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Sander Thoenes Research Awards for Irissa Baxter 10F and Shea Sweeney 11F

Posted: May 01, 2013

By Michael Samuels 09F

Hampshire College students Irissa Baxter 10F and Shea Sweeney 11F have been awarded Sander Thoenes Research Awards.

The Thoenes Awards support fieldwork and research costs involved in completion of recipients’ Division IIIs, the final project required of all students for graduation from Hampshire College. Beginning this year, they also support projects involved in Division II concentrations, the course of study that precedes Division III.

The award, which honors the memory of Sander Thoenes 87F, goes to students working in international relations, peace studies, or journalism.

Preference is given to projects conforming to the spirit of Thoenes’ remarkable, if tragically brief, career as a foreign correspondent. At the time of his death in 1999, killed by Indonesian militia while in East Timor reporting on its attempts to become independent, Thoenes was Jakarta correspondent for the Financial Times of London.

Baxter’s Division III is a study of how Holocaust museums and monuments have used “memory work,” an approach to the past that includes an ethical responsibility to revisit distorted histories. She will travel to Prague, Czech Republic, and Krakow, Poland, to study historical preservation in both cities. In Krakow, she will also work at the Galicja Jewish Museum, and interview survivors and academics with the help of the museum director.

Sweeney’s Division II looks at how young people are affected by the legacy of the Cold War. She is spending the summer in Reykjavik, Iceland, where she will divide her time between a journalism internship with The Reykjavik Grapevine and a research project on Iceland’s Russian immigrant population.

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