SMC student wins $3,100 grant to study Jewish identity after the Holocaust


SMC student wins $3,100 grant to study Jewish identity after the Holocaust


SMC freshman student Shelbie Richardson of Gaffney, South Carolina, has received an undergraduate research grant from the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. (SCICU). The $3,100 grant is the largest given to a freshman student at SMC. Richardson is one of only 31 students chosen to receive funding in 2017. SCICU received nearly 50 applications. She will spend the summer studying post-WWII Jewish identity in Germany and Poland.

Richardson’s interest in World War II and its effects began in high school. “I’ve always been interested in the history of World War II and the Holocaust,” she said. “I’ll be studying how the identity and culture of the Jewish people has changed since the Holocaust.”

Richardson said that many in Germany and Poland abandoned their faith after the war and she wants to look into how those actions affected current culture in those countries. She will be visiting the death camps, synagogues and museums within the countries.

Two SMC faculty assisted Richardson in preparing her grant application: Dr. Cole Cheek, Professor of History and Anthropology, and Dr. Kirk Hansen, Professor of History. Reflecting on the previous grants he’s assisted with, Cheek noted Richardson’s was special for a couple of reasons.

“Shelbie received a substantial amount of money to go to Europe,” Cheek said. “This is my third SCICU mentorship, and the others have been under a thousand dollars and supported local research. Additionally, most students who receive these grants are juniors going into their senior year. Shelbie is a freshman, which shows her capability – it’s a big deal.”

Richardson will travel to Germany and Poland in mid-July, and her research will end with a presentation to the SCICU organization in February 2018.

“Receiving an opportunity like this is amazing, and I know I have very big shoes to fill,” Richardson said. “The purpose of this research is to shine a light on a topic not a lot of people know about.”

“Our president and instructional dean have expressed great excitement many times for her chance to travel and do research that honors such a pivotal moment in history and represent our college,” said Cheek. “This marks a great opportunity and moment of significant success for Shelbie and SMC.”


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