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Polish Studies Initiative Alumni

Since its founding year, PSI has supported over 50 grant and scholarship recipients from across 50+ departments and units at Ohio State. PSI scholarship recipients have been able to travel abroad to learn about Polish history and culture, participate in educational opportunities pertaining to specialized fields of study, and more. Faculty and postdocs who have received PSI grants have also been provided with the opportunity to conduct research in-country and develop unique research projects.

Learn more about how funding from PSI has impacted the scholarship or academic career of some of our previous recipients. 

Stories from PSI Alumni 

Joe Ernst (2022 PSI Scholarship Recipient)

Joe is an alumnus of Ohio State where he earned a BA in Russian Studies and a BS in Business. He later earned a MA in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies and a MPA in Public Administration at the same institution and currently works as the Academic Program Coordinator at Ohio State's Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.

Joe Ernst inside Waweł castle.

"Two years ago, the Polish Studies Initiative funding I received enabled me to deepen my understanding of Slavic languages, peoples, and cultures by funding my trip to Poland.

Of my two main goals, being to improve my Polish speaking abilities and conduct research on and with Polish queer activists, I managed to make progress that I never could have managed without this award. My experience in Poland with activists filled my research with first-hand accounts that only time in-country could provide, and my passion for the language only grew from being surrounded by its native speakers. This award also gave me the opportunity to make life-long friends, a chance to work with Ukrainian refugees, and a mountain of beautiful memories.

Buildings in Krakow

The PSI award gave me the chance to go to Poland, where I never would have been able to go otherwise. This trip allowed me to add to my master’s research in a way that made the project more relevant, as well as allowing me to argue for the perspectives of those with lived experience in my research area. This experience then was an important element in my earning of my two master’s degrees, as I used research conducted via PSI award in both my Slavic masters and my Public Affairs masters.

As the current Academic Program Coordinator for the Slavic Department at OSU, my experience in Poland is something I draw upon regularly, whether in understanding current situations on the ground in the region, or simply in a sense of cultural understanding. 

My career as a student and professional benefited greatly from the Polish Studies Initiative, and I can only encourage others to seek to benefit from it as well!"

Mara Frazier (2023 PSI Grant Recipient)

headshot of Mara Frazier

Ms. Frazier is an Assistant Professor and Curator of Dance at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute at Ohio State's Thompson Library Special Collections. For her proposal, she brought José Limón’s 1957 dance Missa Brevis to Ohio State. 

"My project directed Polish Studies Initiative funds towards a performance of José Limón’s 1957 dance masterwork, Missa Brevis, set to the music of Zoltán Kodály. With co-directors Valarie Williams in the Department of Dance and Julie Brodie at Kenyon College, I helped to realize the work with a mixed group of 26 undergraduate students from Ohio State and Kenyon College. They learned the dance, engaged with Thompson Special Collections materials, and performed the dance at Ohio State, Kenyon College, and the historic Memorial Theatre in Mount Vernon, Ohio. A public talk at Ohio State and two free masterclasses for Fort Hayes High School and Mount Vernon allowed us to share the essence of Missa Brevis, the communal togetherness and resilience of Polish society after World War II. Funding from the Polish Studies Initiative grant covered our music licensing fees, an essential need for the project.

Still from the 2023 Ohio State Performance of Missa Brevis

As curator of Dance in Thompson Library Special Collections Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute, I activate dance and movement materials through performances, classes, lectures, and supporting teaching and research. Staging dance works like Missa Brevis from the Labanotation score is at the heart of my teaching, research, and curatorial work—but it can’t be done without grant funding. I am grateful that the PSI was open to funding this engaged, creative arts project. Not only has it advanced my research and teaching goals, but along the way, I learned about Polish history and the vibrant Slavic studies community at Ohio State."

Dr. Julia Keblinska (2022 PSI Grant Recipient)

Dr. Julia Keblinska is a former grant recipient and completed a postdoctoral research appointment at the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University in 2024. She holds a PhD in Chinese (with a Designated Emphasis in Film & Media) from the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, she had been an “Archival Imaginations” fellow of the Ohio State Global Arts and Humanities Society of Fellows and a postdoc focused on crisis in East Asian and East European postsocialist transitions at Ohio State’s Center for Historical Research.

Julia Keblinska making a book at the Lodz Book Art Museum

"I received a PSI grant in my first year as a postdoc at OSU, where I came to begin a comparative project on late socialism and media culture in Eastern Europe and East Asia. My graduate work had focused primarily on China, but the position at OSU gave me the opportunity to broaden the scope and sophistication of my research. My PSI-funded summer research trip to Poland allowed me to discover how “Pulp Socialism,” the vibrant popular culture that proliferated in the socialist Chinese late 70s and 1980s, functioned in Poland. I met with collectors, explored their archives, and became familiar with the new books and articles, both journalistic and academic, that chronicle popular culture in late socialist Poland. In addition to deepening my knowledge of Polish media history, I introduced Polish collectors, researchers, and artists to my ongoing China projects. 

Printing materials and machines at the Lodz Book Art Museum

I worked with a team of book artists at the Book Art Museum in Łódź to create a short book on “Paper Archive,” a sourcebook project on Chinese print culture that I am co-developing with a colleague. As I worked with both younger artists and veteran book-binders who had worked on “second run” (“drugi obieg,” i.e., the Polish equivalent of samizdat) publications in the socialist period, I found compelling resonances in the book design traditions of these two postsocialist nations. Socialist print culture, which was vibrant, includes book, but also comics, magazines, and even such ephemera as train tickets; it can give us compelling glimpses into the rich everyday cultural life of societies we generally understand primarily through the lens of censorship and privation. In both Poland and China, collectors, memoirists, and popular authors remain nostalgically fascinated with the socialist objects of daily life. Thanks to PSI, I am ready to apply the critical skills that I have developed in my work on Chinese media to engage thoughtfully with the landscape of media memory in Poland in a new book project on the Polish 1980s."

Prior PSI Awardees

Since starting in 2012, PSI has awarded 41 scholarships for over $25,000 in student funding!


  • Wynne Poticher, Anthropology and Psychology


  • Joseph Ernst, Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies


  • Emma Brzezinski, Anthropology
  • Rachita Puri, Aerospace Engineering
  • Ekaterina Tikhonyuk, Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures
  • Alexander Vaeth, Material Science and Engineering
  • Ethan Weiland, Sociology


  • Amanda Heath, Speech and Hearing
  • Sarah Holbert, Political Science
  • Austin Karr, Aerospace Engineering
  • Riley Sayers, International Studies


  • Andrew Parra, Sociology
  • Jason Scheele, Aerospace Engineering
  • Jake Tischler, Criminology


  • Karolina Chimchenko, Center for Slavic and East European Studies
  • Alyssa Neville, Criminology and Russian
  • Lauren Sayers, Pre-Law


  • Nicole Freeman, History
  • Nathan Lackey, Mechanical Engineering


  • Daniel Arch, Mechanical Engineering
  • Nicole Freeman, History
  • Michael Haupt, Biochemistry 
  • Sarah Katz, Film Studies
  • Polina Zvavitch, Sociology


  • Meagan Chandler
  • Adriana Matusiewicz
  • Lauren Barbour
  • Lauren Bedal
  • Maddie Duncan 
  • Halyey Mehalik
  • Corinne Rubright
  • Carina Carpenter 
  • Katie Huston
  • Katherine Kamykowski
  • Rebecca Molnar
  • Michael Moser
  • Keegan Scott
  • Laveena Sehgal

Since starting in 2012, PSI has awarded 17 grants to OSU faculty and post-candidacy PhD students, totaling over $20,000 in funding!


  • Naomi Brenner, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
  • Mara Frazier, Curator of Dance in Special Collections and Area Studies at The Ohio State University Libraries


  • Julia Keblinska, External faculty fellow at OSU's Global Arts and Humanities Society of Fellows


  • Rebecca Mayus, Department of Anthropology


  • Nicole Freeman, Department of History


  • Izolda Woiski-Moskoff, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures


  • Dr. Angela Brintlinger, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures
  • Dr. Helena Goscilo, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures
  • Dr. Karen Mozingo, Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts


  • Peter Tunkis, Department of Political Science
  • Izolda Woiski-Moskoff, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures


  • Ian Johnson, Department of History
  • Paul Niebrzydowski, Department of History
  • Justin Wilmes, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures
  • Izolda Woiski-Moskoff, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures