Student Perspective: Summer Research in Europe

Undergraduate history major, Phi Alpha Theta member, and latest department travel award recipient, Alex Ramsland describes her summer research and conference presentation in Europe. 

October 2, 2023

This past summer, I had the privilege of attending two international conferences, which would not have been possible without the integral funding aid Baylor graciously provided! I attended the 21st International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities at the Sorbonne Université in Paris, France, and the 18th International Conference on the Arts in Society at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. At both conferences, I presented my work "The Final Word is Female: The Value of Remembering Simone de Beauvoir as her Entity in the Face of Jean-Paul Sartre," which I wrote under the guidance of Dr. Holly Collins (Modern Languages & Culture, French). This experience allowed me to present alongside PhD students, professors, and professional researchers. It was invaluable to me as an undergraduate student hoping to pursue a master's degree. I attended various sessions at both conferences at which I learned about presentation styles and got to network with people in my desired field.

alex ramsland

While in France, I also took the opportunity to go and partake in first-hand archival research for an article I am currently working on with Dr. Daniel Watkins of the Baylor History Department. The archives I was able to visit included Le Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand, and Les Archives Nationales- Paris, which were all incredible experiences. Truly, the highlight of my time abroad was getting to find sources from the 1700s and getting to see them and hold them- that tangible aspect of research, holding a piece of history in my hands was enthralling. It makes me so much more excited for a future in researching in these archives (hopefully)!            


Regarding my time abroad, I was thrilled to share my work and receive such positive feedback and encouragement, which validated my desire to continue in history. The ability to partake in first-hand archival research was invaluable to me, and it is something I will never forget. The whole time I was in Europe, I could not help but gush about the Baylor History Department- after all, they encouraged, supported, and prepared me for the trip and beyond!