Nearing the end of the semester

And all is well! Well… sort of.

The last two weeks have REALLY ramped up the busyness, and I am constantly reminded of how far behind I am on everything.

Joseph is not amused.
Joseph is not amused.

Despite all of that, I gave a well-received paper at the MTSU Holocaust Conference last week discussing Germans’ responses to the Stolpersteine. The conference has helped rekindle my interest in the project, which has been needed to help get this thing “put to bed” as we say in the newspaper business (not that I’m in the newspaper business anymore, but you get the idea.)

Also creeping up on my to-do list is the very, very, very scary decision of where to go for my Ph.D. program. I narrowed it down to four schools, but today I added one more for a nice, round five. Applying to five worked well for Master’s programs, so I will stick with the trend. The programs (in no particular order) are:

  • UTK (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?)
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Georgia
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • The Maxwell School of Syracuse University

Not a bad collection, if I must say so. All of the schools have upper-mid-range Geography programs if you go by the most recent NRC rankings. History has taught me not to put much stock into getting accepted at top schools (cf. my experiences with Wisconsin and Minnesota), but none of these schools should be (too far) out of reach. Going by the rankings actually reveals some surprises:

  • Kentucky ranks as high as 9
  • Georgia ranks as high as 14
  • Syracuse at 16
  • UNC Chapel Hill at 20
  • UTK at 27

You really have to read the link about about the NRC’s research and ranking methods to understand the whole “as high as ##” statement, but suffice to say that the NRC does not give an outright ranking of programs anymore but rather a range based on multiple surveys and calculations.

Regardless of the rankings, I am excited at the possibility to work with the faculty I’ve picked out at any of these universities. To name drop, for the geographers in the audience, these include: Jamie Winders and Don Mitchell (Syracuse), Andy Herod (UGA), Altha Cravey and Nina Martin (UNC), Richard Schein, Patricia Ehrkamp, and Michael Samers (UK), and last but not least the most excellent Micheline van Riemsdijk, Josh Inwood, and Ron Kalafsky (the UT with the CORRECT shade of orange). Now I just have to start emailing all of these brilliant people to get the conversation rolling… Not a small task!

I know this post is just whetting your appetite for more, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to post some of my initial dissertation topic thoughts in the near future. They are still a work in progress, so we’ll see!

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