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Alumni Spotlight: Micaela Kowalski

Micaela Kowalski

The liberal arts curriculum at the Mount is well known for its strength in preparing students for graduate and postgraduate studies. One such student, Micaela Kowalski, C’16, is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Kowalski’s doctoral research focuses on the Reformation in early modern Europe, particularly the intersection of religion and visual culture.

title-page-of-theodore-de-brys-america-pars-quarta_-published-1594.jpg“In particular, my recent research focuses on prints and images produced about the New World that were circulated in Reformation Europe,” said Kowalski. “I am examining how shifting theologies in the Reformation may have influenced an increasingly negative view of the New World peoples and spaces.” As a Mount history major and minor in fine arts, Kowalski learned how different academic disciplines inform each other. In addition to her major courses, Kowalski said, “My courses in philosophy, theology, and art theory provided me with a foundational understanding of much of western intellectualism and the Catholic tradition.”

Kowalski is pursuing a career as an educator at the university level. In conjunction with her doctoral research, Kowalski teaches a number of undergraduate classes at the University of Virginia on the history of religion. These include Reformation Europe, The Rise of Christianity, and Supernatural Europe. She also taught a course on African History.

She reflected on her experience at the Mount, “It was under the mentorship of my professors at the Mount that I not only realized a passion for the study of history but I also recognized my mentors’ care and guidance. I decided to follow in their footsteps in the academy.” One of Kowalski’s mentors, Gregory Murry, Ph.D., chair of the History Department and director of the Mount’s Core Curriculum, said, “Micaela is a student who made the absolute best of her time at the Mount. I still fondly recall watching her turn herself into a brilliant historian and a great writer over the four years here. She is a great example of what hard work can do.”

Kowalski was honored as a UVA Rare Book School Fellow and a Lilly Graduate Fellow. The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts supports and recognizes graduate students who are exceptionally well qualified to become teacher-scholars at church-related colleges and universities.

Her Mount education, experience, and hard work has no doubt prepared her for the academy. Yet for Kowalski, her study of history is more than the pursuit of academic and career success, it is also about understanding human experience. She says, “The study of history is about discovering and understanding the myriad perspectives that make up the human experience, and this has become the principle which underlies both my research and teaching.”

If Kowalski’s Mount education formed her understanding of the human experience broadly speaking, she said even more so it helped to form her as a person. “The education I received at the Mount not only helped me pursue further education, it also formed me as an individual, a Christian, and as a citizen.”