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Bernadette KolpKNOXVILLE— A video of a German garden gnome decked out in Big Orange attire has won a national first-place prize for Bernadette Kolp, a freshman nursing major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Kolp is one of five national winners in the “Do Deutsch” German Olympiad sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Ready for the World Initiative, and the German Embassy to the United States.

In the fall of 2011, the German Embassy sponsored a series of “Do Deutsch” Olympiads at UT and other college campuses across the US. These events featured competitions related to the theme “German(y) in Your Life.” The contests included writing an essay, creating a graphic art or sculpture, making a video, writing a poem or song, and making a speech. Winning entries at each campus then competed for national awards.

Kolp, from Hendersonville, Tennessee, won the top national award in the video category. Her work, “The Adventures of a Gartenzwerg (Garden Gnome),” uses stop-motion animation to tell the story of a Tennessee orange-clad garden gnome who attends a party and learns more about common household objects created by Germans, such as aspirin and Levi’s denim jeans.

Watch Kolp’s video below.


“I didn’t believe it at first,” Kolp said, when she was notified by Stefanie Ohnesorg, associate professor of German, that she had won the national award.

The prize for Kolp’s first-place finish is a $5,000 voucher toward a sightseeing trip to Germany. Kolp said she’s hoping to travel during the summer, either this year or next year. Kolp will be recognized for her award at the German Program Honors event at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 27, in room 1210-1211 of McClung Tower.

Robert J. Hinde, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, said this is exactly the kind of international experience the college encourages all of its students to pursue.

“Bernadette’s innovative video project reminds us that high-quality foreign language instruction not only improves students’ technical proficiency in the target language, but also sparks a lifelong interest in other nations and cultures,” Hinde said. “This is an excellent way for UT students to become ‘Ready for the World’ and to live their lives as global citizens.”

Learning the language has been her goal for many years, Kolp said. Her family has German ancestry, she said, but it was a friendship she made in high school that sparked her interest in learning German.

“A good friend of mine in high school was a foreign exchange student from Germany,” she said. “I got to travel with her to Germany one summer and spend time with her family, and I became interested in learning the language and the culture. Unfortunately, at the time, my high school did not offer classes in German, so I had to wait until I came to UT.”

While studying nursing, Kolp is taking first-year classes in German, and says she wants to continue studying the language, perhaps pursuing a double major in the two subjects.

For more information on last fall’s “Do Deutsch” activities at UT, visit the “Do Deutsch” website. For more information on the “Do Deutsch” German Olympiads held across the US, visit

C O N T A C T :

Stefanie Ohnesorg (865-974-7098,