ALMA — Maria Vostrizansky isn’t even a senior in college yet and she’s already had research published in an undergraduate history journal — a line on her resume that she hopes will be a boon as she applies to top-level graduate schools in the future.
Vostrizansky, a junior at Alma College from DeWitt, was published in Volume 12, Issue 3 (October 2022) of the Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History for her work, “Standing the Ground: The Crises of the 1790s and the Philosophies of the Federalist Papers.”
Vostrizansky’s paper compares the political belief presented in the Federalist Papers with the actions undertaken by authors during the Whiskey Tax’s enactment in 1791, the Genet Affair’s crisis of 1793, and the implementation of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. She said the paper started as an assignment in a history class with Associate Professor of History Kristin Olbertson and thanks in part to Olbertson’s encouragement, became something much bigger.
“I appreciate having the opportunity to do this kind of writing,” Vostrizansky said. “With the graduate school programs I’m looking at right now, having published writing samples is really important. It’s not just something I wrote for class — it’s something that adds value to the field and looks at information from a fresh perspective.”
Vostrizansky said she has found a home on campus through the diverse array of student organizations she is part of, including the women’s tennis team, Student Congress, the Kappa Iota sorority, Active Minds (a group dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues on campus) and Model United Nations.
Through Model UN, Vostrizansky in 2022 took part in an internship at Shiv Nadar School in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India, which was in part paid for through the Posey Global Scholarship program.
“A group of us, with Dr. Sandy Hulme, the Arthur L. Russell professor political science, went and taught a group of school children from seventh- through 12-grade how to do Model UN. It was something really meaningful, as I’m involved in it myself, and I feel like it can have a meaningful impact. At the end of my time there, we had a big conference where the students got to put our teachings into action, and it was exciting to see how much they learned from us,” she said.
Vostrizansky, a double major in history and political science, said she has thrived thanks to the relatively small classes at Alma, where there are 12 students for every one faculty member, and the overall size of the college, which enrolls about 1,260 students.
“I don’t really have the loudest voice, so it’s important that I can be myself in class and still be heard,” she said. “In the best way possible, you get to know everyone on campus. It’s a great environment.”
Vostrizansky chose to apply to Alma College over larger state universities closer to home and said she doesn’t regret her decision. She intends to pursue a graduate degree in history or political science, with a goal of someday becoming a college professor herself and continuing to publish scholarly articles.
“When I applied to Alma, I felt like it was one of the only schools that seemed truly interested in me — like I wasn’t just a number to them. I really appreciated that they treated you like a unique person, and I generally continue to feel that same feeling here today,” Vostrizansky said.