Life As A UHP Alum

So you did it. You graduated. Finally! I’ll say this one last time (it won’t be the last time)– congratulations! And now…you’re an alum. There are a ton of benefits that you can get as a GWU alum, but I wanted to detail for you some of the benefits you have specifically as a UHP alum! You can learn more about the broad GW alumni benefits here.


You may know already about the UHP LinkedIn Group, but if not, let me acquaint you! Over the past several years, we’ve been curating a LinkedIn group for UHPers. This can be a tremendous networking resource for you! If you join the group (you should join the group), you’ll be connected to a whole series of former UHPers now doing incredibly cool things all over the country. And they’ve all joined this group for the express purpose of networking with other UHPers. So take advantage of it! Look through the folks there– maybe one of them is doing your dream job!

UHP Events

Congratulations! You have earned free admission to all semesterly Student-Faculty Dinners from now until the end of time. And you did it just by graduating! If you’re ever back in town towards the end of a given semester, please drop us a line at or 202-994-6816 and join us. That goes for all sorts of UHP events– the UHP Hike, Food for Thoughts, Holiday Parties…all of it!

The Townhouse

You’re also always welcome to drop by the townhouse when you’re in town! Your free access to come around for free coffee, hot chocolate, and good company is officially approved to extend as long as we have coffee and hot chocolate. And we will definitely want to say hello!

More Coming Soon…

We’re also developing some further things for y’all, so stay tuned! If you want to get updates on this sort of thing, make sure you fill out the Senior Survey so we know how to get in touch with you.

And once again:


2020 Strasser Prize Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Strasser Writing Prize competition!  We have one first place winner, and two runners-up.

1st Place:

Talia Zelle
“Created Languages in Speculative Fiction: Humane Language in Babel-17 and Understand”

Runners Up:

Elena Mieszczanski
“Chariclea: Both Black and White”

Benjamin Blitz
“Effect of Parenting Styles on Child Well-Being: An Overview and Critique”

Weekly Contest Winners Spotlight!

Since the beginning of the Digital Townhouse Project, we’ve had several different weekly contests going on, and I just wanted to take a minute to honor all the winners of the past weekly contests!

First up, we have the winner of our final weekly contest (who has not yet been announced): Jared Bulla with his re-creation of “The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries” as seen below. The winning nomination for Professor Kung’s re-creation is Johannes Vermeer’s The Astronomer!

The next winner was Matthew Obserstaedt with the following short story:

One otherwise inconspicuous Wednesday, Jacky is cleaning out her childhood bedroom. She’s basically just throwing all her childhood memories into a big black trash bag, because, you know, who needs them anymore when you’re in college, right? So in go her beloved stuffed animals, her soccer trophies, her prom photos, and so on. But then, she comes across something really, really sentimental for her – a self-portrait her grandmother had painted just before her death. Jacky feels a tear come to her eye, then wipes it away, shrugs, and throws the painting out.

Ha! I bet you, the ignorant reader, thought that portrait was going to be the thing that changed Jacky’s life, right? Nope! I just totally subverted your expectations, and I feel pretty darn good about it, too!

Anyway, once she throws away the portrait, Jacky comes upon a portal to another dimension that she had made as a kid and forgotten about. Then she enters it and I guess some kind of life changing experience happens in there. Not sure what exactly; I didn’t come up with the specifics. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway, it inspires her to become an animal rights activist or something else cool like that.

The following winner was Ethan Goldblatt with this limerick:

There once was a digger named Gary
who most people found quite scary
but if you’d go and check-in
he’d greet you with a grin
then you’d be the next one that he’d bury.

The following winner was two-fold! Both Sara Iagnemma and Matthew Oberstaedt won the UHP mascot contest, as seen below:

Sara Iagnemma:

Sara’s mascot is the UHP Raven, because they’re both some of the smartest animals on the planet as well as omnivores!

Matthew Oberstaedt:

Matthew’s was, well, as follows:

“Meet the new UHP Mascot: Brainy McBrainface! Brainy is a walking, talking, personified brain, and they are, like, totally jacked from flexing all that intellectual muscle UHPers are famous for. Brainy can usually been lifting weights with one arm and a beaker in the other, demonstrating the careful balance between taking care of one’s body and mind. Brainy has a big, goofy laugh that annoys pretty much everyone, but is endearing to the right people, and they can’t shut up about politics! Brainy’s spinal cord is basically their body. They typically wear shorts, a graduation cap, and shoes… BUT NO SHIRT, because, I repeat, they’re totally jacked.”

And finally, we have our first winner of them all: the virtual learning meme contest! This victory went to Hannah DelVecchio with the following meme:

UHP Graduation Reception

Listen, dear Seniors: quarantine is deeply unfortunate, but we will be darned if we can’t still do everything in our power to celebrate you with everything we’ve got, so come over and join us on May 16, 5PM EST. Wear something formal (regalia if you have it!) and bring your family and friends as well as a drink for toasting. Professor Kung will introduce the evening with some encouragement to the class, and then the UHP faculty will also join in and talk about how wonderful you all are. There will also be a time for you to give toasts to each other! Finally, at the end, some faculty will be hosting individual “office-hours” style receptions where you can join in, introduce them to your family, and talk to them personally.

You’ll all be receiving a formal invitation from us in the coming days with the link to join, so keep an eye out for that! If you don’t see it by Friday, reach out to us at so we can make sure you can join us.

Also, we’d love to get pictures of memories you have from your time in the UHP to put together in the reception in a slideshow. Submit them here:

A Conservative Perspective on Syngman Rhee

Check out the following research story from fellow UHPer Mark Thomas-Patterson!

This semester, I took part in the GW Institute of Korean Studies Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This is a program sponsored by the GWU Institute of Korean Studies in which participants propose to write an academic article on any topic that connects with Korea. You are then matched up with a professor who focuses on that area of study, in my case Professor Greg Brazinsky in the Elliott School. Participants them work with their mentor towards creating a final paper, and workshop with other members of the program. Finally, the fellows with the top five papers are chosen to present at a research symposium with students in a sister program and Indian University. Even though the symposium was cancelled, I ended up being awarded the third-place award for my paper.

For this project, I analyzed how the Chicago Tribune, then a prominent conservative publication, covered the South Korean leader Syngman Rhee, a GWU alum who would later go on to be the first president of South Korea in the years between 1945-1950. I chose this topic as I am interested in the history of international relations and am particularly interested at how domestic groups viewed foreign affairs.

In order to understand why I decided to analyze the Chicago Tribune in this time period, one needs to understand the state of US conservatism in the 1940s. Unlike conservatism of today, conservatism of the 1940s was split between both parties, and drew on supporters from all around the country. However, conservatives at the time had a few major defining ideals. One of these was Anti-Communism. Conservatives, ever since the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, had opposed the spread of Communism and sought to combat it. During the 1920s and 30s many American conservatives had attacked organized labor for being the vanguard of communism in the US. Another ideal shared by many conservatives, as well as many on the left, was the belief in isolationism. American conservatives did not seek to create a state in which the US would turn into some sort of hermit kingdom a la DPRK. Instead, there was a belief that the US should not seek military involvements overseas.

An Overview of the Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune represented the Midwestern conservative branch of the Republican party under the ownership of Col. Robert McCormick(who was never a Col.). McCormick was the descendant of Cyrus McCormick and inherited the International Harvester company. He utilized these funds to go purchase the Chicago Tribune and turn it into a mouthpiece to advocate for his own political beliefs, which included supporting relatives who were active in the Republican party. This blatant bias in the paper granted it a certain degree of journalistic infamy, with a survey of journalists declaring the paper the most biased in the country, a title it shared with the newspaper of the US Communist Party. The paper had a long list of enemies, including the Roosevelt administration and organized labor. It was incredibly isolationist and intensely criticized Churchill and Stalin, who were displayed as European imperialists intent on manipulating the US.

Phase One- A Useful Friend

The Chicago Tribune’s coverage of Rhee can be broken into three main phases. The Tribune’s coverage of Syngman Rhee began at the San Francisco conference of 1945, where Rhee had traveled to advocate for recognition of his Korean Provisional Government in exile, as Korea was still under Japanese rule. Rhee’s application for Korea to join the brand-new United Nations was turned down by the US State Department as they had a policy of not recognizing any formally established governments. The Chicago Tribune noticed this and reached out to Rhee. Rhee talked to the Tribune about how he sought to create an independent Korean state based on American principles of Republican government and free enterprise. This connection was in large part motivated by the fact that the Tribune wanted to criticize the Truman administration, and the saga of a Democratic adminstration ignoring the pleas of a pro-American freedom fighter made for a great story. This relationship is not entirely one sided, however, as Rhee wrote the Tribune, thanking it for its advocacy on his behalf.

Phase Two-Critique of an Authoritarian

The second phase takes place in 1946 and 47, when the Tribune correspondent Walter Simmons arrives in Southern Korea, which was under US military governance. Simmons painted Rhee as a diehard anti-communist, whose refusal to work with anyone on the left made him a major thorn in the side of the US military, who wanted Korea to have a functioning government. Simmons covers how Rhee uses paramilitary groups to attack newspapers that disagree with him, and states that he is an aspiring autocrat. This period is topped off by a report by Col. McCormick on the peninsula, in which he states the US should leave the peninsula, even if it means Korea will come under Soviet domination.

Phase Three- Anti-Communist Embrace

The last stage of the Tribune’s coverage of Rhee began in 1948 in the run up to the first Korean Presidential election. Here, the coverage of Rhee swings back in his favor. He is depicted as a dependable US ally seeking to create a country based off of American principles. Furthermore, the atrocities committed by right-wing paramilitaries were minimized, and the blame for all violence is placed on communists. The paper excuses Rhee’s repressive actions as necessary in order to counter the communist threat.

Throughout my research, I saw the Chicago Tribune at a crossroads in the history of American conservatism. At times, it signaled its isolationist tendencies, but in the end its desire to combat communism won out. This desire to support anti-communism abroad would later go on to define American conservatism throughout the rest of the Cold War.






Riddle of the Day 5/1


To most, I am a mystery
Hidden ‘tween H and G
Bring your vessels unto me
And to you I’ll spill my Tea.
What am I?


The correct answer to yesterday’s riddle (a J.R.R. Tolkien original) was FISHES, which was gotten first by Jared Bulla. The most creative answer goes to Sydni Nadler with “a knight in (quiet) shining armor.” Congrats to you both!

This will also be the last riddle of the semester, as we’re getting into the final stretch of things! Thanks for playing along everyone!!

Riddle of the Day 4/29


In permanence, I am murderous
But avoiding me oft’ brings headache.
I can bring refreshment splendiferous
But precious time it will take.
What am I?


A mesh with empty space beneath,
A cone inside is hidden.
I scream and shout but have no teeth,
At times I am forbidden.

(courtesy of u/blended_lemon)

The correct answer to this was “speaker,” which was gotten by Cindy Y, and the most creative incorrect answer goes to Jared Bulla with the subconscious! Congratulations to you both!!

Allison Brie from Community dances while giving a presentation

Research Presentations on the Blog!

Research. It’s one of the pillars of academic life, and one of the deep-set values of our program. Usually, the UHP hosts a yearly Research Symposium event in the Spring where all our students get the chance to present their research to both faculty and peers. Obviously, we won’t be having that this Spring! But we wanted to offer you all the opportunity to share your research anyway. So introducing:

Blog research presentations!

If you’ve done substantial research in the past year, we want to hear you share it with us! We’d especially love to hear from you Seniors with your Senior Theses, but everyone is welcome to participate. You can feel free to submit a video presentation, a pdf tri-fold, a story from your researching, or honestly just the paper itself! We’ll be accepting these submissions from now until the end of the summer. You can submit them on our Submit A Post page, preferably tagged as Research Stories. We want to celebrate you and your accomplishments– especially the research ones!

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