waiter, babysitter, and housekeeper. I enjoyed my time there so much I wanted to go back again. When I finally went to college, I made it a goal to return to Europe for a full year. Since I had experience in German it was a no-brainer that Germany should be my destination. I even changed my major to allow me to make the most out of my year abroad. How did you learn about and sign up specifically for the JYM program? After changing my major from Finance to German, I went to my German advisor and adamantly told him my desire to study abroad. He told me hardly any students study for longer than three months. Well that didn’t amount to a

“hill of beans” for me. I wanted time to really learn the language! After looking through many folders and papers my advisor finally pulled out a flier for JYM and told me to look over it. A week after receiving the flier in my hand, I had fully applied for the program (much to the dismay of my rugby team who didn’t want me to go at anywhere at all!) I was overjoyed at the prospect of living and studying in Munich. How would you summarize your initial experiences in Munich and student life at JYM and the LMU? In the beginning, it was a lot to handle but it didn’t overwhelm me. I managed to balance setting up my room, exploring the city, learning German, and staying on top of my class work. The real problem came later: staying on task in the midst of a beautiful Bavarian summer!

Jutta Lehle, of UC Irvine, was neither American nor a Junior but rather a German native and a senior psychology student, this unlikely candidate for JYM tells about her time on the JYM program


articipating in Junior Year in Munich was the best thing I could have done for the first part of my senior year. Even though I was born and raised in Germany, I had been living in the US for too long in order to feel really connected to the European lifestyle. After a (mild) reverse culture shock, I adjusted quickly, which made me realize that moving back home at some point in the future will be something I would like to do. Academically, the program brought me to the next level, since I have only studied material in my major Psychology in English. Being a student at LMU was a beautiful experience; especially since I was lucky enough to attend classes at one of the most famous psychiatric hospitals, which is part of the university system. What I liked about the specific JYM classes held in the program’s own beautiful building is that there were so many to

choose from, and there was something offered for every taste. Unfortunately, I cannot speak for the German language courses, since I could skip those because I am a native speaker. Some interesting observations about the culture in Munich are that Germans “like” a lot of body contact. For example, in the subway one might get elbowed out of their way. People do not necessarily apologize either. It seems the stereotype is correct: Germans are not as polite as Americans are. Another cultural mannerism is that students in a university setting knock on their table surfaces after their lectures. I think it shows respect toward the professor and I quite liked this practice. When I attended class back in the US, I felt like there was an awkward silence after each class, which of course only I could observe.

In what ways did you make the most of your junior year? How did it further you personally and academically? I made the most out of my time in Munich by surrounding myself with people that introduced me and explored with me all parts of Munich I was interested in. I feel that’s the key to life in some ways. Personally, this exposure to a European way of life changed my perspective. It made me more considerate, compassionate, and understanding of others. Academically it showed me my boundaries. It revealed to me how too much freedom is a dangerous thing and that one needs maturity to handle freedom. You won the Karl-Fischer award at graduation for your contribution to GermanAmerican relations. What was your unique way of getting involved and perspective on cultural immersion into the German culture? To put it plainly, I acted on as many opportunities as possible that were given to me. When JYM offered trips to go into the mountains, watch a theater production, or apply to a camp counselor job, I took it. When a family in Munich wanted an English tutor for her child, I took it. When my friends asked me to go to a museum, film festival, or concert, I went. Opportunity after opportunity to immerse myself fell in front of me like dominoes. Do you have plans to return to Germany and/ or Munich after graduation? I didn’t learn German for nothing! After ten months learning the language, I finally feel comfortable with it. I want to continue my studies in German. I want return someday and maybe even teach. I would do anything that would bring me back to those Alps I saw nearly every day from my window in Studentenstadt. I left a part of myself behind in Munich and feel I am destined to return for an extended period of time.

Jutta Lehle graduated with a degree in Psychology from University of Calrifornia Irvine this June 2019 JYM congratulates Jutta!

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Reconnecting with Ebelke!


hat a great surprise we had in October at JYM in Detroit when we got an unexpected visit from Cathy Ebelke, daughter of John and Marianne Ebelke. Cathy’s father, Professor John Ebelke, is known to us as the “Father of JYM.” In 1953 Professor Ebelke pioneered the creation of the JYM program as we know it today by reopening in 1953 the JYM program which existed from 1931 until it was suspended when WWII broke out. When Professor Ebelke tragically passed away suddenly in 1960, his wife Marianne Ebelke took up the reins as Executive Secretary of the JYM in Detroit. Mrs. Ebelke continued to work with the JYM and JYF programs until her premature death in 1974.

Professor John Ebelke, is known to us as the “Father of JYM.”

We were so thrilled to talk to Cathy about her (exceptional!) memories of the early days of JYM and Frau Dr. Riegler who she said visited her family often in Detroit and always brought her a very special stuffed toy every time. We were also humbled and more than gratified to know that Cathy was in turn very moved to know that the JYM program still continues in the tradition that her father founded and envisaged, and his memory is forever present at JYM. Professor John Ebelke’s bronze plaque created by his dear friend Bernard Goldman (from Wayne State University) is on display at the JYM institute in Munich.

Photo above: Cathy Ebelke and Mark Ferguson in Detroit, October 2019. Photo right, f.l.t.r. Jackie Smith, Louise Speed, Cathy Ebelke and Mark Ferguson at the Junior Year in Munich office in Manoogian Hall at Wayne State University 18 18

New JYM Seasons




or the past 25 years JYM has had only one fundraising campaign a year: the annual letter sent to alumni each November asking for donations to replenish our scholarship funds in time for the following year’s JYM program. Now that we have a program endowment as a giving option, The Dr. Hans-Peter Söder and Dr. Mark Ferguson Next Generation JYM Fund

(which now stands at $45,500!), we have decided to introduce a two-cycle season of gift-giving opportunities. In our fall mailing we will continue to focus on scholarships as we have in the past. Starting 2020 we will add a new spring mailing that focuses on the Next Generation JYM Fund which supports program operations. There are many ways to give back or pay it forward to JYM. Gifts to scholarships funds will have an immediate impact on students; gifts to the program endowment will secure the long-term sustainability of JYM well into the future. The choice is yours! Recently, I designated the Next Generation JYM Fund as a beneficiary of my Will and Trust because I am so proud of JYM’s past and so very passionate about its future. So, mark your calendar: the new JYM seasons of giving are Support Students in the fall, and/or Support the JYM Program in the spring! Mark Ferguson JYM Program Director

To give to JYM please visit the website Thanks!

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Find us on Facebook Junior Year in Munich (JYM) Alumni Group Junior Year in Munich Program Fall Orientation, Bavarian Dancing with Toni Baernthaler (f.l.), PeiĂ&#x;enberg, Oct. 2019

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JYM Alumni Newsletter Fall 2019  

A newsletter for alumni of the Junior Year in Munich program, sponsored by Wayne State University since 1953.

JYM Alumni Newsletter Fall 2019  

A newsletter for alumni of the Junior Year in Munich program, sponsored by Wayne State University since 1953.