Explore Careers

In addition to advising within the Department of Romance Languages, students have access to campus resources to help them prepare for careers, find internship opportunities, and apply for jobs. 

What kind of career can you get with language skills? As the alumni profiles below demonstrate, language study can take you just about anywhere!

Senior Writer for Global Branding and Packaging, Nike


Elliott Kennedy, '12
Majored in: Journalism, French
Language: French

Elliott has spent the past four years at Nike and currently serves as a senior writer for global branding and packaging. She helps drive global corporate product naming, manages external agency relationships, and helps with consumer-facing communications. Before landing her current role at Nike, Elliott refined her skills with a master’s of French Studies. She previously worked as a press and communications intern at the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C. Throughout her career, Elliott's language studies were essential to her development as a writer and a confident public speaker. In a highly digital field where writers spend most of their time behind a keyboard, being a strong public speaker helped her stand out, and opened doors to more writing opportunities.

Paid Search Consultant, Found Marketing


Lauren Downey, '11
Majored in: French
Language: French

Lauren's bachelor's degree in French got her in the door at the French Ministry of Education right after graduation, working as an English assistant. Then she pivoted in a different direction and now operates her own digital marketing business in Portland, OR. She primarily helps small businesses utilize paid digital advertising, and specializes in Google Analytics, AdWords, and SEO best practices. Lauren's French studies taught her both a new language and life perspective early in her career, but also help her communicate with her clients and connect with customers and businesses across Europe.

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.

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.

Study Abroad Director, University of Arizona


Harmony DeFazio, '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.

Technical Outbound Sourcer, Uber


Madeline Galiani, '16
Majored in: Spanish, Business
Language: Spanish

Madeline's dual degree in Spanish and Business prepared her to work as a study abroad ambassador after college at Global Education Oregon. Part of her work there involved revamping the company's website, which eventually led her to her next position in IT as a recruiter at Uber and then to her current job there as a technical outbound sourcer. Her work at Uber combines her education from UO, early professional skills gained as an event planning intern while at UO, and subsequent jobs in both recruiting and IT. Madeline credits her Spanish skills for broadening her education, personal life and job opportunities throughout her career.

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.

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Registered Nurse, Providence Health Services


Riley Clingman, '11
Majored in: Spanish, International Studies
Minored in: Business Administration
Language: Spanish

With an unusual combination of degrees in Spanish, International Studies and Business, Riley started working immediately after graduation at Oregon Health and Science University. While there, he was an office assistant in the surgery department and a patient resource specialist. This inspired him to go back to school to become a registered nurse (R.N.). He now works at Providence, a major hospital in Portland, as a cardiovascular intensive care registered nurse. Riley's draws motivation for working in the healthcare industry from the compassionate care his father received when suffering from multiple myeloma in 2015, and he now delivers critical life-saving support and treatment to cardiac patients.

Policy Director, ACLU of Idaho


Kathy Griesmyer, '10
Majored in: Spanish, International Studies
Language: Spanish

Kathy got a jumpstart on her career before she even left UO. While here, she was a human rights intern, and immediately after graduation worked as a civic engagement intern. She later developed her leadership skills at the Western Institute for Leadership Development, and eventually made her way to ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Idaho. Eight years ago, she started as an office manager and program coordinator, and is now the policy director, which means she develops and implements the organization's legislative and public policy agenda. Kathy's Spanish skills have helped her to provide bilingual services on immigration reform and communicate to Latinx community members about voting rights and labor issues.

Assistant Director, Centro Latino Americano


Trevor Whitbread ’09
Majored in: Spanish, Humanities
Minored in: Latin American Studies
Language: Spanish

For Centro Latino Americano, 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.

Prepare for a Teaching Career

In Oregon, a teaching credential for public schools requires a post-baccalaureat program (i.e., UOTeach in the UO College of Education). A double major in French or Spanish and one of the programs below is an excellent path to gain entrance to programs like UOTeach:

  • Communication Disorders and Sciences
  • Education Studies (EDST)
  • English
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Family and Human Services
  • Geography
  • History
  • Another second language

Students interested in licensure as an Oregon middle or secondary teacher with a French or Spanish endorsement may obtain information from the UO College of Education UOTeach program.

Application for admission to the College of Education Middle/Secondary program is usually carried out in the final year of a four-year BA program.

Students should also consider the interdisciplinary certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT). The SLAT program entails about the same number of credits as an undergraduate minor and provides excellent preparation for any teacher certification program.

RL has an agreement with the College of Education to facilitate double majors in Spanish and Education Studies—a great way to fast-track your career as a language teacher:

Teaching Engagement Program

Why Study Romance Languages?

Read about examples of career paths and actual alumni jobs.