Senior Awards

During Commencement Weekend each May, we celebrate the achievements of our graduating German Studies majors and minors at our Recognition Ceremony & Reception.

2018 Award Recipients

Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis

Recognizes an exceptional Thesis for Departmental Honors completed by a German Studies major.  The thesis reflects a high degree of critical thinking and advanced disciplinary knowledge, language proficiency, and research skills. 

Lauren Cassidy, BA May 2018, German Studies, Global & International Studies

Lauren graduated with Departmental Honors in German Studies. She successfully defended her senior thesis, Annexation or Reunification? Linguistic Appraisal of German and Russian news reporting on Crimea. Her thesis director, Professor Vyatkina, wrote: “Lauren by far surpassed expectations for an undergraduate researcher with her choice of a challenging topic, comprehensive literature review, careful data analysis, and insightful discussion of her findings.”


Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement

Recognizes a graduating major or minor who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement in German Studies throughout his or her undergraduate career. 


Thomas Johnson, BA December 2018, German Studies & Biology

For his research project in the senior capstone course, “Die Wichtigkeit des Wattenmeers: Umweltschutz, Identität und Wirtschaft,” Thomas read several scholarly articles and reports from the European Union, UNESCO, and the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. His paper and poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium were informed by his coursework and interest in ecology and biology, an example of the interdisciplinary work we encourage our majors to undertake.


Holden Zimmerman, BA May 2018, German Studies & History; European Studies minor

Holden’s research project in the capstone course, “Museen der Humanität: Schweizerische Nationalidentität und die Humanitiät,” explored the role Swiss museums play in defining and preserving the country’s national identity and its relationship to humanitarianism. This project related to her senior honors thesis in History on the “defensive humanitarianism” that characterized Swiss POW camps during WWI. Holden conducted archival research in Switzerland for that project and worked in three languages. She published a shortened version of her thesis in the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Humanities and presented her work at the Dole Institute of Politics for a WWI Centennial Commemoration event.


Rachel Forbach, BA May 2018, English; German Studies minor

The quality of Rachel’s work and her proficiency in German were impressive. As Professor Meyertholen noted, Rachel wrote with great intelligence, nuance, and accuracy and she was a reliable and active participant in class who unfailingly delivered insightful (and humorous) commentary.



Anneliese Reinert BA May 2018, Mathematics; German Studies and Music minors

In Advanced German I (GERM 401), Anneliese impressed Professor Vyatkina with her in-class oral work and essay writing. In her essays, she explored topics critically and thoroughly and expressed her ideas in idiomatic German. Anneliese actively facilitated discussions, assisting her peers not only through her excellent command of German but also with her invariably friendly attitude.



Award for Outstanding Service to the Department

Recognizes a graduating German Studies major or minor who has been a significant presence in the department by attending events, representing undergraduates in departmental meetings, serving as a German Club officer, or assisting with the International Jayhawk Festival or Schülerkongress.   

Carley Johnson, BA May 2018, German Studies

Carley was an exceptional president and vice president of the KU German Club. She kept the weekly Stammtisch alive and active, organized monthly film screenings, and enthusiastically promoted German Club and departmental events. As Professor Linden commented, “Carley’s interest in German culture, history, and thought shines through in all of her endeavors.”


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