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Meet our GAHF Scholarship Winners: Katrina Klopcic and Yasmin Moule

After many months of planning under the leadership of scholarship committee chairman Daniel Villanueva, GAHF’s first vice president, the German-American Heritage Foundation announced last October that it would award two domestic scholarships to young German American students–a first in our almost 50-year history.

The committee received a number of applications from very qualified candidates, and selecting the two winners proved to be a surprisingly challenging task. We are incredibly pleased to introduce our first two scholarship recipients today, who each received $2,500 to assist with educational expenses. Our sincere congratulations go to Ms. Katrina Klopcic from Clifton, Va. and Ms. Yasmin Moule from Davis, Calif. Katrina is a student at American University in Washington, DC where she is pursuing a double major in Language and Area Studies: German/Europe (BA) and Public Relations & Strategic Communication (BA), whilst Yasmin who is currently a freshman at University of California Davis is double majoring in Cognitive Science and Applied Mathematics. 

Katrina’s German heritage dates all the way back to the 1730s when her mother’s ancestors first arrived from southern Germany, and settled in Pennsylvania; two other family branches followed in the 1840s and the early 1900s. During her gap year in Esslingen, Germany, she fully immersed herself in German culture and language, specifically the Swabian dialect as Esslingen is not far from Stuttgart, but she also had the chance to learn a bit more about her own family’s history by exploring various cemeteries and churches and learning about her Jewish ancestors whose graves remain intact. When asked about the most significant takeaway of her year at the Cultural Centre in Germany, she has this to say: “The biggest thing I learned is how much I truly love speaking German. I’ve always loved it, but this year showed me how perfectly happy and at home I feel in Germany, speaking the language and living the culture. I love it because of the different opportunities it has offered me. I love it because I have made friends, memories, and been able to learn more about myself. I love it because I will use it for the rest of my life. I love it because it lets me be me.”

Our second winner, Yasmin, has a much more recent connection to Germany. She was born in Leverkusen,not far from Cologne, to a German mother and an American father. At the age of two, she moved to California where she has been living ever since. As a toddler who was raised in a bicultural and bilingual household, she spoke a unique mix of German and English that the family called Denglisch. Davis, Calif. has a large German community, and Yasmin and her brother grew up with German friends. Their mother also provided them with German books and formal German lessons that continued through eighth grade. When she was 10, her family returned to Germany for six months, and Yasmin attended a local Gymnasium, an academic German secondary school, in Erfstadt, southwest of Cologne, and also joined a Sportverein. She formed lasting friendships, and improved her German to the level of full fluency earning a California State Seal of Biliteracy in German. Her interest in cognitive science, which combines  linguistics, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, and AI, was inspired by her own bilingual background.” I decided to study CogSci because growing up German American made me interested in multilingualism and how people acquire a language. I want to work in AI-based technology in the future focused on reducing language and cultural barriers between people of different cultures and languages.”

We wish our two scholarship recipients much success in all their future endeavors, and look forward to staying in touch. If you are interested in applying for a GAHF scholarship, please email us at [email protected].



Daniel Villanueva (far left) and Katja Sipple (far right) had a chance to meet Katrina in person at an American University German workshop.

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