Guest Speaker and Students Discuss Language, Culture, and Careers

 Gray McCalley
Gray McCalley (right) speaks with faculty and students about his intercultural journey

Gray McCalley, J.D., Tara McDuffie (Global Affairs) and foreign language students on how study broad benefits your future

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 19, 2019) — Wednesday, October 16 in the Social Science Building Auditorium, special guest speaker Gray McCalley headlined a series of presentations about the many benefits of study abroad and learning a language, especially for your career.

Currently Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Printpack Inc., Mr. McCalley also worked for 16 years in a variety of positions in the Coca-Cola system, serving as General Counsel for many of their operations in Europe. From 1984-89 Mr. McCalley served a Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State, with postings in Washington, Bonn, London, and Belfast. 

Mr. McCalley graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1974 with a B. A. in German, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bonn, Germany. He received his J. D. from Duke University School of Law in 1979. He enjoys fluency in German, reading and limited conversational abilities in Norwegian, reading ability in Dutch, and rudimentary French.

Tara McDuffie spoke to the group about the many opportunities for studey abroad available from Kennesaw State's Division of Global Affairs' Education Abroad Office.

Student presenters included Sofia Favaloro, who traveled to Italy, Mia Vahle (China); and Vanessa Salazar Trujillo and Olivia Bryant (Benin & Southern France). All the students emphasized how life-changing their trips were. Vanessa Salazar Trujillo was especially moved by the impact she was able to make on children's lives in Benin.

The students also connected their trips to their heritage as well as to future internships and other ways to incorporate their experiences into their future careers. They were happy to have made new friends and proud of their ability able to function in a different language.

Each of them described becoming more intrepid in their travels since those trips because they are more confident now, and they all strongly recommended all KSU students find a way to study abroad & particularly in a linguistically immersive program.

The session was rounded out by a brief presentation from the event coordinator, Dr. Abby Alexander, who emphasized the economic utility of adding a language major to a program of study, illustrating her points with personal anecdotes of how studying abroad & majoring in a language have a great positive impact on one's personal life.

Access a copy of the event's PowerPoint presentation.

  • Event Announcement
  • Dr. Abby Alexander (Assistant Professor of French) leads a panel of DFL students who have recently studied abroad
  • Dr. McCalley addresses more than 30 attendees
  • Dr. McCalley speaks about his intercultural journey