Biochemistry and molecular biology and German studies alumna pursues interdisciplinary master’s degree in Germany

Adrienne Reding '17

Adrienne Reding ’17 planned to do something after she graduated from The College of Wooster that not all students do: moving across an ocean to a new country. After studying abroad in Germany during her junior year, Reding applied for a Fulbright Scholarship and earned a prestigious position as an English Teaching Assistant at a high school in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Since then, she has continued to connect with her global community and is working towards a master’s degree in national and transnational studies at the University of Münster. Here, she continues the interdisciplinary course of study that she began when she majored in both biochemistry and molecular biology and German studies at Wooster.  

Reding has never been one to be limited by the distinction between science and the humanities, and Wooster gave her a place where she could pursue two very different fields of study. “I was able to authentically be myself as a student and given the space, tools, and support to pursue my independent academic passions, as well as the opportunity to take classes outside of my majors which broadened my worldview,” Reding explained. She even completed two different Independent Study projects, one in each of her majors. Although challenging, Reding says of the experience, “I was passionate about and enjoyed the entire process of my theses, and I proved to myself that I’m capable of more than I think.” 

In German studies, Reding specifically appreciates two professors who inspired her in her journey through academia. Beth Ann Muellner and Mareike Herrmann, professors and department chairs of German Studies, gave her the courage to study abroad and eventually move to Germany. “They are inspirational to me as women in academia, and made me feel seen, supported, and valued as both a student and person. My academic passions, way of thinking, worldview, and care for and belief in myself stems from my German classes and one-on-one advisor meetings throughout my time at Wooster,” she recalls.  

After spending a year as an English teaching assistant at a high school in Germany, Reding chose to continue her research and pursue a master’s degree. Her research examines how people perceive the split between science and the humanities and how this disciplinary division affects humanity’s relationship with the environment. “My research focus builds directly on topics I began working on with my I.S., as well as my personal experience balancing both the natural sciences and the humanities and moving beyond thinking of nature and culture as somehow separate,” Reding explains. She also works as teacher and mentor for fifth and sixth grade students, teaching math and English classes and helping to supervise them in after-school activities. Additionally, she is part of a collective that is working to organize a new cultural space in her city, where she collaborates with other artists and cultural collectives throughout the city to plan and throw festivals with concerts, workshops, and films.  

“Having access to the knowledge, skills, and resources from multiple disciplines helps to broaden deeper understanding of dynamics at play outside of academic institutions as well, and I still use many of the skills I learned in my personal life,” Reding remarked. “I’m only able to pursue my master’s degree due to my own liberal arts education and my experience double majoring at Wooster, which serves as the basis for my academic research, personal interests, and way of thinking now.”

Posted in Alumni on September 18, 2023.