Name: Joslyn Felicijan

Field of Study: History / Minors in Anthropology and Politics

Status: Alumna 

Graduation Year: 2020 — Bachelor of Arts in History

Hometown: Prosser, Wash.

Why did you choose Catholic University? I was born and raised in a small rural farm town in Washington State so the idea of attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. was a huge surprise to my family. However, I knew I needed to attend Catholic University based on its unparalleled history faculty, study abroad office, and location in D.C. As I history major, I originally wanted to attend any college in D.C. because of the city’s diverse access to opportunities in history and politics with all of the museums and Capitol Hill. Catholic quickly became my top choice primarily because their history department offered so many courses in my main areas of interest, including the Holocaust, Britain and World War II, Jacobite, and Tudor history. Also I was very impressed by the CUAbroad Office’s options for historical studies in Europe — specifically their Oxford Study Abroad Programme.

Organizations and activities: My two favorite involvements at Catholic University were my participation in the Oxford Study Abroad Programme and the creation of the student organization Women of CUA. Studying abroad at the University of Oxford was a life-changing experience. It was exciting to be studying history in such a historical city under the guidance of superb tutors in iconic academic buildings such as the Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, and the Tom Tower at Christ Church College in Oxford (shown in the photo above). Studying in Oxford also gave me the opportunity to visit historical sites across Europe. Oxford fundamentally altered my viewpoint towards my major. It has led me to pursue an M.Phil. in Modern European History at the University of Cambridge this autumn.
My second activity began in 2017 when I co-founded and later served as president of the university's only non-partisan gender-empowerment organization — Women of CUA. This student organization fostered a safe and inclusive space united by empowering students and professors while appreciating how diverse our community is. In addition to hosting events that promoted intersectional feminism with student organizations like Black Student Alliance and the Society of Women Engineers, the organization also formed a special relationship with female faculty who served as role models to our members because of their confidence and perseverance to boldly pursue their careers despite the push-back they have received simply because of their gender.

"I am honored to have been mentored by so many wonderful faculty members.
– Joslyn Felicijan

Favorite course: There are three courses that all remain my favorite and are linked to one another. The first is Dr. Lawrence Poos’s course: Tudor England; Tyrants and Vagabonds. It was my first history class at the university and introduced me to my future undergraduate mentor. Dr. Poos’s engaging lectures on one of my favorite subjects catalyzed my curiosity in British history and culture which later inspired me to study abroad in England and complete my history degree requirements with British-related research projects. Equally my favorite was Dr. David Rich’s class: War and Genocide in Twentieth-Century Europe. Dr. Rich’s encyclopedic knowledge about the Second World War and Eastern Europe paired with challenging coursework greatly matured my interest in Holocaust History and  introduced me to primary sources, and the variety of different international professions in the field. My third favorite was Dr. Laura Mayhall’s course: Britain and the Second World War. I adored this course because of the creative way Dr. Mayhall engaged with the period through different types of popular culture, art, and the understudied voices from minority groups. The unique environment Dr. Mayhall created for this class was the perfect way for me to complete my undergraduate career.

Goals: My immediate goal is to pursue post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom. I am planning to attend the University of Cambridge as a member of Clare College. My ultimate plan is to follow in the steps of my favorite professors at Catholic University by completing a Ph.D. in history. I intend to specialize in 20th-century European history with hopes to teach, write, and present on topics pertaining to British popular culture, the Holocaust, and Eastern European historical memory. 

What makes Catholic University unique? The Catholic University is unique because it provides students the benefits of a liberal arts degree with the inclusive opportunities of Washington D.C. Because of its small size, instead of getting lost in the mix of huge lectures halls filled with hundreds of students, Catholic University provides a peaceful enclave rooted in interdisciplinary opportunities cultivated by its world-renown faculty who open so many doors for their students. Students experience the best of both worlds — the traditional college experience, and the celebrated diversity, music, art, and culture offered in a cosmopolitan area. Additionally, every field of study can be partnered with internships in that field because of the institutions only D.C. can offer, such as the Smithsonians and government agencies. For instance, I spent an entire semester studying history, politics, and anthropology in morning classes that I would then put into practice throughout the afternoon as an intern for D.C.’s Congressional Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. You truly will not get such hands-on and applicable opportunities like that anywhere else except Catholic University.

Awards/recognition: I was surprised by the positive reception of my senior thesis, “‘Back Then We Were Heroes, Today We’re Murderers’: Anglo-Polish Historical Memory in World War II Cinema.” It was awarded the History Department’s Zeender Prize for the best senior thesis by a history major, granting it the highest honor for undergraduate research. It also was recognized as an award finalist in the undergraduate oral presentation category for the 2020 University Research Day. Lastly, “Back Then We Were Heroes,” was also selected as the best paper in non-U.S. history by the 2020 Phi Alpha Theta Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference.

Proudest accomplishment: The most defining aspect of my undergraduate career is the academic and professional community I was so blessed to create with my professors, specifically Dr. Lawrence Poos, Dr. Laura Mayhall, Dr. David Rich, Dr. Jennifer Paxton, and Dr. David Clark. I am honored to have been mentored by so many wonderful faculty members who consistently pushed and directed my work and academic curiosities to levels I never dreamed of. Because of them I am proud to have attended the Oxford Study Abroad Programme, been hired to assist on an international project reanalyzing post-World War II war criminal trials, and to have been accepted to prestigious graduate programs in the UK, including Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews, University of Edinburgh, University of College London, York, Durham, Royal Holloway, and Leicester. 

What Catholic University means to you: A particular experience that exemplifies what Catholic University means to me was this past semester’s end of the year History Party hosted by the history undergraduate advisor Dr. Arpad von Klimo. My fellow senior history majors and I were heartbroken that the in-person aspect of celebrating with our friends and professors was canceled due to the pandemic. However, the department came together and threw the party online with Dr. Klimo dressing up in a fancy suit, MCing with a gold mic, and playing sentimental music to make the event extra special in light of the extraordinary circumstances.To tune in online and see every single history professor, all of our fellow history majors, and our family members join the celebration was unforgettable because it validated that no amount of separated miles can diminish the extraordinary bond the history faculty share with their students.