University of Southern Mississippi history graduate student Meghan Waldow of Floral Park, N.Y., has been named a fellow of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, founded by Elie Wiesel.
The fellowship will give Waldow the opportunity to study in Poland to explore the country’s rich Jewish heritage and learn about pre-war Jewish life, life under Nazi occupation and Jewish life during Communism.
“I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity such a fellowship provides,” said Waldow, who leaves for Poland June 24.
The Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows program is open to students who have recently received their undergraduate degrees and those enrolled in a graduate program. The competition for this fellowship was intense, with only six applicants nationwide awarded a fellowship.
After a brief orientation in New York City, the Fellows travel in Poland for three weeks, during which time they will visit Krakow, Warsaw, Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and Lodz. The Fellows also will be taken on a study trip throughout southeast Poland (formerly known as Galicia).
Dr. Michael Neiberg, director of graduate studies for the Southern Miss Department of History and co-director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, hopes Waldow’s award will encourage other students to pursue fellowship opportunities.
“The award is recognition of the wide variety of topics and intellectual interests that students can pursue through our Center for the Study of War and Society,” he said. “Our students can compete nationally and have many doors open for them through fellowships like this one.”
Waldow, who received her undergraduate degree in history with a minor in psychology from Seton Hall University, is working on a master of arts in history with an emphasis in European war and society.
She chose to continue her studies at Southern Miss for several reasons. “I came here because of the reputation of the War and Society program and the close proximity to the museums in New Orleans. Everyone has been very welcoming. My professors actually care about my success, I’m not just a number,” Waldow said.
In turn, Waldow’s professors are also proud of her accomplishments within the program. “She worked very hard to make herself competitive for this opportunity, and we know she will benefit tremendously from it,” Neiberg said. “Meghan’s success is well-deserved, and we all look forward to seeing the results of her research.”
The goal of the Auschwitz Jewish Center’s fellowship program is that “upon returning home, Fellows incorporate the lessons they have learned into their intellectual, personal and professional lives in a significant way.”