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Inspired by her study abroad experience in Paris and an internship at Musee d’Art et de l’Histoire du Judaisme last summer, Emily Katz ’06 (Vestal, N.Y.) is combining her studies as a double major in history and French for her senior honors thesis.

Her research entitled, “French Anti-Americanism and Contemporary French Jewish Intellectuals Responses and Reactions to French Anti-Americanism,” analyzes French anti-Americanism in the post World War II era, and examines how contemporary French Jewish intellectuals view and respond to this phenomenon.

“It’s a difficult topic,” says her history adviser, Robert I. Weiner, Jones professor of history. “I wanted to get her to do something that was safer and easier to manipulate, but she held to her own ideas.”

Katz presented her research at the 20th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research. She was one of 40 Lafayette College students scheduled to present at the conference, which was held April 6-8 at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Students who presented well at the conference also have the opportunity to have their papers published.

“I am excited about this project because it is very much interdisciplinary. I look at European history, French history, current political trends, and where the French intelligentsia stands on certain timely issues,” says Katz.

She is also guided by Christian Reyns-Chikuma, associate professor of foreign languages and literature, who serves as her French adviser. Working with two professors enables Katz to bring a more complex perspective to her project.

“Lafayette is a great environment for projects such as theses,” Katz adds. “Professors take the time to meet with you and truly care about your academic and intellectual progress.”

Katz is a hardworking scholar, who has earned the respect of both her advisors.

“Emily is a wonderful student,” observes Reyns-Chikuma. “She’s very fluent in French, and very motivated. Every time I see her, she brings me new information.”

For Katz, who hopes to work in Paris for a year, and eventually continue her studies with a Masters or PhD in French cultural and historical studies, the experience will prepare her for the rigors of graduate school.

“Writing a thesis speeds up and deepens the process of learning. Students learn 10 times more than they would in a traditional classroom,” says Reyns-Chikuma.

Katz is a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, and a French tutor. She is also a Fulbright candidate and has been invited to join The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the oldest and most respected undergraduate honors organization in the United States.

Honors theses are among several major programs that have made Lafayette a national leader in undergraduate research.

Categorized in: Academic News