Say oui to majoring in French at Fresno State


Cesar Maya/The Collegian

Le Cercle Français club president Aaron Asparin and faculty adviser Tara Hashemi host the third event of the “French B.A. and Beyond” lecture series on April 20 in the Resnick Student Union.

By Cesar Maya, Reporter

Alyssa Hance’s passion for the French language and communication has persisted since her time at Fresno State and continues to be present as she now works at Boston University as a communication specialist.

“Something just drew me to French, even in high school, and the French program at Fresno State allowed me to explore that passion,” Hance said.

After graduating, Hance worked for Amazon, as a writer for Amazon Alexa, and then moved across the country to Boston where she is now working, while simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in emerging media.

Learning French not only gave Hance a deeper understanding of the language itself, but also of the critical thinking skills necessary to adapt to a new form of communication.

These are lessons she taught attendees at a session of “French B.A. and Beyond,” a lecture series taking place throughout the Spring semester, every Wednesday from March 29 to May 3.

The inaugural series of “French B.A. and Beyond” was put together by Fresno State’s French program and the campus’ French club, Le Cercle Français, and is funded through an IRA grant. Multiple sessions have been held throughout March until May.

Various lecturers and guest speakers talk to students and other attendees on how a French language education can be implemented into diverse applications.

“The goal of the lecture series is to show what you can do with a French degree, or with a minor background in French outside of just education,” said Tara Hashemi, Fresno State French professor and faculty adviser for Le Cercle Français.

There have been two speakers in the series prior to Hance, each of whom has found and developed careers out of their French education. Joan Palmiter Bajorek presented “Voice AI and Women Entrepreneurship” on March 29 and Leslie Damien Hille lectured on “Enhancing Customs Business Processes Across Multiple Countries” on April 12.

The event was held in the Resnick Student Union, where Aaron Asparin, president of Le Cercle Français, hosted and moderated the conversation.

“We decided to get connected with a lot of homegrown, grassroots lecturers or people from Fresno State from our departments because a lot of Fresno State students don’t really connect with a lot of students outside of California. We really wanted them to be able to be motivated by people that have been in their exact same positions,” Asparin said.

Growing up in the Central Valley, Hance attended Fresno State and double majored in communication and French. During her attendance, she studied abroad at the Université Laval in Quebec, Canada: a natural location for her to implement and further develop her French vernacular.

“If you can do it, do it,” Hance said. “It started a little rocky, but I saw fellow students and immediately the connection came very quickly. I completely paid for my trip through scholarships, and I had a great time, so please apply for scholarships, even if you don’t think you can get them.”

During her presentation, Hance highlighted the connections she’s been able to make through her linguistic education.

“It also helps me connect with people more,” Hance said. “The cognitive and emotional sides of French, and reading between the lines with the language, has really served me immensely.”

The “French B.A. and Beyond” lecture series will continue with two more sessions. Merica McNeil will present on April 26, and Francis Larson will present on May 3. Both presentations will be held in the RSU Room 206 from noon to 1 p.m.