Brent McDonnell, Class of 2016
I'm originally from Valley Stream, New York, just outside of New York City. For my undergraduate studies I chose to stay close to home, attending Fordham University in The Bronx. While there, I double-majored in Political Science and Italian Language and Literature, including one semester spent studying in Rome. In addition to my study abroad experience in Italy, I conducted research about voting attitudes among university students in Lviv, Ukraine in March 2013 and presented my findings as part of a broader work comparing American and Ukrainian youth at an undergraduate research symposium.
Having received my BA degree in May of 2014, I came to Georgetown's MAGES program directly out of undergrad. As a student with a passion for Europe, I was very interested in the interdisciplinary approach that MAGES takes to understanding contemporary Europe. Moreover, I was interested in the wide variety of internship opportunities available to students in Washington, DC. After spending this last summer doing research in Rome, my focus is now on writing my thesis, which will look at political violence in Italy from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
Summer 2015 Experience: Research in Rome, Italy
This summer, I conducted archival research at the Archivio Centrale dello Stato (Central Archive of the State) in Rome, Italy, and at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. My research, which lasted for roughly two weeks in Rome and a month in Maryland, consisted of examining documents from government ministries, particularly the Italian Ministry of the Interior and the US State Department, related to groups belonging to the Italian extraparliamentary left in the 1970s and early 1980s. I supplemented my research of primary sources at these two archives with readings of secondary literature on the subject in order to enhance my understanding of the current state of research into this topic. In addition to my research work in Rome, my two weeks there served as an opportunity for me to refresh my Italian language skills and to further immerse myself in Italian culture.
The research that I conducted over the previous months will be valuable for my academic and professional development. Foremost, I will incorporate the notes that I took on these documents into my MAGES thesis project. I intend to continue my research upon completion of my MAGES degree by pursuing a doctorate in History, making my thesis an important first step in my planned career path. Demonstrating proficiency in conducting archival research is an important component of the application process for a History PhD. As such, my experiences this summer in Italy and the United States proved to be incredibly worthwhile.