CONWAY, Ark. (Feb. 8, 2010) – Addressing a group of Hendrix students, faculty and staff, Hendrix College senior Lauren Bartshe gave the first Odyssey Exemplar presentation of the semester, Feb. 2.
Bartshe discussed her Professional Leadership and Development Odyssey project, a nine-week internship at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. Although the museum has no official internship program, Bartshe’s passion and tenacity convinced them to hire her. Support and funding for the project was provided by the Crain-Maling Center of Jewish Culture at Hendrix College.
The St. Louis native became intrigued by the Holocaust during her freshman year while reading a survivor's memoir. Since then, studying the Holocaust has become her passion. She and senior Julie Champlin received an Odyssey grant to spend the summer of 2008 photographing Holocaust memorials and concentration camps. Bartshe, a German major, has also followed up with courses like Comparative Genocides and a study-abroad semester in Germany.
“Some of the docents at the museum were a little bit skeptical at first, because I’m not Jewish,” Bartshe said. “Once people realized who I was and that I had good intentions, they were very open.”
The small museum has a defined purpose: to tell the stories of the Holocaust survivors who immigrated to St. Louis. Bartshe’s internship involved delving into several local survivors’ lives, transcribing hours of personal interviews and organizing the stacks of personal photographs they donated.
The internship gave Bartshe a new insight into the role of photography in memorializing the Holocaust.
“I was piecing together 60 or 70 years’ worth of photos,” she said. “One photograph says a lot, but it’s also a small chunk of the whole story. The interviews were fascinating because it was the whole story – people’s lives before and after.”
Bartshe intends to spend the rest of her life studying the Holocaust, either working in a museum or teaching German and Holocaust studies at a university. She is currently a finalist for the Watson Fellowship, which would allow her to spend a year studying Holocaust refugees and their descendants in Argentina, Australia, China, Sweden and England.
The Odyssey Exemplar series encourages Hendrix students to share the results of their Odyssey experiences with the rest of the Hendrix community.
"Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning” is a major component of the Hendrix curriculum. The philosophy is, “You learn more when you do more.” Each student is required to complete three Odyssey experiences selected from six categories: artistic creativity, global awareness, professional and leadership development, service to the world, undergraduate research, and special projects.
Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation's top "Up and Coming" liberal arts college for 2010 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 44 "Best Buy" colleges by the 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.
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