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July 31, 2018
By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant
Northwest Missouri State University student Natasha Helme traveled to Germany and Poland this summer to research the Polish language and study Eastern European migration during the 20th century.
Helme, a senior history and professional writing major from Wentzville, Missouri, studied at the Summer School of Interdisciplinary Polish and German Studies June 4 through July 13 in Frankfurt, Germany. The annual program accepts up to 30 university-level researchers from throughout the world who are interested in Polish and German studies.
She received a Northwest Undergraduate Research Grant for her paper, “Jewish, German, and Polish Relations During World War I and the Interwar Period.” Additionally, she earned a scholarship through the Wende Museum to attend the highly selective program.
“The highlight of my trip was being accepted as a reviewer and editor for Polish-Studies Interdisciplinary, an international organization for Polish historians,” Helme said. “I did not expect to be accepted for either position but decided to apply anyway. Reading the acceptance email gave me the confidence boost I needed and the opportunity to build my CV (curriculum vitae) for graduate school applications.”
Helme aspires to become a Polish historian and history professor. She called the summer school program “the first step of many difficult steps in the journey to my long-term career goal. The path I have chosen will be difficult, but it will be worth it.”
In addition to studying the Polish language, she traveled to the cities of Poznań, Wrocław and Berlin, where she visited the Reichstag building, Tiergarten park, Lovers Bridge and Cathedral Island.
Dr. Devlin Scofield, an assistant professor of history at Northwest, recommended the program to Helme.
“I wanted to go to the summer school because I wanted to learn Polish and study in Europe, but Dr. Scofield’s willingness to look over my application, help develop a research paper topic, search for international flights and sponsor an undergraduate research grant made me want to apply,” Helme said.
Helme is involved in Phi Alpha Theta national history honorary society, Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity and Sigma Society. She works on campus at the Writing Center as a tutor and at the Student Success Center as a supplemental instructor.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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