The year was 1981. The wide-eyed 13-year-old visiting West Germany may not have known it then, but he was about to embark on a course that would affect his career a few decades later.
“The foreign architecture of its cities, towns and villages; its unfamiliar yet compelling culture; and the cryptic — and therefore magical — language I found myself immersed in,” he said, “these initial firsthand encounters with Germany and its people opened my eyes to an exciting new world and sparked a desire and a drive within me to learn German.”
By the time Scott Stephens arrived at KU in 1986, Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika, already well underway in the USSR, were constantly making headlines. To keep up with current events, Scott took an introductory political science course on the government of the then-Soviet Union. His interest piqued, he took a course in Russian the following year.
“So began my lifelong study of this beautiful East Slavic language that continues to this day,” he said.
Scott completed his double major in Germanic (German) and Slavic (Russian) Languages and Literatures in 1991. He went on to work as a translator, a content editor and eventually a senior analyst for 3E Company. In his current position, he’s responsible for updating international clients on EHS affairs in Germany, his company’s most important market. His fluency in German enables him to get information out more quickly than online trade publications.
“At every stage of my professional life, my knowledge of foreign languages has made the difference in my obtaining employment,” he said. “I am certain that my proficiency in German and Russian is what has given me the edge in today's extremely competitive job market.”