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Student Spotlight: Todd Jelinek

Student Spotlight: Todd Jelinek

Todd Jelinek
Major: Languages

Todd Jelinek originally earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University.

While at NIU, he traveled to Germany for several weeks to study percussion and discovered a connection between musicians and the builders of musical instruments.

“They have this amazing relationship that results in high quality musical performance,” he said. “I was so impressed with this concept that I reached out to several manufacturers, because in the U.S. all instrument production is outsourced.”

Because of his interest in this relationship as well as the growing ethnic music scene in Germany, Jelinek enrolled at College of DuPage to study German. In 2016, he sought out Professor Bärbel Thoens-Masghati for guidance in applying for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) program, a yearlong, federally funded fellowship for study and work in Germany.

“She was a big help in reviewing my application,” he said. “It’s been a dream of mine to go to another country and be fluent in that language. I’m happy about how it all came together.”

Jelinek was selected for the program and is excited about exploring music and learning more about German instrument manufacturers, especially those who make hand drums.

“I really want a good understanding of how small specialized businesses in Germany function,” he said. “After the experience, I would like to find work with a music manufacturer in the U.S. and bring that connection between musician and manufacturer here.”

Jelinek is glad he came to College of DuPage and enjoys the mix of students in both the classroom and the German club.

“Professor Masghati was hugely supportive,” he said. “When you seek out your professor for help and create a good relationship, you can take advantage of great opportunities like CBYX.”

More about the Languages program

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