Sophie Degât-Willis

Lecturer in Foreign Languages, French

Email: sdegat@sas.upenn.edu  |  Phone: 215-898-1215

A native Parisian, Sophie Degât-Willis is a Lecturer in Foreign Languages, specializing in French. She began working with the Lauder Institute in 2018 as the French Language & Culture Summer Immersion Coordinator in the Europe Program.

She earned her Master of Science in Management & Business Administration from ESSEC Business School (Cergy, France) while pursuing a degree in Law at the Université de Cergy-Pontoise. In 2010, she decided to go back to her first love, languages (her undergraduate studies focused on the Humanities with a major in Italian) by enrolling in a Master of Arts in Specialized Business and Legal English Translation (Université Paris X, Nanterre).

Among various professional experiences in fields such as marketing, foreign affairs, and law, she has founded two companies and is still managing one of them, Sophie Degat Translations. She discovered her passion for teaching language while volunteering as a literacy teacher for immigrants and refugees and decided to come to Penn in 2012 to teach French language and culture. This experience made her want to further her understanding of learning and (multicultural) classroom interaction, which is why she chose to pursue an M.S.Ed. in Intercultural Communication from Penn Graduate School of Education, going back to the field site where everything started and writing her thesis on performing arts as a tool of empowerment in immigrant literacy education in French banlieues.

She is now pursuing an Ed.D in Educational Linguistics at GSE. She has presented her pedagogic work and ethnographic research at numerous international conferences, such as NEALLT, ACTFL, LSA, and the Ethnography in Education Research Forum. She teaches all levels of French, including specialized advanced courses, such as the French for Business curriculum (Fren211, Fren313), as well as an intro to sociolinguistics course titled Le Français dans le Monde (Fren229).

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