ALMA — Maria Vostrizansky is the 2024 winner of the M.J.J. Smith Society Scholarship, which recognizes Alma College’s most outstanding graduating history major. The scholarship, which was awarded at a gathering of faculty and students in the Alma College history program on Tuesday, April 16, provides up to $25,000 for post-graduate study.

Vostrizansky, a double-major in political science and history from DeWitt, Mich., will travel to the Czech Republic after graduation, as part of the Fulbright Scholarship program. Following her 10-month experience in the Czech Republic, from August 2024 to June 2025, she will enter The Fletcher School at Tufts University, in Massachusetts, to pursue a master’s degree in law and diplomacy.

At Honors Day 2024, Vostrizansky presented her senior thesis, “Yugoslavia as an American Cold War Asset: Examining the Truman Administration’s Approach to Anti-Communism and Strategic Alliances.”

“Back in high school, I knew I wanted to study history, so I looked at the Alma College website and read about this scholarship. Knowing that there were resources like this that were available to me really drove my decision to come to Alma in the first place,” Vostrizansky said.

“So, winning this award is kind of like a full-circle moment for me. It was a lot of work and I’m really grateful for all of the support I’ve received here. The history department at Alma College is truly second to none.”

A member of the Alma College history and pre-law faculty for 32 years, M.J.J. Smith retired in 1997. He had an influential impact on many Alma College alumni who have gone on to careers in law and business.

In addition to awarding the Smith Society Scholarship, the history department also inducted the following students into Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society: Mallory Fenskie of Midland, Mich.; Aishat Ostanbekova of Saint Petersburg, Russia; Seth Stahl, of Perrysburg, Ohio; Tyler Hoag of Owosso, Mich.; and Kathleen Gregones of Westland, Mich.