At the closing of the 2020-2021 Academic Year, European Studies recognized three undergraduates with the European Studies Undergraduate Thesis and Paper Awards. These prestigious awards are disbursed annually to select undergraduates who have submitted a well-researched paper for their class that substantially addresses European issues.
Emily Janicik (Economics and German BA, Comprehensive Honors University of Wisconsin-Madison ’21) was awarded the 2021 European Studies Undergraduate Thesis Award for her paper, “Xenophobic Policies in the Name of Gratitude: Refugee Experiences with the German and Austrian Government,” a Senior Honors Thesis for her major in German.
Emily’s interest in the experience of refugees in germanophone regions started in 2019 when she took the German class “Kultur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts” with Professor B. Venkat Mani.
In her award-winning thesis, Emily analyses the 2015 refugee crisis through a comparative case-study of Germany and Austria, focusing on recent historical events and the current political context.
In her paper, Emily argues that right-wing nationalist political parties such as Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, Alternative for Germany) and Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ, Freedom Party of Austria) have negatively influenced public opinion of refugees not only through the media, but also through government policies. Using contemporary media sources, first-hand accounts, and economic data, Emily dispels the idea promoted by German and Austrian far-right politicians that refugees drain a state’s resources, indeed she proves that Germany and Austria can and do benefit from welcoming refugees.
Undergraduates John Nolan and Benjamin Wiley Sharp were both awarded the 2021 European Studies Undergraduate Paper Award.
Joe Nolan was awarded 2021 European Studies Undergraduate Paper Award for his paper, “Differing Models of Universal Healthcare Systems on Continental Europe: Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland.”
Benjamin Wiley Sharp received the 2021 European Studies Undergraduate Paper Award for his paper, “Colonial (Re)formations of Gender: The Rif War and Fascist Nation Building in Modern Spain.”
European Studies congratulates these students for their work. Students interested in submitting their paper for next year’s award can find out more about the process here.