In 2006, the government of France bestowed its highest award in recognition of academic service to Brenda Benzin, lecturer in the Modern and Classical Languages Department at Buffalo State College. Benzin was awarded the rank of chevalier in l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques for her dedication to advancing French culture, education, and the arts.
Brenda Benzin has served as vice president of the American Association of Teachers of French and as president of the Western New York chapter of the same organization. She has also served as president of the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers. She co-founded the Buffalo-Lille Sister City Association and established annual exchanges of French students between Kenmore high schools with Lycée Colbert in Tourcoing, France.
Dr. Armelle Fée
Dr. Armelle Fée is French-born but was raised in francophone Africa; she currently lives in Upstate New York. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the Sorbonne. With a thesis on contemporary Native American literature, she was the first scholar to formally explore this topic in France. She also earned a Masters in English from the University of Rochester, New York.
Even though she is working in the software localization industry, she has been teaching French, Spanish and English for the past 17 years in Florida and New York. While teaching high school, college and university classes, music has always been an integral part of her curriculum. She also owns her own localization company, providing translation and other language-oriented services to select companies.
Now the mother of two young daughters and a son, Dr. Armelle Fée is even more aware of the importance of preserving one's culture and linguistic heritage. CV available here.
Barbara Summers edited and wrote the introduction to Open The Unusual Door: True Life Stories of Challenge, Adventure & Success by Black Americans. Ms. Summers is an example of someone who has opened the unusual door to challenge, adventure, and success. The second of five children, she was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with honors in her major, French literature, completed coursework for a doctoral degree in French at Yale, and spent time studying at the Sorbonne in France.
For seventeen years, she was a model at the prestigious Ford Agency and was able to draw upon this experience for her groundbreaking book, Black and Beautiful: How Women of Color Changed the Fashion Industry. She also edited the bestselling, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America and penned the short story collection, Nouvelle Soul.
Summers has taught French, English and journalism and currently teaches English Composition at a CUNY institution. She lives in New York City and is at work on a novel about the Harlem Renaissance.