Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program on WWII
The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program (NSP) studies the causes, conduct, consequences, and contemporary representations of the Second World War from multiple national perspectives.
The NSP brings together each spring semester twenty students from different backgrounds and different majors who take the same five courses, share the same challenges, and travel together for three weeks in May with the NSP faculty. Beyond the classroom discussions, the readings and paper assignments, the guest lectures, the film series, the meetings with WWII combatants and Holocaust survivors, and the opportunity to visit WWII sites in Europe, perhaps the most striking feature of the program is the personal development and intellectual growth it fosters.
- Charters Wynn, Director, Normandy Scholars Program
Students who meet the program requirements and are looking for an extraordinary educational experience are invited to inquire and apply.
Read more about the Normandy Scholar Program on World War II on Not Even Past.
Testimonials from the Class of 2016
NSP Class of 2016.
The Normandy Scholar Program is a dream come true. While challenging, the program has been the most rewarding experience of my life. The trip to Europe was only the finale of a fantastic adventure. Throughout the course of the semester, my classmates and I bonded over our studies and became the best of friends. The professors in the Program are first class; they not only teach you the information, but arm you with the skills to analyze it like a historian. We also had the opportunity to listen to firsthand accounts from people that witnessed the war themselves. The trip itself was as I said, a dream come true for anyone who is interested in the Second World War. The amount of history and fun that is packed into that month is unbelievable, and will always be one of my fondest memories. I cannot emphasize how amazing of a program this is. I will always be proud to say that I am a Normandy Scholar.
--Jeff Fiore, History
“The Normandy Scholar Program changed my life. I had access to world-class professors who challenged me, pushed me, and taught me in ways no other instructor ever has. The material and rigor of the program can be difficult to swallow, but I can easily say my Normandy semester was the best of my college career. The sense of camaraderie in the class and with the professors only grew during the European segment of the program, and our journey abroad brought to light the material we spent months learning. Although extremely challenging, the NSP bettered me as a person and as a student. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I will be forever thankful that I could be a part of it."
--Justin Fogarty, Liberal Arts Honors Program/Psychology
“The first time I heard about the Normandy Scholar Program I was a freshman walking around the study-abroad fair in the dead heat of August, unsure of where I belonged, or what I wanted to make of my time here at UT Austin. What I found was this incredible program that merged all of the passions in my life, and gave me a goal to work towards. I knew that I would apply my junior year and go on this incredible adventure. The Normandy Scholar Program exceeded any and all expectations I had. The faculty, films, guest lectures, and the three incredible weeks of travel in Europe made every difficult essay and reading worth it. I met some of my best friends through this program, learned about World War II and history with some of the best faculty at UT, and was encouraged to pursue my passions and question what I thought I knew about writing, history, and the 20th century in Europe. My semester in the Normandy Scholar Program is the best that I have experienced at UT. I wish that I could repeat the classes and the trip over again. The Normandy Scholar Program allowed me to engage with incredible academic material, challenge myself, meet incredible professors, and do what I love. I would encourage anyone to apply for this program. It will change your experience at UT, and stick with you well beyond the Forty-Acres.”
--Sarah Gutberlet, History, English
“I had no idea what I was getting into when I applied for this program, but I am eternally grateful that I did. The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program was easily the most unique experience I had during my undergraduate career. You will learn so much more than mere facts and figures about the Second World War. You will also potentially meet some of the best friends you will ever have because they will be like-minded individuals who also care enough about history and academics to apply for a program such as this one. If you refrain from applying because your major isn’t related to history at all, don’t! This program was beyond worth taking a semester off from my intended degrees. I developed my writing skills tremendously, learned how to better approach other historical events as well as current events, and even changed my minor to History in the end because of the Normandy Scholar Program. I will be forever grateful to the professors and the program for making such an enriching and life-altering experience possible.”
--Kirstin Helgeson, Pure Mathematics and Linguistics
The Normandy Scholar Program consisted of a semester full of experiences that helped me grow not only academically, but also personally. With every new book I read, document I analyzed, and essay I wrote, I became more conscious of a history that I had only briefly touched on. While the workload was not easy and the material was not light, I could not have asked for a more rewarding outcome. Studying World War Two in such a detailed manner under such qualified professors offered me a different outlook on the world. I learned to broaden my research of history as well as the necessity of seeing things from multiple points of views. The program took me to places in Europe that furthered my understanding of the War and the full effect it had on the world. Seeing museums, memorials, and actual battlefields helped convey to me an unfortunate truth: this history still resonates today. Simultaneously, I made life-long friends with people I would have otherwise never met and also built incredible relationships with my professors. I encourage anyone with a love for history, and an understanding of the importance of keeping it alive, to join the Normandy Scholar Program. It has been absolutely life changing and the memories will stay with me forever. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have been a part of it.
--Angela Jimenez, History
“This semester I had the honor of participating in the Normandy Scholar Program. I, alongside nineteen wonderful people, intensely studied WWII and then traveled abroad to visit the European theater. This trip was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I made memories with friends that will last that lifetime. But it was also a solemn reminder that the way of life I was allowed to return to once the trip ended was purchased by the blood of young men about my age who dared to believe that freedom and equality were worth their ultimate sacrifice. We live in a complicated world, but by studying the past we afford ourselves moments of clarity. Even better than understanding what has happened, we can understand what is happening now, and the noble deeds of others that brought us to this place.”
--Connor Madden, Plan II Honors | Business (Management)
I first heard about the NSP from one of the program’s professors [Michael Stoff] during my freshman year. By all accounts, the program was reported to be the most powerful academic experience that participants had had throughout their college career. I was curious, but skeptical; nonetheless, I applied hoping to be one of the lucky few to study in-depth the momentous event that is WWII, and secretly, to see what all the hoopla was all about. To my delight, the NSP exceeded all of my expectations: the professors were incredibly knowledgeable and proved to be great mentors; my fellow Normandy Scholars were quirky, absolutely brilliant, and proved to be great friends, and Europe was simply surreal. From the streets of London, the quick-sands of Mont-Saint Michel, scenic train rides across Europe, to innumerable trips to priceless historical sites (Churchill’s War Room, Hitler’s Bunker, the Normandy Beaches, the Berlin Wall—to name a few). Having said this, the NSP is incredibly challenging—academically, emotionally, and for me, spiritually. Its rigor made me a better writer, reader, and perhaps more importantly, transformed the way I approach history both as its student and consumer. All in all, the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program proved to be indeed the most powerful academic experience of my college career. I highly recommend it!
--Yvan Ntwali, History
Testimonials from the Class of 2015
NSP Class of 2015.
“I came to UT seeking unique, life-altering experiences. The Normandy Scholars Program exceeded all expectations. Though advertised as an in-depth study of the Second World War’s history, the primary accomplishment of the NSP and its incredible professors is teaching what history is – an ongoing experience comprised of, among other things, obscured and uncomfortable truths, conflicting narratives, veneer-like collective memories, and the pressing need to seek and preserve knowledge. Most importantly, the Program, and the history it covers, is about people: those you study, whether as abstract masses or as individuals; those you work and learn alongside, who will swiftly transition from strangers to friends, friends to something akin to family; your professors, who will push you, inspire you, and encourage you as likely no other teachers ever have or will; finally, it is about yourself – challenging yourself to think and perhaps feel as you never have before, discovering previously unknown aspects of who you are and what you’re capable of, how you can contribute to the historical experience. The Normandy Scholars Program, from the first day in a small classroom overlooking San Jacinto Street to your final night of celebratory reminiscing and bitter-sweet farewells half a world away from where this adventure started, is nothing less than life changing.”
--Bryson Kisner, Plan II, History
“The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is one of the most unique and wonderful study abroad programs the University of Texas has to offer. The Normandy Scholar Program provides a setting that fosters debate, discussion, and intellectual development among all the participants. The mix of students across many different academic disciplines led to interesting, and often refreshing, opinions and viewpoints on the wide range of issues and topics that we learned about throughout the semester. Each of the professors in the NSP is highly dedicated and deeply knowledgeable about their subject; their passion is infectious and only serves to enhance the program. While the NSP is without doubt one of the most intense semesters I undertook at UT, it helped me grow as a writer, a student, and a person. Finally, the Normandy Scholar Program gives you lasting relationships with both your fellow students and professors. One of the truly unique aspects of the Normandy Program is taking the same courses with the same people and the sense of camaraderie that develops from the shared study and passion. Similarly, the connections you develop with the professors makes you feel like an active participant in academia—not simply a bystander to be lectured to. NSP has become a defining part of my college education and experience, and one I cannot recommend enough.”
-- Matthew Winston, Government and History
“There are a number of reasons why this past semester in the Normandy Scholars Program stands as the clear highlight of my undergraduate experience: the faculty was great, the films and readings were totally engrossing, the coursework was at once challenging and rewarding. I can’t speak from experience, but it’s difficult to imagine many programs (at this university or elsewhere) matching this one for its depth of academic and ethical inquiry. The time abroad affords such a unique opportunity – the chance to visit the sites that you’ve just spent so much time studying – that it was always going to be memorable. But I hadn’t counted on such an intense bonding experience with the 19 other students. Over the course of the semester and the European trip, I became friends with all my classmates. They inspired me with their humanity, and they showed in Europe that they weren’t afraid to have fun. At the farewell dinner, I overheard the phrase “changed my life” in a conversation about the impact of the program. I am seriously going to miss it.”
--Andrew Zekany, History
"I feel so privileged to have participated in the Normandy Scholar Program. This was without question my favorite semester at UT. The classes were always fascinating, and I looked forward to our discussions every day. I feel I have become a much better writer and student thanks to the challenging coursework. Being able to travel to Europe and visit the sites we studied allowed me to come away with a more personal and intimate perspective of World War II. Having the opportunity to learn from and intimately know five professors and 19 other scholars made the experience even more special. I encourage everyone who is interested, no matter your major, to apply for the Normandy Scholar Program. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
-- Dorie Kaye, Liberal Arts Honors, History
“NSP was the most memorable semester I have had at UT. Immersing myself in material all about WWII was a dream for a nerd like me, and the classes and assignments helped me to become a stronger writer, a more eloquent speaker, and improved my critical thinking skills. I am also now more able to ask tough questions, push for answers, and be critical of sources. More importantly though, the friendships I made with my classmates will be long-lasting, and the relationships I developed with my professors have enriched my academic experience and fostered personal connections, something very important in a place as large as UT. This program exceeded all my expectations in every way. Doing hard things like NSP is completely worthwhile.”
--Synneve Williams, Liberal Arts Honors, History
The Normandy Scholar Program has been one of the best experiences I have had to date, not only at the University, but in life. The program is very special to me because it is a place where dedicated, intelligent, and enthusiastic students are coupled with high caliber educators. This produces a learning environment that is unrivaled. Learning the intricacies of the Second World War and then having the opportunity to travel abroad in order to have a tangible connection with the history was amazing. It truly is the highlight of my time at the University of Texas.
--Baldemar Barba, History
To merely say that the Normandy Scholars Program is a life-changing experience would be to understate the obvious. The NSP has done much more than simply change my life; it has fundamentally altered the way that I view our nation, the world, and my own abilities as a student. The opportunity to study the most horrendous conflict in global history alongside some of the best students, and some of the best professors, that the University has to offer was priceless in and of itself. Traveling across Europe was like icing on the cake. I am forever indebted to both my fellow Scholars and to our professors for an unimaginable experience.
--Marshall Smiland, Economics
Testimonials from the Class of 2014
NSP Class of 2014 in front of the Marx and Engels statue in Berlin. Photo by Daniel Wang.
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program provides students with a truly unique study abroad experience that beats any other the university has to offer. The coursework that comprises the bulk of the program proved to be the most enlightening, engaging, and challenging I have had at UT. The professors are some of the best the university has to offer and the students in the program not only encouraged and challenged me intellectually, they also became some of my best friends over the course of the spring semester and subsequent trip to Europe. The NSP is and will remain the defining experience of my college career. It left a deep impression on me as a scholar, a citizen, and a human being and I will cherish memories of the program for the rest of my life. If one feeling defined the program for me, it would be the overwhelming regret that I cannot do it again."
— Neil Byers, Plan II, History, and German
"During my freshman year, one of my History professors suggested that we consider participating in the Normandy Scholars Program, which allows students to spend a semester taking several courses on WWII and then go abroad to see the same places they'd studied. I loved the idea of focusing on one historical event, becoming an expert on it, and getting to see the sites I had studied so intensely. The NSP did not disappoint. The program challenged me academically, ethically, and emotionally. NSP's professors taught me how to consider the same issue from many conflicting viewpoints, while its students gifted me with the most intense, enriching learning environment I've encountered at UT. I learned just as much during the European portion of the program as I did in the classroom. While NSP was demanding, it was also a lot of fun, and I made some of the best friends I have during it. I recommend the Normandy Scholar Program to all of UT's adventurous, hardworking students. "
— Cici McNamara, English Honors
"Two of my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, so I made the gut decision to apply to the Normandy Scholar Program even though it meant abandoning the film classes I adore for a full semester. Now I can't fathom making any other choice. I got the intensive Holocaust education I wanted, largely because of Dr. Lichtenstein’s brilliant course on Poland, and also a schooling in how rigorous UT academics can be. My NSP courses proved to be the hardest, most rewarding academic experience of my life. And the NSP exposed me to students who were the brightest collection of minds I've ever encountered. I'm in awe of their intellects and humanity, and I’m so glad I got to learn from them."
— Aden Wexberg, Radio-Television-Film
"The few months I spent in the Normandy Scholar Program were truly some of the best, most important ones of my life. I realize now not only how enjoyable the courses, film series, brownbag lectures, and trips were, but also how valuable this experience was to me as a human. In the NSP’s small classes with passionate and knowledgeable professors I came to understand what this war really meant to the individuals who fought and suffered in it and to the nations that are defined by the war's legacy to this day. You don't need to be a history major, just a compassionate, thoughtful individual, to benefit from this program. That realization is most clear when you are in Europe with your friends at the sites where it all happened and it just kind of comes together. I know when I look back at my college days that this will be the experience that I remember most fondly."
— Jake Barnett, Plan II, History, and Arabic
"My time at UT would have been incomplete if I had not done the Normandy Scholar Program. In the NSP you are challenged academically in a way unlike in any other liberal arts program at UT. You study with other motivated students and learn from, and get to know, each (phenomenal) faculty member. You read interesting history and dazzling stories. You have to consider complicated ethical dilemmas. Your analysis and writing improves. By the time you get to Europe after a rigorous semester, all the students are already close friends, unlike in a traditional study abroad program. The sites in Europe, whether it is the grandeur of Mont St. Michel or the horror of Auschwitz, are meaningful experiences for everyone. Because of the rigor of the semester, the wonderful social bonds, the fantastic sites in Europe, and the enduring knowledge and analytical skills you gain, the NSP was a complete experience for which I have zero regrets. Anyone who is motivated to do serious work should consider applying. This has defined my time at UT."
— Zachary Stone , Plan II, History, Economics, Government, English
"The Normandy Scholar Program has been hands down the best semester I’ve spent at UT. I had high hopes for the program, but I never could have imagined how rewarding it would actually be. Being able to take interesting and in-depth courses here at UT and then go visit all the places in Europe that you’ve spent a semester studying is a truly unique experience. It provides a greater understanding of the impact of what you’ve been studying than you could get from just the classroom or just the travel. The program tested me every day but in the end I gained an invaluable appreciation for the struggles faced by all nations during the war, and I was able to do so with 19 other students who I know I will remain friends with long after the program is over. I honestly cannot recommend the program enough and urge anyone interested in World War II or history to apply. You will not regret it."
— Amanda Carter, History
"While the NSP’s courses are intellectually enriching they are also emotionally challenging. Unlike most history classes, we rely mostly on primary documents – memoirs and eyewitness accounts of the war. For this reason it was not always easy to read or duscuss the material we were assigned. Yet nothing prepared me for the trip to Europe, where very location evoked a spectrum of emotions from fear to courage, sadness to joy, even anger to sympathy. Knowing that every step I took followed those of the millions of people who were engaged in the conflict made me feel connected to them. Never has it been so easy to access the past in such an intimate way. I can honestly say that the Normandy Scholars Program was easily the best experience I’ve had in college thus far. The trip to Europe was more eye opening than I could have ever imagined. The lasting friendships I have made with my fellow scholars and the relationship I developed with the professors is and will continue to be the most cherished memory I have about this trip."
— Guillermo Jimenez, Cell and Molecular Biology
Testimonials from the Class of 2013
NSP class of 2013 at Westminster Abbey
"As soon as I arrived at the University of Texas, I knew I wanted to participate in the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program. As a history major it seemed like the perfect opportunity to both travel and study the most important event of the 20th century. Hearing former students testimonies only garnered more excitement. I was not disappointed. I learned so much from these great professors both in Europe and in the classroom, all the while making friendships that will last a lifetime. I am not aware of any other program that allows students to study alongside one another all semester and then travel to Europe. The best part about the Normandy Scholars program is that you don't have to be a history major. You don't even have to be in the college of Liberal Arts. The diversity of the program allows for rich discussion both in the classroom and on the subways and trains throughout Europe. I encourage every student to apply for the Normandy Scholars program if they are looking for a rich experience at UT and in Europe. I wish I could apply again!"
— Steven Max Alspach, Liberal Arts Honors, History
"As I am neither a history major nor a WWII buff, I was at first hesitant to apply to the Normandy Scholar Program, thinking I might be bored with the material. I couldn’t have been more wrong. NSP was easily my best, hardest, most challenging, most informative, and most wonderful semester of my entire college career. An amazing trip to Europe aside, NSP teaches you history in a unique, interesting and accessible way through fascinating books, discussions and professors. It also provides a built-in support group of fellow students that will become your closest friends, confidants and go-to group for late-night writing sessions. This program IS difficult and WILL exhaust you, but in the end, you will never, for even a moment, regret it."
— Amanda Lacey, Sociology
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar program is the best study abroad program UT has to offer, bar none. What other program gives you the chance to study with the university’s elite professors while at the same time making friends with nineteen of the best and brightest students? I am glad I made the decision to apply to this program; it has broadened my understanding of the Second World War and given me a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made on all sides. The three-week trip through Europe is just the cherry on top of a wonderful semester. If they would let me do the program twice, I would jump at the opportunity."
— David Braley, History
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program has been the highlight of my college career thus far. I honestly cannot recommend the program enough. Not only are the classes exceptionally interesting and well taught, the knowledge that you will be visiting the same places you are reading about awakens the desire to really understand the complexities of this tumultuous time. Bonding with your classmates in the classroom before traveling allows for deep friendships to be forged abroad. Once on the trip, walking through different historic places and understanding what had happened there and why it was important adds a completely new dimension to everything you see. If you are looking to be stretched mentally and emotionally as a student as well as a human being, you need to apply.."
— Katherine De Alvarez, Liberal Arts Honors, Economics, History
Testimonials from the Class of 2012
NSP class of 2012 in Berlin; Photo by Caroline Corcoran, NSP '12
"When I first heard about the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program in my freshman year of college, I felt that I had to take advantage of such a unique opportunity before I graduated. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Our intimate classes, diverse selection of reading and writing assignments, and excellent professors enhanced my ability to analyze and synthesize information, to form and express my opinions, to engage in critical discussions with my classmates, and to effectively organize and defend my thoughts in writing. This past spring will probably prove to be the most emotionally, morally, and academically challenging semester of my college career, but I valued every page of reading and each minute of discussion, and I'm still eager to learn more. Just as rewarding were the relationships I formed with my classmates and professors; our bonds exceeded any and all of my expectations. On a personal level, the academic and travel components of our program, along with the conversations I shared with my grandfather about his service on the European front and with my grandmother about her childhood in Nazi Germany and her Jewish husband's escape from Berlin, increased my appreciation for our freedom and the sacrifices so many individuals made to give us that gift. My semester as a Normandy Scholar will undoubtedly be one of the best experiences of my life."
— Alexandra Arumbula, Biomedical Engineering, Plan II
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program was the best semester I have had at UT so far. Learning from some of UT's best professors in a classroom with only 20 students is such a unique opportunity. The professors are so passionate about what they are teaching that it motivates you to keep up with the rigorous coursework. The friendships that develop while taking 15 hours of class together only get stronger once on the Europe trip. The program introduced me to some of the most interesting and intelligent students on the 40 Acres. Getting to travel to Europe to see what you have spent an entire semester learning about is so rewarding. Walking down Omaha Beach or past the Reichstag is so much better than simply reading about these sites in a book. NSP truly makes history come alive."
— Caroline Corcoran, Government, French, History (Liberal Arts Honors)
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is an unparalleled educational experience. Academically rigorous, intellectually stimulating, and wholly rewarding, NSP equips students with a plethora of knowledge that allows us to better understand our world, past and present. Analyzing a key historical era in Austin from four different perspectives, then traveling to Europe to experience and explore all that we learned about was unbelievably meaningful and truly brought history to life. I will forever cherish the bonds formed with the incredible students and professors in the program."
— Daley Epstein, Business, Plan II
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is a one-of-a-kind experience. Academically, the program is rigorous, thought-provoking, and demanding. The content of lecture and reading is fascinating and unsettling. As complex as the material may be, the professors do a great job of approaching perhaps the most important development of the 20th century. Personally, students in the program develop close friendships that extend outside the classroom. The European travel phase is the culmination of a semester of hard work and rewarding experiences. To stand in the very places where history took place—the War Cabinet Rooms, Omaha Beach, the Reichstag—is surreal. It makes history tangible— something a book or lecture can't always accomplish. The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program has been and probably will be the most rewarding and important academic endeavor of my time at the university. "
— Josh Fuller, History, Philosophy
"Applying to and participating in the program has easily been the best decision of my college career. The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program offers an extremely rigorous and rewarding curriculum. I entered the program with the assumption that I had no personal ties to WWII, but when I said goodbye to my classmates and professors in Berlin, I understood the impact that the war had on me. Everyday in class I was challenged in a new way, whether it was tackling the question of collaboration or trying to comprehend the war’s most inhumane aspects. The opportunity to develop an intellectual and fraternal community among nineteen other students and five amazing professors isn’t something many undergraduates get to experience. Even more rewarding is the chance to travel to Europe with this group and truly bring history to life. NSP gave me more than just textbook knowledge of the war. It gave me cherished friendships and experiences that have left an indelible mark on my Longhorn career. I highly recommend this program to anybody who is ready for its challenges and rewards."
— Andrew Wilson, Plan II
"The Spring 2012 semester with the Frank DeniusNormandy Scholar Program was one of my most enjoyable and enlightening experiences as a UT student. It established an environment that encouraged learning and challenged me to think more clearly, write more precisely, and speak more candidly about difficult subjects. The professors made the program special by taking personal interests in what I learned and how I developed as a student. Although my classmates and I were not always comfortable with certain topics, our professors urged us to explore these issues and apply the situations to our own lives. The trip throughout Europe helped to convey the enormity of the conflict. Americans remember the war as a victorious event because we did not have to fight on domestic soil while the homes of Europeans were the battlefields. I also met a unique group of classmates whom I now consider close friends. We would not know each other as well without the tight-knit environment that the Normandy Program created. We were all very different, but the differences in all of our interests and goals made the Normandy Scholars an appealing group of students. We worked hard as a unit and shared many special moments during our voyages throughout Europe, and more importantly, we developed relationships that will last for a long time."
— Peter Liddell, History
Testimonials from the Class of 2011
NSP class of 2011 at Westminster Abbey
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Every day we had the benefit of small classes with the same people, making it much easier for us study as a group. Working as closely with all five our professors as we did greatly enriched our learning experience. By the end of the semester, all of us had become better writers and researchers. Of course, going to Europe together was the pinnacle of the entire program. To actually stand at the places where history had been made gave us an opportunity to learn in a way that a simple classroom course cannot replicate. The best part of the trip, however, was being with all of our other classmates and the professors. We all grew even closer as a group, and seeing the professors outside of class differed from the traditional relationship between students and professors but proved highly enjoyable. I will always consider the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program as a watershed period in my life."
— Tarik Harris, History
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program will be, without a doubt, the most incredible experience I’ll have in college. While the academics were challenging, I wouldn’t trade the community built with the professors and fellow Scholars for anything. The trip to Europe is perfect — the program created the greatest three weeks of my life that I spent with some of the greatest friends I’ll ever make. I would do this program every semester for the rest of college if I could! (Please?!)"
— Laura Bonahoom, History
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program was one of the most demanding and difficult experiences of my college career. It was also the most rewarding, exciting, and life altering. Not only did I study one of the most fascinating periods of history (with five of the best professors) but I also made friendships that will last a lifetime. Traveling in Europe, visiting the sites we studied so thoroughly, made history real and relevant in a way I had never experienced before. Normandy Scholars was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget."
— Blair McBride, History (Liberal Arts Honors)
"Normandy Scholars 2011 really opened my eyes to the ways in which history affects our world today. The professors, the courses, and the friends you make are what set this program apart from any other you'll ever experience. NSP will improve your reading and writing skills tremendously and will give you a chance to travel to Europe with extraordinary teachers and classmates. I'm very thankful and proud to be a Normandy Scholar."
— Nolan Oldham, History, Government (Liberal Arts Honors)
"Normandy Scholars was the highlight of my college career. The program gave me the opportunity to learn from the best professors at UT in classes of only 20 students. Normandy Scholars draws a committed, intelligent, and fun group of students who enter the program with a common interest. In this group of exceptional Longhorns I found some of my best friends. Staying in houses together in the Normandy countryside strengthened the bond between our group members in a unique way. We played soccer, cooked dinner, and visited the sites we spent this semester studying. I sincerely hope that everyone who passes through UT can experience an academic and social program like Normandy Scholars."
— Sierra Shear, Government (Liberal Arts Honors)
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program provided me with an education unlike anything else. We answered discussion questions in one class with material we learned in another as we studied World War II from four distinct angles. Traveling to war-related locations in Europe brought that knowledge to life. We also shared common experiences ranging from late nights studying together in Austin to cooking together in Normandy. I cannot imagine a better way to develop bonds with other students."
— Samuel Rhea, Plan II
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is an intense experience that is both challenging and rewarding. It gave me the opportunity to meet and form relationships with twenty other students and five teachers. Traveling to the very war sites and memorials that we studied strengthened our knowledge on World War II. I enjoyed my experience in the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program and highly recommend it."
— Eric Lai, Plan II and History
Testimonials from the Class of 2010
NSP class of 2010 at monument for United States' 30th Infantry Division that fought with horrific loss of life, but successfully resisted the first large-scale German counter-attack after D-Day; hilltop near Mortain, Normandy; Photo by Nickie Tran, NS '10
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program was everything I wanted to get out of college but condensed into a single semester. I learned from the top professors, I made life long friends, and I traveled to places I had only read about. The program had a personal side for me as well because I got to trace my grandfather's steps when he helped to liberate France. The classes combined with the study aboard really made me appreciate all the people who gave their last measure of devotion to defeat fascism and helped make the world a better place. I'm very proud to be a Normandy Scholar Alumnus. There is really nothing like it."
— Dylan Rebstock, History
"The greatest benefit of the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is its structure — four different national perspectives on World War II. This intense focus on a single historical period resulted in students interacting with the course material at a depth which none of us had ever experienced before. The small size of the program also cultivated a feeling of openness among the participants. During class we debated serious topics and contributed our honest thoughts and emotions. Even when spending time together recreationally, we commonly discussed issues covered in the classroom. NSP is a premier academic experience."
— Noah Jaffe, History and Government
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program was by far my most rewarding academic experience at UT. To get to study such an important part of history with some of the best professors and brightest students, and then go to Europe to essentially live the history, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I wish I could redo the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program every semester over and over until I graduate."
— Angela Daniel, Plan II Honors and Management
"Studying WWII with such intensity becomes more than a challenging academic semester. The NSP is a personal experience, forcing you to situate your own life in an historical context defined by that epic conflict. I strongly recommend the NSP to students prepared to immerse themselves in history."
— Jacob Sims, History and Plan I Honors
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program has been by far the greatest experience of my college career. The Professors are some of the best UT has to offer and I cherish all of the advice and skills I have accrued from them. I would wholeheartedly recommend this program on the basis of the curriculum alone. However, as icing on the cake, there was also the fantastic trip where I got the unique opportunity to visit many of the important sites of World War II in person. Walking the beaches of Normandy, and seeing for myself the grounds of a concentration camp are memories I will never forget as long as I live. Having our professors to guide us every step of the way was an additional treat. The only negative thing I can say about this program is that it had to eventually come to an end. Thank you very much for giving me a chance to undertake this incredible journey. It has irrevocably changed my life."
— Kyle Bush, History and Government
"Normandy was the best semester of my life, in terms of personal and academic growth. The example I usually give when I'm gushing about this program is the week we studied the battle of Stalingrad—from the Russian perspective in one class and the German perspective in another. No matter what I end up doing after UT, the analytical skills and knowledge I gained from this semester will serve me well!"
— Rebecca Counts, Plan II Honors and History
Testimonials from the Class of 2009
Paris, Place de la Concorde, May 24, 2009. (In the background: the Rue Royale and La Madeleine Church.) Photo by Prof. Jean-Pierre Cauvin
"This has been one of the greatest experiences of my college career. Everyday I was challenged in a new way to react to some aspect of the war, be it atrocity or sheer humanity. That's really the best part of the program—that it makes you react—to take some kind of moral, ethical, or situational stance on the most dire of subjects. Learning about one phenomenon from four different perspectives is easily one of the most holistic academic experiences UT has to offer, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone interested in a challenge."
— Hal Hlavinka, English major
"The friendships and experiences this trip and program have given me will last a lifetime, especially the Omaha Beach/American Cemetery ceremony."
— Michael Redding, Plan II and History major
"For me, the NSP has established a strong foundation of modern Western culture and history. It not only encouraged excellence in scholarship, but also cooperation and friendship, which continues to be so important amidst globalization. I would highly recommend the NSP to anyone seeking to understand the historical context that continues to shape the world today."
— Eunki Hong, Biology and History major
"NSP has been my most fulfilling experience at UT. Unlike most other classes, the material we covered was not only academically interesting, but also personally moving."
— Dane Miller, Plan II and Government major
"This has been incredible...Never has history been so real and important to me. Thank you all."
— Anna Harris, History major
"I don't think I will ever have a better travel memory than climbing through bunkers and shell holes at Pointe du Hoc. I have greatly enjoyed the community that developed during the semester and during our trip. This has been my favorite semester in college. It is hard to believe that our adventure together is coming to an end.... Thank you for putting together the Normandy Scholars Program.... I feel sorry for future years who will not be able to learn from Professor Cauvin. The program will miss him.... Thank you for organizing this and enduring our antics. This has been an experience that I will never forget."
— Katherine Jordan, Plan II and History major
Testimonials from the Class of 2008
The 2008 Normandy Scholars with French Resistance activist and Ravensbrück Concentration Camp survivor Jeannie de Clarens in Paris.
"I wanted to thank you so much for this past semester and month abroad in the Normandy program. I have nothing but positive things to say and I know it was probably a nightmare to coordinate, but it was well worth it. I can't explain how rewarding this past semester has been, not limited to academics. I know I'm not alone in saying how valuable and amazing the overall experience was. The whole student group became so close to each other and the professors, so leaving was very hard. I'm looking forward to our reunions in the fall so I hope to see you there!" (Written specifically to NSP director.)
— Andrew Cross, Electrical Engineering and Plan II major
"I heard many great things about this program before it started, but it is impossible to believe what an experience NSP is until the end. I have made some of my closest friends this semester with a different, unique group of individuals you cannot find just taking normal courses at UT. The opportunity to learn, debate, and travel with such a close group of peers and respected professors is worth all the work. The new perspectives and understanding of WW II helped me to better grasp the world around me. Thanks for everything!"
— Garrick Smith, History and Government major
"I loved our itinerary and am glad I had the opportunity to visit so many historical places. Having the professors with us was 75% of what made the trip. They were there to fill in my many knowledge gaps that made Europe so much better. I really had the best time. Everything we visited was relevant and awesome! Can I apply again for next year?
— Jamie Brod, Government major
"This has been the greatest experience of all my 35 years. I have 25 new friends and countless stories. Programs like the NSP (if there are any) are why I came to the University of Texas. Thank you professors--Hook 'em!"
— Chris Corbitt, History major
"Best experience of my college career! The classes, people, and professors are some of the best I've encountered at UT. I'd strongly recommend this program to anyone."
— Kristin Schneider, Plan II and Human Biology major
"Thanks for my best semester at UT! I learned so much and enjoyed every second (even staying up all night writing papers!)."
— Alyshia Ledlie, History major
"The greatest thing about this program is its scope. You never stop learning, both about the history and about yourself."
— Chris Connolly, Human biology (pre-med) major
"Thanks for the most amazing semester I've had at UT."
— Chandra Srivastava, History and Economics major
"I loved the freedom we had to explore on our own, but it was great being with the professors because if offered another level of knowledge. Walking along Omaha and visiting the Normandy coast truly brought history to life. I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of the program this semester. The trip (and the program) has definitely inspired me to think about the world around me and feel more secure about my place in it. Studying WW II really came to life in Europe. I'm going to miss NSP!
— Elena Dufner, Plan II major
"This was an amazing program! It was the most challenging semester at UT, but easily the most rewarding. I would do it all again in a heartbeat!
— Lauren Conner, History major
"I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this program. Every single day was filled with amazing experiences. I feel that I have learned so much and gained new appreciations. Without a doubt, the best experience of my college career and something I will remember my entire life. The greatest professors and community that anyone could ever want.
— Lauryn Radice, History and Plan II Honors major
Testimonials from the Class of 2007
The 2007 Normandy Scholars at the Imperial War Museum in London.
"The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program has been an amazing, life-changing experience. I spent a semester getting to know 19 of the best students and 5 of the best professors that UT has to offer. Moreover, I got to know myself better and realize what potential I truly hold. The trip to Europe was the perfect culmination to the program. I doubt anyone can find a better program at UT Austin. It was truly the high point of my college career."
— Nathan McCray, History major
"Traveling through Europe with the world's greatest professors was a truly amazing experience. It was the most challenging semester of my college career, and also the most fun. Thank you for organizing a great program."
— Aaron Goldfarb, History/Economics major
"The most amazing experiences that I had in NSP were meeting unbelievably great people who touched me deeply; French resistance women, a D-Day invasion soldier, Holocaust survivors, not to mention, five wonderful professors, 19 students, and NSP administrators."
— Jiyeon Choi, Physics/Pre-law major
"Wonderful trip, great professors, an amazing experience."
— Mary Katherine Vigness, History/Theater & Dance major
"NSP has been the most rewarding component of my academic career. The subject matter was sometimes awesome, sometimes sad and sometimes romantic; but it was always intriguing. The professors in Normandy have been among the best professors I have ever had and they are even better friends. The wonderful trip across European war sites is but a bonus of everything the program has given me."
— Eduardo Gardea, Government major
"Great trip! A great culmination to all we studied. Had a great time with the masks coming off."
— Normandy Scholar 2007
"Great trip, had the time of my college career. You've added an incredible component to our WWII instruction."
— Normandy Scholar 2007
"This has been a very enjoyable experience. Every professor and student came together to make it a true college highlight. My only complaint was it was too short. Au revoir."
— Normandy Scholar 2007
"I had a terrific experience on the trip. Thank you so much for organizing a fantastic program."
— Normandy Scholar 2007
Testimonials from the Class of 2006
"I knew this program would be special and rewarding when I applied. I never imagined how life-changing it would be. I interacted with twenty incredible people and five great professors on a daily basis.... The classes I took through the program were some of the most challenging of my life. They were also the most rewarding. It was great to have in-depth discussions about such historically significant events."
— Kelli Benham, Government/Economics major
"This program is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Seeing the actual sites in Europe brings the war alive and makes it seem more real. I have a substantially greater appreciation for the overall war effort as well as for the individuals who fought.... I absolutely loved the program and will always cherish NSP.... The program and the experience proved invaluable.... Thanks to all of you for an unparalleled semester."
— David Stern, History/Government major
"This program was awesome. It taught me how to write a lot better and appreciate how open and free the U.S. is.... I have become a lot more interested in foreign affairs and war crimes. I am planning on attending law school and I am leaning towards studying criminal law or international criminal law [as a result of being in the NSP].... The trip was so amazing!.... The classes were so interesting, I loved them."
— Jennifer Stabe, History/Spanish major
"At the beginning of this program, everyone tells you how much it will change your life, and I'm not sure how much I believed that.... [but] NSP created this sort of intellectual and social environment that had been lacking in my time at UT.... I still can't believe I wrote all of those papers. I am/was impressed by the Professors' knowledge as well as the expertise of many of my fellow NSPers. It felt good to be embraced for my intelligence (and sometimes lack thereof). I am so grateful to have been able to participate in this program. I'm not exactly sure if I could ever explain how it has changed me, but it has. I certainly appreciate more."
— Annie Brooks, History/Business major (decided to minor in German since the NSP)
"This program has helped me leave that self-absorbed little bubble that many teenagers live in.... I see now that many parts of our culture and others are interconnected and overlap; that the relationships we forge, creates a kind of history; that the personalities of the people running the countries has a high impact on the views of the citizens.... Plus, I learned that my professors can actually be my friends."
— Elissa Sloan, Undeclared major (decided to major in History since the NSP)
"I can't say enough good things. I can only hope that my future endeavors allow me to give back to the program, in whatever way/means possible. Here is your quote: 'The student that began the semester was not the same as the scholar that got off the plane.' Somewhere along the way the books and films became not only historical words and images, but also a part of my own personal history."
— Chris Sokol, History/Government/English major
"Honestly this program was one of the best semesters I've had at UT. I had the chance to meet friends that I would have never met otherwise and work with some of the best professors at UT. Although I worked so hard this semester, I also had the best time. I have been blessed to be part of this program and it is something that I will never forget."
— Bethany Zwick, History/Judaic Studies major
"This program was really, truly great.... What made [the program] so unique was the way we would learn about something and then see concrete evidence of it when we travelled to Europe.... It was great having the same 20 people in all the classes as well, because we were able to feel more comfortable. For the first time since high school—we knew all our classmates."
— Marissa Foix, History/Government major
"The Program was great and so were the professors.... I consider myself very lucky to have been given the chance to participate. Thank y'all so much for the opportunity."
— Addie Bryant, Government/Comm. Studies major
Testimonials from the Class of 2005
"I love every single one of you. I will always remember this.... It has changed the way I write, the way I think and the way I live my life. Thank you."
— Art Perez, Radio/TV/Film major
"It's actually made me appreciate America as a nation more.... It has made me more interested in international affairs and American politics, and made me more introspective in general."
— Neysa King, History major
"Opened my horizons to new aspects I had never before experienced in college. Helped me a lot culturally and intellectually."
— Ray Mody, Human Biology major
"I have learned humility as a consequence of constantly being challenged to put myself in the position of people in WWII.... It is a lot of work, but the combination of the workload, the readings, the relationships with the professors and classmates made for a learning ‘chemistry’ that sharpened my thinking, my priorities, and my ambitions."
— Kristina Rodemann, Plan II/History major
"I endured the hardest semester of my life with the closest friends I’ve made in college, and followed it with the greatest trip of my life with my favorite humans who happen to be professors. This has been a turning point not only in my academic career, but in my growth as a person."
— Derek Davidson, History major