Plans never seem to work out as we originally envisioned.
Christianne Gates, a 2008 Huntington University alumna, was going to attend law school after graduation – that was until she took an internship that changed her future.
In 2007, Gates had the opportunity to work as an intern at the United States Agency for International Development. While there, she learned about international conflict and the historical background that is needed to solve these issues. Upon her return to HU, she made new plans for graduate school.
As a history major at HU, Gates discovered a fascination with Turkey and its interaction with the West during the 20th century. She carried that fascination into her master’s studies and ultimately into a PhD program in modern history at the University of East Anglia in England.
“I became convinced that if we hope to end conflict, we must understand the historical background of present problems,” she said. “ I believe not only that it is possible to integrate historical studies with issues that demand practical answers but also that this is the only way to discover viable solutions.”
Since taking Dr. Jeff Webb’s American Diplomatic History course, Gates became interested in the country of Turkey and the diplomatic issues it faces, including the Cyprus conflict. Through her research, she tries to focus on the similarities between people of various nationalities. She hopes that this research will provide a foundation of peace and hope for future generations.
“Teaching young people not to judge others based solely on ethnic identity is the best way to avoid further violence and sorrow,” Gates said.
Because of the complexity of these concepts and the conclusions that she hopes to discover, Gates plans to visit archives in Cyprus and Turkey to further her research. A recent fellowship will help her fund these trips.
During the 2010 Alpha Chi Super-Regional/National Convention, Gates was awarded the $5,000 Joseph E. Pryor Fellowship, Alpha Chi’s largest award. The award is given to graduate students and active Alpha Chi alumni. The money is to be used for full-time graduate or professional studies. Alpha Chi is a national honor society for undergraduate students.
“I am very thankful to have received the Pryor Fellowship and to have the privilege of being able to continue what I love doing,” she said. “After I finish my PhD, I hope to continue writing and teaching. I believe that the way to change the world is to influence the minds and attitudes of the next generation.”
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