German Research

German Students Present Interdisciplinary Projects at Aquinas 10th Research Symposium

On April 25, 2018, GN 401 students Karissa Lantz and Paul Sommerville presented their research projects at the 10th Aquinas Annual Student Research Symposium. Under the guidance of their faculty advisor, Dr. Susan Hojnacki, they connected their German research topic with their second major (International Studies and Business Administration/Sports Management), their study abroad, internship, practicum, or experiential learning experience, and shared their scholarship with an engaged and interested audience!

Karis Karissa Lantz (German Studies & International Relations) Putin, Merkel, and Crimea: The Effects of a Cross-Cultural Diplomatic Relationship Following the Annexation of Crimea This capstone thesis project brings together the two academic fields of International Studies and German Studies. The research seeks to provide a possible understanding of events that occurred between Russia and Germany following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in eastern Ukraine. Based on the Social Constructivist approach to International Relations and Germany’s reluctance to be involved in foreign conflicts after World War II, the project focuses on the actions and reactions of Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The thesis concluded that the relationship between a German woman, who grew up in East Germany, and a Russian man, who was a KGB officer stationed in East Germany, affected the outcome of events after the annexation of Crimea.

Paul Sommerville (German Studies & Sport Management) Sport in the GDR: A Structural Analysis of the Communist Development Program. Lessons Beyond Doping. The German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, was able to build a world class, state-endorsed sport program with minimal resources and a limited population. National teams were not just able to compete, but rather defeat the world’s best, including the United States and the Soviet Union, at the Olympic level. Speculations of performance-enhancing doping clouded the success and were finally exposed after the Berlin wall fell. My research examines the financial and administrative structure of GDR sport. Where did the money come from, and who made the decisions? What unique processes were in place that set them apart? How did the rigorous training affect the athletes’ experience? Where did they go wrong and what influenced those decisions? I will use my research to identify processes from the system that could positively influence current sport organizations, such as national governing bodies and intercollegiate athletic departments.