Tenney recognized with national award

Washington & Jefferson College senior Tyler Tenney, a 2010 graduate of Buchannon-Upshur High School in West Virginia, has received the 2014 American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Outstanding Senior in French Award.

Son of Mickey and Marilyn Tenney and valedictorian of his high school class, Tenney is a double major in international studies and French. He is chapter president of both the International Studies National Honor Society and French National Honor Society, and has participated on W&J’s Model United Nations and Model European Union teams. Tenney also was vice president of the French Club for the 2011-2012 academic year. He is a W&J international student orientation leader and global ambassador.

“I thank so many of the faculty members for their guidance and inspiration these past four years. Washington & Jefferson College has been my home, a place where I have grown academically, professionally and personally,” Tenney said. “The American Association of Teachers of French Award will forever remind me of the W&J French faculty and their commitment to excellence. It will be difficult to leave Washington & Jefferson College, but it is time to apply what I have learned to whatever is to come, wherever that may be.”

Tenney first traveled internationally when he was 16 years old. He spent time in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, which he said ignited his passion for international cultures and communications. While at W&J, Tenney studied abroad at Universite Pierre-Mendes France in Grenoble, France, and enjoyed an Intersession trip to France as well, working in perfume production and merchandising.

“Tyler has taken advantage of every opportunity at W&J to bring his French to a high level of proficiency while exploring what it means to be bi-cultural. He studied abroad on an exchange program with our partner university in Grenoble and did a lot to immerse himself in French culture,” said Katrine Pflanze, Ph.D., associate professor of French at W&J. “Studying abroad in France is more challenging than most people imagine at first. It takes self-reliance and determination to resist the temptation to spend a lot of one’s time hanging out with fellow English speakers. Tyler has a lot of drive and has consistently maintained high standards of achievement and integrity. The AATF Outstanding Senior in French award exists to recognize the positive effects that such attributes have on the French program.”

Tenney is currently a fashion management intern at Polo Ralph Lauren of Pittsburgh. He hopes to eventually work for Ralph Lauren Corporate Office as an international communications coordinator, especially for francophone markets.

“I would also like to thank my parents, who have always supported and encouraged me in my academic, athletic and professional endeavors. Their main concern has always been my happiness, and I could not ask for more from them,” Tenney added.

Sharon Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of French and chair of the modern languages department at W&J, said, “Tyler’s AATF Outstanding Senior in French award underscores his high academic achievement in French as well as his extraordinary commitment to and ambassadorship of French studies both inside and outside of the classroom. Tyler fits the criteria of this award perfectly. His high academic standards maintained in his French studies, his enthusiastic participation in extracurricular events in the French program since his first year at W&J, his service as the vice president of the French Club in 2011-2012, his interactions with international exchange students on campus, his full immersion study abroad experience in Grenoble, France, are just a few of the ways in which Tyler sets himself apart as a shining example of high academic standards and integrity, independence and global citizenship.”

The Outstanding Senior in French Award is made annually to a graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in the study of French as well as exceptional commitment to the French language and the many cultures where it is spoken. Recipients must have completed at least three years of French study at the time of graduation and be non-native speakers of French.

The AATF was founded in 1927 and has as its mission the promotion of the study of French language and French-speaking literatures and cultures at levels.