Monday, July 21, 2014

Daemen Students Explore Multicultural Galicia

Daemen students taking part in the study abroad program in Poland travelled from Warsaw to
Przemyśl on July 11. The next day, they travelled to Lviv (Ukraine), where they spent two days learning about the multicultural heritage of the city. This was evident everywhere as students (Elaina Murray, Leigh Alexander, and Daniella Milanese) explored the Old Town with Dr. Andrew Kier Wise (Chair, Department of History & Political Science; Director of the Polish Studies Program), and Dr. Tomasz Pudłocki (Institute of History, Jagiellonian University).

For example, a monument dedicated to the great Ukrainian poet and artist, Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), is located at the city center along Prospekt Svobody (Freedom Avenue). The statue was erected in 1992, one year after Ukraine gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Dr. Pudłocki with students near the Shevchenko monument

Not far away, on Mickiewicz Square, a monument to the Polish national poet (Adam Mickiewicz, 1798-1855) has stood there since 1904. At that time, Lviv was the capital of the province of Galicia (which included part of today's Ukraine and Poland) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Dr. Pudłocki with students in front of the Mickiewicz monument
The architecture in Lviv reveals the layers of its long history. Below, students stand in front of a remnant of the medieval defensive wall.

L-R: Daniella, Dr. Wise, Leigh, and Elaina
Beneath the city, students toured cellars that have been used for a variety of purposes over the centuries -- as retreats for ascetic monks, for example -- and which today are open to the public.

L-R: Elaina, Daniella, and Leigh

Many of the buildings in the city center exemplify the important role that Lviv played during the years (1772-1918) when it was ruled by the Habsburg monarchy, with different architectural styles evident in government buildings and business centers from that era.

Street scene in Lviv

One of the architectural gems is the Lviv Opera House (below), built in the Neo-Renaissance style. It opened in 1901.
L-R: Leigh, Dr. Wise, Elaina, and Daniella

Also located in the Old Town, the Armenian Cathedral (see below) provides an example of architecture from an earlier period. The original structure was built in the 14th century.
Outside the Armenian Cathedral

Before returning to Poland, students stocked up on Ukrainian candies at the border (below).
L-R: Elaina, Daniella, and Leigh

Back in Przemyśl, students began fieldwork for their Service Learning course. This involves a mapping project to provide the precise location of graves in the Jewish Cemetery. This marks the second year that Dr. John Hartman has travelled to Poland to oversee Daemen students' work in the cemetery that his foundation (Remembrance and Reconciliation, Inc.) has restored and preserved over the past two decades.

L-R: Leigh, Elaina, Daniella, Heather, and Dr. John Hartman

The multicultural history of Przemyśl is evident in the iconography and commemorations related to World War I. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, and Przemyśl was the site of the third largest system of fortresses in Europe before the war. Consequently, the city was the site of a great deal of action along the eastern front.

One of the great literary works that deals with Galicia during World War I is the novel "The Good Soldier Svejk," written by the Czech author Jaroslav Hasek and published in 1923. Statues of Svejk can be found in several cities where the novel places him along the eastern front. Below, students are pictured with Svejk in Przemyśl .

L-R: Leigh, Heather, Svejk, Elaina, and Daniella

On July 18, students attended the opening of a new exhibit (see below) on World War I that opened in the National Museum in Przemyśl. The exhibit featured the role of Hungarians in the battles for the Przemyśl fortress during the war.

L-R: Daniella, Dr. Pudlocki, Leigh, Elaina, Dr. Hartman, and Dr. Wise

Friday, July 18, 2014

Daemen Students in Warsaw

After spending five days in Krakow, the study abroad group (Leigh Alexander, Daniella Milanese, Elaina Murray, and Heather Williams) travelled to Warsaw. During their four-day stay in the capital city, students attended lectures and toured important historical sites and museums: the Jewish ghetto established by the Germans during their occupation of the city in World War II; the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising; the Old Town that was rebuilt after World War II, and many other locations around the city.

Under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Kier Wise (Chair, Department of History & Political Science; Director of the Polish Studies Program), the students are engaged in a Think Tank project that is generously funded by the Office of Academic Affairs as approved by Dr. Michael Brogan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.

The Think Tank Project focuses on historical memory in Poland as it relates to the world wars. Students found that in Warsaw the public commemorations and monuments focus primarily on World War II, while there is comparatively little emphasis on World War I (despite the fact that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war that would make possible the creation of an independent Polish state).

Future blog reports will discuss student impressions from Przemyśl , Poland and Lviv, Ukraine. The final project report will compare the exhibitions and commemorations in various cities and analyze their implications for public memory in Poland -- and also Lviv, Ukraine -- as it relates to the world wars.

Lectures at the University of Warsaw were provided by Dr. Sławomir Józefowicz (pictured below with students at the University Gate and also in one of the lecture halls).

L-R: Heather, Daniella, Elaina, Leigh, & Dr. Józefowicz

Daemen students in lecture hall at the University

While at the University, students also enjoyed a tour of Kazimierzowski Palace, which was originally constructed in the 17th century. Over the centuries, the palace has undergone several reconstructions, most recently from 1945 to 1954 after it was bombed and burned during World War II.

The Golden Hall in Kazimierzowski Palace

The University continues to expand with new construction along the Vistula River. The rooftop garden at the new library offers a splendid view of the city.

Visiting the garden on the roof of the University library

On a warm summer day, students had an opportunity to visit the royal palace and gardens at Wilanów (see below).

L-R: Daniella, Leigh, Heather, and Elaina at Wilanów

Daniella feeding the ducks at Wilanów

Beautiful Łazienki Park in the heart of Warsaw (below) also provided a retreat from the heat.

L-R: Leigh, Elaina, Dr. Wise, Daniella, and Heather

The next blog report will focus on the student trip to Lviv, Ukraine, where students visited museums and enjoyed tours that focused on the extraordinarily rich multicultural history of Galicia.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guest Blog - Jordan Sieracki (2015, History & Political Science)

Jordan (2015, History & Political Science)

Guest Blog: 

The History and Political Science Department’s guidance has been instrumental in my undergraduate success and in preparation for my future law school plans.  In the summer of 2012, with the encouragement of my academic advisors, I applied to and was one of twenty area students selected to be a participant in the Law School Admissions Council Pre-law Scholar’s Program at University at Buffalo Law School. Last summer. I received an opportunity to travel to Poland to study Polish language and culture. My scholarship was awarded through the Kosciusko Foundation, and my travel was supported by a private donation from a Daemen almunus.  This spring, I received a scholarship* to take a Kaplan LSAT Prep Course that helped me improve my initial diagnostic score by 15 points when I took the LSAT officially this June. I would have not been able to take advantage of these amazing and life-changing opportunities without the advisement, encouragement, and recommendation letters of the professors in my Department.

My advice for any other students looking to take the LSAT is practice, practice, practice! Hard does not mean impossible. The preparation course provided the structure and instruction I needed, but ultimately it all comes down to diligently practicing a new skill set. You have to practice tackling the questions until the breakdown of answering them becomes second nature. It can definitely be overwhelming and frustrating, but practicing over time will yield rewarding results. If you unable to take a commercial preparation course, you should make a study schedule to keep yourself accountable and on track. Otherwise, it can be too easy to put off studying and letting discouragement distract you from your goals.  

My dad has always told me that success is when preparation meets opportunity. Daemen’s History and Political Science Department both prepared me through my course work and introduced me to new and exciting opportunities that have allowed me to grow in success each year. I am excited for the experiences and stories of success yet to come! 

*The Kaplan Scholarship was awarded to Dr. Lisa Parshall through the Northeast Pre Law Advisors Association (NAPLA). Dr. Parshall was awarded a NAPLA travel grant to attend their 2013 conference where she additionally received a preparation course certificate from Kaplan, Inc. to be conferred upon a student of her choosing.  Jordan was selected as the recipient based on need and in recognition of her outstanding service to the Department and College as a peer mentor, orientation leader, and active member of the student clubs/associations.     

Daemen Students Arrive in Poland

Four Daemen students arrived in Krakow on June 30 to take part in the second year of Daemen College's study abroad program in Poland, which is housed in the Department of History & Political Science.  Students will spend one week in Krakow, one week in Warsaw, and two weeks in Przemysl.

While in Krakow, students attended lectures at the Institute of History. Pictured below are Dr. hab. Slawomir Sprawski (Director of the Institute of History, Jagiellonian University), Elaina Murray, Leigh Alexander, Daniella Milanese, Heather Williams, Dr. Andrew Kier Wise (Chair, Department of History & Political Science; Director of the Polish Studies Program, Daemen College), and Dr. Tomasz Pudlocki (Institute of History, Jagiellonian University).

Lectures by faculty at Jagiellonian University were organized by Dr. Tomasz Pudlocki (pictured below with Daemen students in a classroom at Jagiellonian). The focus of the program once again is "Multicultural Poland," with a special focus on inter-cultural relations in Galicia during the period of the two world wars.

Daniella, Heather, Leigh, Dr. Pudlocki, and Elaina

The program incorporates visits to historic sites and museums into the curriculum. For example, students toured Collegium Maius (below), the oldest part of Jagiellonian University.

Dr. Pudlocki and students touring Collegium Maius

Students also toured Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, even climbing the steep stairway to reach the bell tower (below).

L-R: Elaina, Daniella, and Leigh

And the view from Wawel overlooking the Vistula River was spectacular (below).

L-R: Elaina, Heather, Daniella, and Leigh

There was still free time to enjoy the charms of Krakow's Old Town. Below, students enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage around Market Square en route to Wawel.

L-R: Leigh, Daniella, and Elaina