Saturday, December 28, 2019

URSP Student Donnelle Bodnarchuk Researches the Relations between Eastern Europe and Church During the Cold War

After working with Dr. Kelly in my HIST 300 class, I really enjoyed the historical research process, and I thought it would be fascinating to work on a project with Dr. Kelly since he has always pushes me to be a better historian. And so, we worked on an idea for a topic. I knew I wanted to focus on eastern Europe and Church relations during the Cold War, and after about a month of discussions, we decided on Pope John Paul II and Poland with some general outlines of a project. It was more of an interest in the historical process that led me to the project rather than starting out with an idea. As for my long-term goals, I am planning on pursuing a PhD in history, so any experience in original historical research will be helpful. I’m not sure if I plan on pursuing this actual topic beyond this project, but it has the potential for it. Either way, I have benefited from the actual experience of this project; it is going to be something that I’ll carry with me through all future academic endeavors, as well as professional.

On a weekly basis my work varied depending on the work that needed to be done for my actual classes. But, I was doing something every week. For the first half of the semester, I solely did research. Each week I read various documents related to my project, ranging from Pope John Paul II to the Polish Crisis. As I would do that, I would analyze the documents trying to see how each were connected and what they were all trying to tell me. Like Dr. Kelly always told me, I let my sources guide me to my question. For the second half of the semester I wrote. Each week I would write here and there, and some days I would focus solely on my citations. The work of each week depended on the other work I had to do, but I was always managing some time to dedicate to my project. I learned this semester that I thoroughly enjoy historical research, which only makes me want to pursue my PhD even more than I already had.