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French and Spanish alum finds career in the Navy

An update from Anthony Pyanoe, who graduated with a master’s degree in 2004, from Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with a focus on Spanish and French.

“I was one of the oddballs who studied in the dual language master’s program at Illinois State.  After I crossed that finish line in May 2014 I pursued a commission in the U.S. Navy which I obtained after a lengthy vetting and training process in September of 2015. I am currently a Surface Warfare Officer onboard USS JOHN P MURTHA, and even though my job does not require language skills every day, I have had ample opportunity to use what I learned from Illinois State during my deployment and in my home port of San Diego.

During my deployment, I was, on several occasions, employed as a foreign liaison officer. My job as such was to interact (translating/interpreting, conducting tours, corresponding, etc.) with foreign Navies as we encountered them. The interactions were as simple as organizing events with a French frigate with whom we met in Barbados, to giving tours to admirals from the Dominican, Spanish, and French navies during various diplomatic missions my ship conducted. I also had the unique experience of driving a warship through the Panama Canal, all the while acting as an interpreter and translator for the pilots that came aboard. I will have to brag a little here too. The information card that I translated (which are skills that I honed and polished in Dr. Lascurain’s class) for my class of ship into Spanish is now used throughout the entire Navy to provide accurate and precise documentation for the ship’s characteristics.

I can firmly say that none of this would have been possible without the constant support and solid education that I received at Illinois State University. The professors in the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures department pushed me to become a greater professional, fed my academic curiosity, and created skill sets within myself that I use daily to lead and train our nation’s sailors. I have never regretted my decision to study foreign languages nor to pursue them at Illinois State.”

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