FR 199: France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature
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Melanie Kovacs

Liberal Arts Major(s): History, Jewish Studies
Minor: Art History
Hometown: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

We had the privilege to meet with four survivors of the Shoah. It was so incredible to meet them and hear their stories directly and to have the opportunity to ask them questions about their experiences and their feelings about the world today. Meeting them and bearing witness to their stories was a priceless experience.

Meeting [the survivors] and bearing witness to their stories was a priceless experience.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience was so enriching for my Holocaust education. This was the second embedded trip I have taken on the subject, and it served to help me further understand the history I have learned up to this point, as well as introduce me to so many smaller facets of the issue that typically don't pop up in textbooks. Having the opportunity to stand at memory sites and historical sites both enhanced my previous knowledge and gave me more information specific to exactly where we were standing. It really helped to cement many concepts that I abstractly knew about before.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

The experience opened me to interests in different, more specific areas than I had considered before. As I continue to think about my post-graduate plans, the trip made me consider different possible paths or areas of study that I could pursue.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows program made this experience possible. The funding I received from the PFP allowed me to even go on the trip. Additionally, the well-rounded education I received as a result of the Program as well as the Program's emphasis on critical thinking made me take on the experience from a highly motivated and enthusiastic position.

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