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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 eighteen students from different backgrounds and different majors who take the same five courses, share the same challenges, and travel together nearly a month in May with the NSP faculty.  Beyond the classroom discussions, the readings and paper assignments, the guest lectures, the film series, 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 Scholar Program

Students who meet the program requirements and are looking for an extraordinary educational experience are invited to inquire and apply.

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College of Liberal Arts

Testimonials from the Class of 2022

Being part of the Normandy Scholar Program was one of the best decisions that I made in my time at UT.  One of my biggest goals during college was to push myself out of my comfort zone,
and participating in NSP accomplished this 10 times over.  As a chemical engineering major, all
of my courses were quite the opposite of what you could imagine a history class would be like.
In the first few weeks, I questioned whether I could belong in the program. It was strange for me
to participate in small discussion classes where I had to speak up and say what I thought (there’s
usually only one right answer to a math problem!).  However, I quickly realized I was surrounded by 17 brilliantly intelligent and inclusive students and 4 amazing, encouraging professors who challenged me, helped me grow like never before, and wanted me to succeed every step of the way.  Normandy classes were exciting, surprising, and immersive.  I didn’t just learn the military tactics of World War II.  I learned that history is made up of individual people and the stories that they carry. The program taught me to critically analyze different perspectives and consider the nuances of a story that we often miss. I got the chance to read and write about these tiny, fascinating parts of history that I otherwise would have never known existed.  After many (many!) late nights of studying intensely for 6 months with all of my peers, I had the privilege to travel to Europe and stand in many of the same places we read about all semester. Europe truly made the program and learning experience come full circle. It was surreal. Although one might assume chemical engineering and history do not connect, I can confidently say that I became a better writer, reader, speaker, and critical thinker.  All of these skills make me a more well-rounded, diversified engineer.  I looked back on my last day in Berlin with my fellow scholars and professors and was overcome with emotion when I realized the enormous amount of growth that I experienced in just six months.  Being in the Normandy Scholar Program will remain one of the most special and transformative times of my college experience, and I cannot recommend the program enough to future students who think they want to apply.
--Briana Stunda, Chemical Engineering
The Normandy Scholar Program is the defining experience of my time at UT Austin.  I learned how to balance a challenging workload while improving my writing and critical thinking skills in a fun and thought-provoking environment.  There is also significant internal development that occurs among Normandy Scholars.  The program taught me how to think about WWII and the world with a thoughtful and empathetic mindset.  I don’t think that I will ever look at history the same.  The professors also challenge students tremendously, and their support and encouragement made me feel that any challenge, academic or not, was possible.  Not only is the program a transformative educational experience, but it also fosters lifelong friendships and memories.  I know that many of my classmates will be my friends for life, and being able to travel to Europe with them was a priceless opportunity.  I am so grateful for the program and highly encourage anyone interested to reach out and apply.
--Katherine DeBerry, English, Liberal Arts Honors
When I first heard about the Normandy Scholar Program, I wanted in.  Participating in this program has been one of the most intellectually stimulating and academically rewarding semesters I’ve had at UT. The program pushed me as a writer and a moral thinker while making me laugh out loud at the dorkiest history jokes. Because of the NSP community, I’ll never look at Sartre again without thinking of his rumored womanizing skills. I’ll never be able to engage in a conversation about WWII without launching into the spiel: “Did you know 85% of German troops died on the Eastern Front?” Being a NSP scholar taught me so much about my limitations as a student and historical researcher. It challenged me to commit to a task, whether that be writing a 40-page research paper or trying not to disturb other people in Garrison Hall by laughing too much with friends before class. Normandy showed me the fashionable styles of British Siren Suits and made me think deeply about ~collective memory~ and how we talk about the past. I am eternally grateful to have been a part of this program and to have revisited the 20th century in a way I didn’t think was possible.
--Juliette Draper, Plan II, History
The Normandy Scholars Program was the single-most transformative organization I have been
blessed to be a part of during my time at UT.  I have always had a passion for World War II
history, which was the initial reason I decided to apply as a STEM major.  There are very few
times in one’s life where you can capitalize on an interest that is outside of your educational or
professional purview, and I saw NSP as one such opportunity.  Little did I know that I got way
more than I bargained for.  I am honored to have been included in the tight-knit and talented
community of Normandy Scholars, and I urge all UT students who are even remotely interested
to apply.  The program’s challenging curriculum demands collaboration, which breeds a very
close community of passionate students from all across UT.  We struggled, laughed, and grew
together in a way that just cannot be replicated in a normal college classroom.  The individual
growth fostered by NSP should be acknowledged, but the fact that this development was
surrounded and encouraged by my talented peers truly made this program a once-in-a-lifetime
experience.  Not to mention the extraordinary professors, who constantly strove to foster
academic growth and a create healthy classroom environment.  The program’s administration
are exceptional in their field and supportive in their classrooms.  The subject matter is applicable,
interesting, and important, but it is ultimately the people inside this program that make it so
unique.  And, to top it off, you get to visit Europe for a month! The Normandy Scholars Program
is a true gem of the University of Texas, and I wish that all UT students could experience what I
got to.
--McKennon Denny, Electrical and Computer Engineering
As a student from an underrepresented background, I was nervous and intimidated to apply for the Normandy Scholars Program.  To all those who feel the same, I will tell you that it has changed my undergraduate experience at UT Austin.  I participated in an academically rigorous curriculum as a sophomore.  I learned what it is to take challenging classes that not only test my ability as a speaker and writer but as a thinker.  NSP is a writing boot camp.  I learned what it is to write up to thirty pages of research and write about complex events in only three pages.  NSP is also unique because it is a program where you take five history courses with your fellow cohort who intimidate and inspire you.  They will help you learn to express your ideas in class discussions and in your writing.  The professors you meet in your classes are not there to lecture you.  Instead, they are there to push you a litter further in your comments in class, help you properly develop your thoughts, and express your ideas on complex problems you will encounter in your World War II curriculum.  The Normandy professors are incredibly insightful about what your specific writing weaknesses are and how to improve your papers.  This program has given me the thinking, writing, and speaking skills I use not only in academics but in my daily life.  The study abroad portion of the program exposed me to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.  It was absolutely surreal standing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France where so much history has taken place.  It was exciting visiting cities and experiencing the language and culture of the people I studied for months in class.  You will understand the privilege of learning the history and traveling to the actual locations where the events took place.  I highly recommend you apply to this program no matter how intimidated you are.  Trust me, you will grow as a student and person in the Normandy Scholar Program.
--Zoe Alvarez, Government, History
Last fall, I followed my interest in history, derailed my four-year plan, and applied to NSP.  Nearly a year later, I am deeply grateful I took that leap of faith.  I constantly surprised myself with the sheer amount we read and wrote daily for our courses.  We examined life in France during the German occupation, analyzed documents from Nazi Germany, learned about the trials of the Eastern front, and considered the ethical issues behind presenting emotionally-challenging content in museums.  On May 9th, when my classmates and I boarded a flight to Paris, the boundaries of my world broke open.  The trip to Europe was the perfect end to a semester full of academic and personal growth.  After so many months spent reading about and grappling with the enormity of the events we studied, standing on the ground where everything happened forced us to confront history in a unique and profound way.  After the program ended, I continued traveling with other students, extending an already life-changing experience.  No matter where we went, we couldn’t stay away from WWII material and found ourselves continuing to learn.  The community NSP builds is unlike any other at this university—the amazing professors invest in each and every student's academic and personal success, and the students push each other to dig deeper and think wider every single day.  If you are ready to think differently and want a supportive, curious academic community, I cannot recommend this program highly enough.
--Amanda Figueroa-Nieves, History and Plan II Honors
A 300-odd word testimonial can only do the Normandy Scholars Program so much justice.  As a transfer student during the pandemic, UT’s academic prestige and sheer size made acclimating to the 40 Acres seemingly indomitable.  However, the intimacy and intellectual rigor provided by NSP proved to soothe all anxieties I had about finding my place at UT.  This program offers a wholly unique academic experience in the classroom, pushing students to put forth their best effort and challenge previously held biases regarding the history of World War II.  I developed a holistic understanding of the causes and consequences of the Second World War, the latter of which are all too relevant today.  NSP challenged me in ways I didn’t think were possible while providing the academic scaffolding necessary to ensure my success.  If you walk away from your time at the University of Texas at Austin not knowing who “the sick man of Europe” is or that piercing “the soft underbelly of Europe” was a sorry attempt by Churchill to postpone the establishment of a second front, I pity you.  Aside from the intellectual formation nurtured by the incredible faculty involved with the program, the connections forged with my classmates are something I will cherish for the rest of my life.  The size of the program encourages students to form interpersonal relations through the academic rigor of the courses. From trauma bonding over the sleepless nights spent on our semester-long research papers to metaphorically spitting in their face through the most one-sided deal in D-Day Monopoly history, my classmates quickly turned into lifelong friends. Through NSP, I learned much about sharpening my critical thinking skills but infinitely more about myself and the person I would like to become. I will look back on my time with the program with the utmost fondness and encourage everyone to apply to be a Normandy Scholar.
--Chandler Rowley, History

You may not know Kirov now, but you certainly will by the end of the semester within the Normandy Scholar Program.  As a first-generation college student, the Normandy Scholar Program was the highlight of my college experience. The program not only challenged me mentally, but it also challenged me to grow as a person.  The topics of discussion are infamously difficult to talk about; however, the perspective gained through these conversations is unrivaled. While there is a lot of writing that accompanies these conversations, it’s the writing and critiques from world-class professors which make the Normandy Scholar Program amazing.  I’m also grateful to have worked with an inspiring cohort.  By the end of the semester, I had learned something from each of the other students.  In total, the Normandy Scholar Program is made to challenge you because it’s through those challenging circumstances that one grows as a person.
--Roman Panah, Government and History

"My semester as a Normandy Scholar will always stand out as one of the most challenging yet exciting semesters of my time at UT Austin. As an Architectural Engineering major, I took a chance and extended my graduation date to learn about the complexities of WWII.  After completing the program, I’m confident I made the right choice.  Although demanding, the NSP will lead to so much personal and academic growth and create close bonds between you and other participants.  At the beginning of the semester, I struggled to switch from STEM to the world of liberal arts, but the supportive, encouraging, and insanely qualified professors helped me along the way.  They were always available for one-on-one discussions about how to improve your writing or questions about the material.  I drastically improved my analytical, research, and critical thinking skills due to NSP, and now I have more to offer, no matter what career path I follow.  In addition to challenging you academically, the program creates an environment that fosters friendship.  You and seventeen other students will spend all 15 credit hours together, countless more hours working on essays and projects, and a month in Europe with one another.  Thanks to NSP, I gained multiple lifelong friends, was able to pursue a passion of mine, and traveled around the world.  Don’t let your different background dissuade you from applying to the NSP.  Different perspectives are encouraged and help create the unforgettable experience that is the Normandy Scholar Program."
--Ben Claflin, Architectural Engineering


Testimonials from the Class of 2021

My semester in NSP transformed me into a true scholar, writer, and thinker. Furthermore, the professors did a fantastic job keeping us engaged, even over Zoom. The readings and lecture material proved inspirational, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Every day challenged us to be better.  I wouldn’t trade my experiences learning about the Second World War for anything else. Despite not going to Europe, us students managed to forge deep bonds. That fact speaks to the incredible nature of the program. Overall, I would highly recommend NSP to anyone willing to apply themselves and put in the work. 
--Avram Steinberg, History, Liberal Arts Honors

I envy the students who get to experience this program in person.  Even online, our discussions, lectures, and debates had some of the most vitality I've seen in a college classroom.  The professors are top notch, and their curriculums are well coordinated to create a synergistic learning experience.  The relationships I built with my NSPers are lifelong bonds, and I felt honored every day I got to learn with them.  I especially recommend the program to non-liberal arts majors as a great opportunity to explore a completely different realm of academia.  As a STEM student, I found the program novel and enlightening — a refreshing and inspiring break from my otherwise humdrum schedule.  Regardless of who you are or what you want to do, the Normandy Scholar Program is worth the application.  My greatest thanks go to the professors and my best wishes go to future students!
--Robert Deacon, Management Information Systems, Busines Honors & Mathematics

I applied for the Normandy Scholars Program during the pandemic and knew going into it that most would take place from my apartment bedroom. Truthfully, I thought the interesting WWII material was all I had going for me. This assumption was wrong, and Monday through Thursday, I sat in front of my Zoom screen, excited to engage with my professors and peers. Their passions and intellects awed me, challenged me, and even intimidated me, but I was comforted by a mutual respect shared by all. It was apparent that everyone wanted to be there and worked hard to do so. We were remote, but NSP fostered lasting relationships, nonetheless. We were unified by our assignments and discussions (the most enriching conversations I’ve ever had), but also by so much more. We laughed at chats, shared Wi-Fi horror stories, and even kept a running list of the best quotes said by fellow students and professors (“Hold onto Stalin, hold him tightly” – Professor Stoff). The wonderful community of the program was not lost on us. Throughout the semester, we made efforts to meet up outside of class safely and even took the initiative to plan a trip to the National WWII Museum after vaccines rolled out. Meeting everyone in person confirmed what I already knew: these were not just my highly driven and admirable classmates; they were my friends. If I had the option to do it all again-- the mountains of reading and writing, the intense debates and challenging prompts, the lack of sleep, and increased stress-- I would in a heartbeat. I learned so much, grew so much, and gained so much. I cannot encourage people enough to apply to NSP, because I absolutely loved it.
--Abby Caldwell, History, Liberal Arts Honors

I am honored to form part of the NSP alumni. I believe that the Normandy Program embodies the global perspective and academic excellence that UT Austin strives for. In retrospect, the seemingly endless reading assignments and drafts of writing prompts made me gain a new appreciation for my growth as a scholar. I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that this program has made me believe in myself and my future academic endeavors. Even without the trip to Europe, the historical content and NSP community made my experience truly rewarding. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with amazing faculty and fellow NSPers. I lost count on the number of times we talked about how the professors genuinely cared for our growth as writers and individuals. Lastly, this program allowed me to meet incredible people who are true sources of inspiration in my life.
--Daniela Garcia, Government

The Normandy Scholar Program taught me and my classmates more than World War II history. NSP honed our critical inquiry and writing skills, taught us to be smarter thinkers and citizens, and pushed us to delve into some of humanity’s darkest, most destructive years. Normandy initially intrigued me because I wanted to study the world which my grandfather, a Polish Holocaust survivor, left behind. Ultimately, the program exposed me to new interests, like the Eastern Front, and challenged me to analyze the history, people, and scholarship behind the war and its memory. In addition to learning more about my familial history, I left with a more nuanced understanding of our nation’s war effort and a clearer picture of the postwar geopolitical landscape. NSP offers participants a unique opportunity to learn from some of UT’s most outstanding professors alongside a diverse, intimate cohort of intelligent peers. The chance to be a Normandy Scholar was a distinct privilege, and I will forever remember NSP as the pinnacle of my time on the Forty Acres. The long nights of reading, the rigorous days of drafting and editing papers, and the impassioned class discussions molded me into a stronger student and a different person. I only wish I could do it again.
--Simon Gerst, Jewish Studies

The Normandy Scholars Program was by far one of the best experiences of my undergraduate journey. While the Second World War seems like a topic that was fully covered through high school classes or even Hollywood films, the perspective provided through the five courses offered by the Normandy Program showcased how little I truly know about one of the most important events in history. The Normandy Program challenges its students to expand their understanding of WWII beyond one country’s perspective and to understand history as intersectional and far more complex than initially imagined. One of my favorite parts of the academic portion of this program was the classroom debates as it was a safe place debating one great point against another amongst friends. Through these debates, my debate skills improved drastically as we came to understand that no one had a claim to the correct stance and debating other students who were equally as passionate about the topic proved to be a complex challenge. The writing in this course is honestly so daunting, but so satisfying to go back and review how much your writing will improve through the intensive process of writing, rewriting, and peer-reviewing that is infamous in the Normandy program. With distance learning, it was such a comfort to have the same group of students in my course load since we clearly understood what the other was going through taking this program entirely online. It was amazing having people to vent with over the long papers we were writing and to bond with through memes. The Normandy Program is more than an academic challenge, but a comforting and accepting community of scholars from previous years and your year bonded together through this shared experience. The professors are top tier and truly care about their students and the Normandy Scholar community is amazing. While my Normandy Scholar group did not get to go on our trip to Europe due to the pandemic restrictions, I can honestly say that I would do this program all again in a heartbeat.
--Amy Ruiz, History

A Normandy Scholar semester is the most transformative academic experience offered for undergraduates at UT Austin. No other program expects so much from its students but also provides the attention, kindness, and support necessary for each student to succeed. You do not have to be a history major for this program to be worth your time. It will teach you how to research, communicate, and work more efficiently than you could before, along with the detailed education it imparts on all things World War II. Even more importantly, the program has a wonderfully unique community. Students—yes, even those online!—bond through classes and late night writing sessions. Professors are engaged and excited to develop you as a person and scholar. There are few programs whose alumni are almost universally grateful for their experience. I think Normandy is one of those programs, and it is a gem of the University. If you want to grow, learn, and belong to a special community that strives with you, apply to the Frank Denius Normandy Scholars Program.
--Dayton Thompson, Mechanical Engineering, Plan II

In the span of one short semester, The Normandy Scholars Program changed the essence of my academic experience in ways that will last a lifetime. When I applied for the program, I not only knew close to nothing about World War II, but I also lacked confidence in my own academic abilities. Orientation left me intimidated, nervous, and overwhelmed, as I looked around the Zoom screen and saw seventeen strangers who seemed confident and well-versed in their historical knowledge. However, it didn’t take long before I realized my fellow students were smart and kind, knowledgeable and willing to help, confident and humble. Soon, our Zoom meetings turned into breakfast conservations, late-night study sessions, and FaceTime calls. This shared sense of community made the program’s academic rigor not just bearable but enjoyable. Academically, the Normandy Scholars Program challenged me in unexpected ways. I became skilled at reading 300+ pages in one night and found the bounds of my empathy stretched permanently. I began to realize that World War II, in all its brutality, speaks volumes to the human condition. In fact, the materials we read, essays we wrote, and discussions we had influenced the way I view history so much that it seems the phrase “all roads lead to Rome” might as well be changed to “all roads lead to World War II.” The program’s uniquely wonderful professors taught me just as much about how to read, interpret, write, and think as they did about the Second World War. As I look back on my experience in the Normandy Scholars Program, I see sleepless nights, occasional tears of frustration, and pages of scribbled notes. Yet, I also see five professors and seventeen students who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I will always carry these people with me in my heart. I recommend this program to anyone with a brave soul, strong mind, and human heart. You will not regret it.
--Anna Duong, Plan II, History

The Professors:
As soon as you meet the NSP professors, you get the feeling that they’re passionate about what they’re teaching and doing. During each class, they truly push you to think for yourself. In class, it’s okay to disagree or admit that you don’t know the answers. The care goes further than just the coursework. In early 2021, Texas experienced severe winter storms. The professors worked with students to make sure we were okay and had enough time to focus on ourselves. The care from the professors has truly had an impact on me. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that your instructors truly care about you. 
The Structure: 
The NSP offers a unique structure. During our course, we had Mondays entirely dedicated to catching up on work and watching films for classes. This truly helps when you have other priorities outside of class. Besides that, it’s refreshing to see the same classmates on a daily basis. Unlike most other college courses, you actually get to build relationships and grow together over the span of the semester. During the breaks between classes, you get to eat lunch, catch up on readings, or meet up with your classmates. 
The Coursework: I can honestly say that the coursework is truly the highlight of the program. Like other NSPers before me have pointed out, you get out what you put in. Each professor has a unique perspective and puts together a thoughtful curriculum designed to make you think. You will learn about WWII, but you will also learn about so many other things. You will learn about ethics, the media’s role in politics, how people react during times of war and famine, and so many other things. You will find yourself entering another world during each course. I encourage future NSPers to enter with an open mind. The discussions are meant to encourage the flow of ideas and perhaps challenge those you already have.
--Amaya French, Political Communications


Testimonials from the Class of 2020

The Normandy Scholar Program was the opportunity of a lifetime. It helped me become a better writer, student, historian, thinker, and person. I came into the program not knowing much about World War II and came out knowing the exact differences between Sherman and Tiger tanks. But perhaps the best part of the program is the friendships I made along the way. Spending an entire semester with the same batch of students created a bond unlike any other. My classmates motivated me, inspired me, and pushed me to my fullest potential. They, along with my professors, made navigating college life a whole lot easier. I wouldn’t want to experience chaotic all-nighters, intense classroom debates, and a deadly global pandemic with any other group.
--Sasha Davy Peña, History, English (LAH)
The Normandy Scholar Program is wonderful and life-changing. I could write a thesis-length testimony of the positive impact it’s had on my experience at UT and the personal growth I’ve experienced because of it. Through this program, I’ve become a more thoughtful, analytical, confident person. You will meet some of your best friends in this program, bonded by the unique discussion, research, writing, and self-reflection that is omnipresent and unique to this program. The Normandy Scholar professors are experts in their fields, deeply passionate about the subject, and genuine in their concern and care for each Normandy Scholar. The community and evolution of self that is found here can’t be found anywhere else on the Forty Acres. Every aspect of this program is special and I wish I could experience it again. The academic challenge, friendships, support, and growth you experience in this program is unmatched at The University of Texas. I cannot recommend the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program enough.
--Janae Stegall, International Relations & Global Studies, Government

As a STEM major, I applied to be a Normandy Scholar simply because it would fulfill a personal interest. Unexpectedly, I received far more in return. This program pushed and challenged me beyond my own perceived limits. It made me a better writer, thinker, and student all while gaining a deeper understanding of the Second World War. My semester as a Normandy Scholar forever shaped the way I look at history and the present world. At the backbone of this program are the unmatched professors. I have never felt more heard, supported, and encouraged to be my best academic self. Even though our Spring semester was cut short, I still feel uniquely connected to my Normandy peers and deeply cherish the bond we formed through this program. Thinking back on my experience as a Normandy Scholar, I would give up plenty to share just one more day in a classroom deep in a heated discussion with my Normandy Class of 2020. Despite all the readings, papers, and sleepless nights, I will forever remember my experience in this program as the highlight of my time at UT. I am truly so grateful and honored to have been a part of this life-changing program. If you are considering applying, even if it is not part of your regular curriculum, I encourage you to take that leap. You will not regret it.
--Haley Arabia, Human Development & Family Sciences

The Normandy Scholar Program is a uniquely challenging and rewarding program. Although we were not able to travel to Europe over coronavirus concerns, the Class of 2020 still was able to form a strong and unique bond. We read a lot together, we wrote a lot together, and we re-wrote a lot together. I looked forward to seeing the same familiar faces in class every day (yes, even on Zoom!). The professors challenged us every day to think hard about challenging and uncomfortable issues and made us all better historians, writers, and people for it. The Normandy program is the perfect storm of brilliant students and professors and challenging, emotional material. The community that grows around the program is one of the most supportive academic and social environments at the University of Texas. I feel grateful every day to have been a part of something so special.
--Michael Regan, History, Plan II

While my Normandy Scholar Program cohort experienced only the Austin segment of the program, I am beyond thankful for our semester together. The professors challenged me and with their guidance I learned how to think broader and write deeper. Our time in the classroom and on Zoom pushed me more than any of my classes at the University of Texas so far. However, I grew the most outside of the classroom. The Normandy Scholar Program brings together 18 students of a variety of backgrounds, and as my cohort navigated our readings and many essays together, I learned more from them than I did from my textbooks. Each person forced me to question my initial opinions in our class discussions. As we outlined essays together late at night in coffee shops, the people around me expanded my perspectives regarding World War II. My cohort challenged each other, but we also forged close friendships. I looked forward to each Monday Night Movie because I knew we would stay late to catch-up with everyone’s lives and joke about the film as we walked home. As we learned about some of the worst events in human history, my classmates cared for each other. Even as the pandemic changed our semester, my cohort remained tight-knit, and we support each other—academically and emotionally—throughout the year’s challenges. The Normandy Scholar Program is difficult. However, the professors seek to help you grow as a historian, writer, and person. Classmates become some of the best friends you can make on campus. The Normandy Scholar Program transforms those who go through it, and I am beyond grateful for my time within it.
--Jillian Smith, Government, Business & Public Policy, History, Arabic (LAH)

The Normandy Scholar Program was the highlight of my academic experience at UT. When I applied to this program, it was with the expectation of becoming an expert on the Second World War, but I got so much more out of this program than knowledge alone. The instructional quality is the best UT has to offer, and this program affords you the opportunity to get closer to the professors than any other class. Being with the same group of students every single day really builds lasting friendships, and even in the midst of this year’s troubles, those friendships endure with the same strength as before. When you join the Normandy Program, you are not just taking five classes, you’re joining a family.
--Husain Dhoon, History

Saying that the Normandy Scholar Program was the highlight of my undergraduate experience would be an understatement. Everything I read about the program before I applied described it as “life-changing,” and I can certainly attest to that even without the study abroad portion that our class lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience offered me the chance to meet people that I surely will be friends with for years to come and the opportunity to explore the complexity of the Second World War in more depth than ever before. Being in the program for just a few months made me a better student in so many ways. The professors pushed me to think deeply and to tackle questions that had no definite answer. The courses challenged me more than any others at UT, and even though there were many nights where I struggled to finish a paper or make it through a reading, the discussion the following day in class made it worth my while. Amazing as the classroom experience was, the Normandy Program offered so much more. Being part of a community alongside seventeen other passionate students created a special type of learning environment filled with endless support, friendship, and a large pool of possible peer-editors (that I recruited for nearly every assignment). The Normandy Program is challenging, certainly more challenging than I was initially prepared for, but my peers and professors helped me grow as a person and as a student. The professors teach you to be a better thinker, writer, and historian, and are always there to answer any questions along the way. I am beyond grateful for my time in the program, and I encourage anybody even remotely interested in studying World War II, exploring Europe, or being a part of an incredible learning community to apply. I cannot speak highly enough about the Normandy Scholar Program, and I wish everybody had the opportunity to be a part of something this special.
--Katrina Schydlower, History

Despite the postponement of our trip to Europe due to COVID-19, the Normandy Scholar Program remains the most academically impactful semester I’ve had during my time at UT. The courses are easily the most engaging I’ve found here, and without fail I left class for the takeaways and exchanges of the day to remain on my mind long after our time concluded. I was constantly wowed by the diversity of the material we covered. During any given week I could expect our studies to include political, social, and military history, but also wartime culture and memoirs. NSP’s look at the war is nuanced and intersectional and changed the way I view history. This experience is all thanks to the superb professors, who I grew to adore not only as educators but as mentors as well. I cannot overstate my gratitude for their guidance as our classes dove into some of the darkest chapters of history. The journey is often emotionally exhausting but the lessons and knowledge it leaves you with are powerful and timeless. I look forward to eventually making up the trip with the incredible peers and faculty this program allowed me to grow alongside.
--JP Reppeto, Government, Plan II

Participating in the Normandy Scholar Program was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had at UT. I've enjoyed studying WWII ever since I was a kid, and this program opened my eyes to the true effects and horrors of the war. Working with my fellow Normandy Scholars and the professors really helped me grow as both as a student and as an individual. I have never met such a hardworking and passionate group of students and teachers anywhere. If only I could do the Normandy Scholar Program again.
--Braden Wu, Biochemistry

The Normandy Program is a transformative experience in more than one way. It made me a better writer, thinker and person, and it introduced me to some of my closest friends. As we all know, WWII is an extremely complicated and dark time in the history of the world. Exploring and discussing it in such depth and through so many perspectives is challenging, but also deeply moving. I remember that I almost didn’t apply, fearing imminent rejection. However, I decided that I should at least try, and I’m so, so glad I did. The program fosters a community unlike any other I’ve been a part of. My classmates and professors pushed me to question set narratives, think critically, and approach history with humility and open-mindedness on a daily basis. Trying to understand history is in many ways trying to understand humanity, and that never felt more true than in the Normandy program. My memories of the semester include not just stressing over essay deadlines and needing time to grieve over unimaginable tragedies, but also eating pizza on movie nights, looking forward to heated debates, and confusing outsiders with our many inside jokes. I can confidently say that it was the most rewarding semester in my college career, and I am honored to have been part of it. Even after writing all of this, I feel that there are no words to describe just how amazing and impactful the program is. You just have to live it.
--Daniela Roscero Cervantes, History, Journalism


Testimonials from the Class of 2019

There is no program at the University of Texas that is more academically stimulating and challenging, emotionally moving, and masterfully crafted than the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program. This is not simply a study abroad, but a period in my life that made me a better student and a better person. Throughout the course of the semester, my writing skills developed immensely. One of the biggest takeaways of the program is the ability not only to make a sound argument but to be able to communicate it in a clear, academic way. This intensive World War II study program’s research, writing, and learning opportunities are uniquely complimented by a team of professors that constantly pushed me to grow and by a team of students (who quickly turned friends) who always supported one another. The professors in this program are not only the best in their field, but also the biggest investors in both your academic and personal success. As a government major, I feel like understandings of the lessons of the past can help us develop a brighter future, and the Normandy Scholar program pushed me to analyze decisions from across the world during a dark time in our history. The lessons learned in this program have changed the way that I look at the world and how I choose to live each day. Though this program is not without sacrifice, the friendships, mentorship, knowledge, and experiences at home and abroad made these five months the best of my academic career so far. If you are up for a challenge, ready to think differently, and excited for the chance to see and interact with history unlike ever before, then this program is right for you.
--James Mishmash, Government & History

The academic excellence of the Normandy Scholars goes without saying, but the true value of the Program is in the unique sense of community you develop with your professors and classmates. In a school the size of UT, even the best students can feel like just another face in the crowd, but NSP is like a little world of its own. The professors give everyone close personal attention, and the community between students is stronger than in any other program. Visiting Europe with such a close-knit group is amazing, and the opportunity to really get to know your professors and peers outside of the typical school environment is the perfect conclusion to the strenuous semester. All this adds up to making the Normandy a completely unique experience that is as rewarding as it is challenging.
--Lincoln Howard, Humanities & History & Government

Countless readings, challenging essays, and insightful discussions culminating in a trip to Europe - the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program truly offers an experience unlike any other at the university. I had considered applying since I was a sophomore, but as a Japanese major I was worried about taking time away from my language studies. But I knew that I would kick myself if I didn’t take a chance and apply, so I took the leap and decided to go for it. I am so glad I did. This has easily been the most challenging and rewarding semester of my college career. I developed my skills in writing, researching, and discussing. I learned how to ask questions, how to delve into historical research, and what it means to be a historian. It wasn’t easy - my classmates and I can attest to countless nights spent writing and rewriting essays or reading long and emotionally challenging documents. But this program is incredibly rewarding in both the knowledge you gain and the connections you make. My classmates and I worked together to bounce ideas off each other or finish late-night readings, and the professors were always available for questions, advice, and fun conversation. The bonds we forged during the semester further strengthened during the trip to Europe. It was incredible to go to these places, experience new food and music, and be with people who understood and appreciated the history behind them. This program changed my life. And as a soon-to-be senior, all I can say is take all the opportunities you can. Apply, apply, apply, and seek out new adventures. If you’re at all interested in a program with personable professors, close classmates, and a terrific trek across Europe, apply to this program. You’ll be so glad you did.
--Marisa Collman, Asian Culture & Languages

The Normandy Scholar Program changed my life. The program not only equipped me with a plethora of knowledge about the Second World War, but also exposed me to some of the most wonderful professors at UT, challenged me to explore the nuances of historical narratives, and introduced me to some of my dearest friends. Normandy Scholars is more than a study abroad program or an intensive history research project. It is a community of passionate individuals who challenge each other to dig deeper—both in our academic endeavors and individual goals. I remember one night in Europe that a few of us stayed up and talked about our dreams. I was so inspired by my classmates who hoped to integrate their newfound historical knowledge with their future plans, ranging from politics to education to medicine to human rights campaigns. And as I sat there, there was no doubt in my mind that these people would accomplish great things--I had struggled alongside them to understand some of the darkest moments of the past and marveled at their insight, compassion, and poise in the midst of complex debates and jarring discussions. During our months in the program, my fellow students and I forged a unique bond, one only shared by those who have in the same day wept together over the human condition and laughed to the point of tears over inside jokes. Yes, Normandy Scholars was a period of immense intellectual growth and academic enrichment—perhaps one of the richest of such at the University of Texas—but I believe that the most striking feature of the program is the deep fellowship it fosters among its participants. I am incredibly grateful for my time in NSP, and all of the relationships that I built along the way. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
--Sophie Schott, History & Humanities

I dreamed about getting into the Normandy Scholar Program as far back as a High School, and needless to say, NSP did not disappoint in the slightest. The plethora of reviews describing the program as "life-changing" are not exaggerating whatsoever. I have learned more about how to improve my writing, time management and group cooperation skills during these all too brief six months than during my previous 2.5 years of college. Besides these practical applications, the program is genuinely thrilling! From weekly guest speakers to a Fredericksburg field trip, these five classes are unlike any history courses I have taken before. The highlights of the program are not the sights of Europe, but rather the bonds formed with a tight-knit group of friends and the incredible faculty accompanying you along your journey (and often struggle) for the duration of the program. Mark my words, once the program is over you will look back on the sleepless nights, hours of daily reading, and challenging lectures not with repulsion, but with fondness. The final trip to Europe is not only a reward for months of hard work, but also the icing on the cake of an already fantastic experience.
-- Jake Yeager, History & Government

I am very proud to have been a part of the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program. No other program at the University of Texas brings together students from across many academic disciplines and provides a more enriching course of study. I was pushed to become a better historian and writer, and also a more thoughtful person. The Normandy Scholar Program uniquely encourages its participants to approach challenging issues critically and with empathy. Those who are fortunate to be a part this program will grow immensely over the semester. The hours spent in class, listening to guest lecturers, and conducting research foster a strong sense of camaraderie. The friendships built during the semester are further strengthened by the program’s European study. The distinguished University of Texas faculty who lead this program are exceptional instructors and are truly devoted to helping their students grow and succeed academically. The Normandy Scholar Program offers an unparalleled experience that will immerse you in the study of the past in order to better understand the present.
-- Carson Coronado, Accounting & History


Testimonials from the Class of 2018

NSP Class of 20Thought-provoking, mind-opening, and at times downright humbling, the material we covered in the Frank Denius Scholar Program blew me away with how complicated and nuanced the Second World War actually was, and how much of WWII’s history that we’ve been taught growing up has been one-dimensional. It’s a rare thing to receive some of the best education out there from some of the best professors on campus. I applied to this program because I was passionate about WWII history, but I soon learned that being a Normandy Scholar means more than just becoming some WWII expert—it has taught me invaluable and profound lessons on humanity and the human condition. NSP provided me with more perspective and knowledge than I have gained in any other semester at UT, and I can say that this has been one of the most unique and rewarding experiences I’ve had at college. The program was certainly challenging, but it challenged me to be more reflective, to think more widely and critically, and to become a better historian, researcher, and writer. With that said, nothing you learn about in a classroom compares to actually experiencing what you learn in person. The trip to Europe was one I’ll certainly remember for the rest of my life. Not only do you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in various sights, sites, cultures, languages, and areas of education, but you will form friendships that will last long after the program’s end. When else will you take a month-long trip with 19 other people, who are all passionate about the same thing you are, bonded by knowledge, laughter, remembrance, and pain, who can fully appreciate the historical and emotional significance of the places you visit? It truly is an experience of a lifetime.
--Rosa Kim, English and Plan II

During my five months in the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program, I had the privilege of intensely studying WWII with some of the best students and professors at the university. Coming from a chemical engineering background that taught a different approach to communication and problem solving, I even questioned my place in the initial days. But I did not expect the level of community and personal growth that enhanced my experience and ultimately made those five months some of the best in my undergraduate career. Throughout the program, we challenged each other's viewpoints in discussions, spent long nights trying to put our analyses and thoughts on complex topics into words, and commiserated as we read heart-wrenching primary accounts. Yet I also befriended 19 fiercely intelligent, ambitious, and witty individuals. We all came from different backgrounds, had equally diverse dreams, but were joined by our desire to challenge ourselves and our previously held understanding of WWII both academically and mentally. After all, how often do you meet people who (like you) willingly apply for a program that promises hundreds of pages of reading and countless papers, all on the events that brought out the best and worst in humanity? In this case, we were guided by five absolutely amazing professors. They encouraged us to, in the words of Dr. Crew, “dig deeper and think wider.” From the guided discussions to the museum project, I learned not just how to critically think and communicate about a topic, but also how to consider multiple viewpoints and question what I previously considered “true.” The professors wanted the best from us and cared for our well-being. Whether it was discussing a hard reading concerning the Holocaust, providing constructive feedback on a paper, or even career advice, they cared for our success and growth. Even when the semester ended and we were saying our goodbyes in Europe, I felt like I only had more questions and more I wanted to learn about both WWII and myself. Summing up Normandy as "life-changing" is not sufficient, but I cannot think of many other experiences you can have as an undergraduate that will fundamentally alter your understanding of the world and yourself.
--Anastasia Chan, Chemical Engineering

The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is one of the reasons why I came to UT. As an Environmental Science major, most of my classes consist of equations and memorizing scientific principles. However, along with science, I have a passion for writing and history that I found was lacking from my college experience. The Normandy Scholar Program was the perfect opportunity for me to round out my college education. While the writing was rigorous and the readings were long, my writing improved substantially and I have a greater understanding and appreciation for WWII. The professors are wonderful storytellers who challenge you to think wider and dig deeper as you learn about the war from the viewpoint of five different countries. They also care deeply about their students and make an effort to get to know them and make themselves available to everyone. The small class size also allows everyone to bond with one another and create friendships before jet setting to Europe. I can honestly say that I have made friends with some of the most interesting and intellectual people during this time. I would encourage anyone and everyone interested in history to apply for this enriching and stimulating academic journey. This experience has been one of my favorite semesters at UT and I am absolutely honored to have been a part of this program.
--Elizabeth Sockwell, Environmental Science

I’ve taken a lot of history courses in my time at UT, but none compare to those in the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program. During the semester, the classes push you in ways most history classes don’t – you read a lot, you talk a lot more, and you work with the same 18 students every day. Normandy pushes you to be a better student and a better class participant than in any other classes I’ve taken. At the end of the semester, I knew more about World War II than I ever thought I would, but I also realized just how much there was left to learn. By the time the trip rolled around, I was enthusiastic about learning more and seeing more about the history that I had studied for a semester. The Normandy trip proved a fantastic learning experience — and I emphasize the experience part of that. Normandy forced you to interact with history in a new way. You see where history happened, and you can connect with it in a unique way. I am incredibly proud and happy that I participated in Normandy this year, and the program will undoubtedly become one of the most life-changing things I do on the 40 acres.
--Liza Anderson, History and Plan II

The Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program is a once in a lifetime opportunity. In the spring semester, the program is a chance for students from all majors to come together and nerd out about World War II. You get to learn about everything from Stalin's wolfy doodles at the Big Three meetings, to the complicated ethical conversations historians have about Vichy France. Yes, the courses are challenging, and yes your back will break carrying all of your books around campus, but in the end, you walk away being a more hardworking student, a more critical thinker, and a better writer. And the best part? After the semester is over, you get to skip finals and go to Europe for a month with what quickly becomes your Normandy family. England, France, Poland, and Germany: four countries that come to life with all the stories you have learned during the semester. You'll get to visit museums, of course, but you'll also get to walk along Omaha Beach, go to the top of the Notre Dame, and see all of Berlin from the top of the Reichstag at sunset. And before you think this is just one month-long field trip, there is plenty of free time in the evenings for you to make the trip your own. Finally, to any students looking into this program who may be younger, I am living proof that sophomores can handle this program. And as a non-History major, I was involved in small-group discussions that were in a completely different setting than anything I had encountered before. If you have the drive to get the work done and do it right, you can take on this behemoth of a course load. To anyone who wants to be a part of a tight-knit group of people who all love the exact same subject as you, and can challenge you to think faster and more creatively about one of the most talked about times in world history, this is the program for you. I truly cannot recommend the Normandy Scholar Program enough.
--Taylor Newman, Journalism


I don’t think I will ever study, read, or write about history the same way. The Normandy Scholars Program changes you. To say that this program is life transforming would be an understatement. Combining scholarship with passion, humor and a flamboyant sense of the theatrical, the professors made history come alive for me in unmatched ways. The program uniquely brought together students from all different backgrounds and provided us with the opportunity to truly think critically about the events of World War 2. Personally, it forced me to look beyond the surface and think critically of not only various countries’ motive’ but individual’s motives as well. Yes, I went outside of my academic comfort zone and was challenged in ways that I have not been challenged thus far. The European portion of the program is filled with moments that take your breath away, moments that make you lose faith in society, and moments that help you understand. This program brings you closer to history than any book or lecture can. Through history, the Normandy Scholars Program taught me how to see and understand cause and effect; to take the larger view; see both sides of an issue; and put events and people in context as well as in perspective.
--Keila Garcia, Government and Liberal Arts Honors


Testimonials from the Class of 2017

The Normandy Scholar Program was more than I could have ever hoped for, and all I can think when I look back is how grateful and stunned I am that I got to be part of it. I would do it all again if I could! Not only did I get to take intensely interesting classes with incredible professors, but I was able to share the semester with eighteen other people who would become close friends and fellow adventurers. Each day of the semester I was excited for what was to come, whether it was a passionate discussion or debate, a lecture from a professor, or examining primary documents and evidence in small groups. This is a World War II program, so yes, you will certainly learn about World War II, but you will also learn how to just think outside of your usual parameters, write intelligently (and quickly!), and grow in compassion and understanding as a person. After the semester, the opportunity to actually go to the places we had been studying blew my mind. The museums, memorials and other sites literally made history come alive, and I was so thankful and in awe to share these moments with my classmates and professors who had invested so much into learning and memorializing this time in history. There is nothing like being at the places where the events and decisions you have analyzed all semester took place. Taking the learning and growing experiences from the semester to the trip across Europe is what makes the Normandy Scholar Program extraordinarily special and a time in my life that I will never forget.
--Nicole Farrell, History

As a Chemical Engineering major, I wasn’t even sure whether to apply to the program. I’d be taking a semester off from engineering and postponing graduation. Having gone through the program, I’m not sure if I could have not done the program. The classes, professors, classmates, and yes, Europe, were all fantastic. Learning history on a deeper level than I ever had and incorporating it into coherent arguments was, dare I say it, fun, if at times intense. Formulating ideas and establishing arguments that would be picked apart by classmates in a lively discussion had the potential to appear in subsequent discussions in and out of class. The professors were among the best I’ve had at UT and are extremely personable, wanting you to truly engage with the material. Going to Europe after four months of taking classes with the professors and seeing the sites that we had talked about in class only deepened our understanding, literally placing us in the areas where terror and turning points in the war happened.  It doesn’t take long for you to become friends with the other students in the program, who are among the most diverse people you’ll meet in the university. The Normandy Scholar Program gave me access to great people and a great education. I will forever look back and consider this as one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life: the decision to become a Normandy Scholar.
--Juan Maldonado, Chemical Engineering, History

Saying the Normandy Scholars Program is life-changing is not enough. I have wanted to do Normandy since my freshman orientation, when I learned about it from my academic adviser. Getting in was one of the proudest moments of my undergrad career. Intensely focusing on one event has, I believe, enriched my skills as a history scholar. You will watch fantastic films, read amazing books you had no idea existed, and discuss a range of subjects so large you cannot believe they all come from the same war. These assignments come from some of the most brilliant professors I have ever had. They want you to learn, grow in skill, and succeed with every 200-page reading or five-page paper. And going through it with my classmates became a privilege. They are some of the most intelligent, thoughtful, eloquent people I may have never met outside of Normandy. They also became dear, close friends. The European trip was just the light at the end of the academic tunnel. To have a month in Europe as a young adult feels like a dream. Essentially, Normandy is not a program; it is a community that becomes a permanent part of you.
--Carly Stuart-Micocci, History

The Normandy Scholar Program has been my finest accomplishment to date, and has truly changed my life. The academics are rigorous and the professors want nothing but best from their students, but the progress you make as a student and as a person are worth the challenges. I was taught by world-class professors who poured their souls into every subject they taught and challenged students to excel in all aspects of life. I made lifelong friends who shared my enthusiasm for history and who shared many magnificent memories throughout our time together. I got to live out many of the dreams I have had since I was a young child! Visiting the historical sites you study for an entire semester gave me a unique opportunity that is indescribable! The Europe portion of the trip exposed me to new cultures and different outlooks on life. I cannot thank the program, the professors, and my classmates enough for the opportunity and memories. I am forever in debt to this program.
--Cameron Woo, History

This experience was life changing in more ways than one. To travel in itself is something that opens your mind to new experiences and different perspectives. To travel with the knowledge we had comes with a responsibility and a profound understanding. Responsibility in the sense that now, we have a duty to ensure people never forget. Although we may never understand the pain that was felt during the era we know more about their experiences than most. That knowledge is something we will always carry around proudly.
--Reginaldo Valdez, International Relations, Government

As a student veteran, I was initially most interested in the logistics and execution of the military operations of various key players in World War II. It was beneficial for me to be immersed in a classroom of people from different backgrounds than my own, making thoughtful observations on certain aspects of the subject that I may have overlooked otherwise. Our professors did a wonderful job of using their expertise to engage our differing ideas in a constructive manner. During this semester, I was presented with information that made me re-evaluate my own ideas, change some of them based on newly presented material, and to assert my own opinions based on critical analysis. Despite our different backgrounds, I immediately felt welcome in this unique little community. Also, the Europe trip is awesome. I would recommend this program to anyone who is up for a good challenge.
--Sarah Van Hoose, History, Linguistics

The classes truly taught me to think critically and look beyond what I considered as history. Rather than focus on battles and “great man” history, though we did learn about important battles and figures, the classes taught about the causes, motivations, and reactions in the war. To say that the program focused exclusively on World War II would be wrong; the program's intense dedication to providing context meant that we studied World War I and how its consequences paved the way for the World War II. This dedication to context truly made the experience intense, and it made me think and write in a different manner that challenged me intellectually.  On the trip to Europe I created unforgettable experiences thanks to both my friends and the professors. As a first-time traveler abroad, I could not have asked for better memories. Overall, I am grateful to be Normandy Scholar and highly recommend it to everyone interested in history, World War II, or amazing professors and friends that change your life.
Josue Teniente, History, Sociology

The Normandy Scholar program was a life-changing experience. I had the opportunity to learn about one of the greatest historical events of the twenty-first century from five of the best professors.  The rigor of this program in undeniable but the camaraderie formed between the students as we struggled to finish a paper the night before gave me the opportunity to bond and become friends with some of the most amazing people. The ability to intensively study the subject matter over the semester also gave me a greater appreciation of the different sites that we visited on the trip. I was able to experience memorials and museums in a different light. I wasn’t just a tourist visiting these places but a scholar enhancing my learning experience. This program allowed me to visit concentration camps, ghettos, German and American Bunkers, and countless other historical sites.  The Normandy Scholar Program allowed me to see the most horrific parts of human nature but also showed me how people persevere and triumph over these horrific situations. While at the Majdanek concentration camp, Dr. Crew noted how I mentioned that I “had lost faith in humanity” after reading several accounts of the Holocaust and wondered if I still felt that way. I told him that I still couldn’t fathom how humans could do things like this, how they could justify committing such atrocities. Dr. Crew looked at me and told me that it’s important to realize these things but what’s even more important is what you do with this information. The Normandy Scholar program not only taught me about World War II, but also opened a door to how I approach issues in the future.
--Rhea Shahane, Plan II Honors

My classmates and I were constantly in discussion about issues that were much more in depth than any other course I have ever taken. The camaraderie is real and very difficult to break after going through the semester and eventually Europe together. If you decide to apply for Normandy, you will explore Europe in a way that only a select few have the privilege to see it, through the eyes of the professors that care about the curriculum and who have been with you every step of the way. You will learn and see for yourself that Europe still lives on with traces of the war lingering in every city, and that this time period is so much more than the major points you initially learned growing up. One thing is certain, if you choose to take part in the Normandy Scholar Program, you will never look at the Second World War the same again. You won’t regret it either.
--Jennifer Townzen, Anthropology, Plan I Honors

The Normandy Scholar Program was one of the most unexpectedly best things I have done in my college career.  I was prepared for academic rigor, but I had no idea just how much I would learn from the amazing professors who care deeply not only about the material, but about each one of their students.  All the students, though we all came from different majors and backgrounds, became incredibly close by the end of the program and I cherish the friendships that I made in NSP.  The trip itself was a once in a lifetime trip—there is nothing cooler than traveling around Europe with your friends and professors, studying what you love and experiencing different cities. I would recommend the Normandy Scholar  Program to everyone.
--Elizabeth Warner, Plan II Honors

While it was obvious to me that I would leave this program as a stronger writer and more informed about a crucial part of world history, I did not realize just how loving of a family I would gain at the conclusion of my time as a Normandy Scholar.  The dedication and care each of the five NSP faculty members place towards each participant’s academic and general wellbeing is something I have never seen with any other academic program I have participated in.  From late night paper writing at Bennu to exploring the city of Berlin on one of Dr. Crew’s legendary walking tours, this program provided me with the tools necessary to grow as a person amongst some of the best students and professors that this university has to offer.  I left this program with a new and brighter outlook on life and the world around me and for that I am eternally grateful.
--Patrick Golden, Government, Plan I Honors


Testimonials from the 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

“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

"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

"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

"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



"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

"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

"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


"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 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

Normandy Scholar Program Tribute
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New! NSP Info Session, Sep. 2021
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