Syracuse University senior Jack Matlack ’15 was recently awarded the Max Kade Prize for best research project and presentation at the fifth annual Undergraduate Research Conference in German Studies, co-organized by Moravian and Lafayette colleges in Pennsylvania.
His entry, “Schrödinger’s Nukes: The Opacity of American Nuclear Weapons in Germany,” explored the historical evolution of German nuclear policy, as well as that nation’s modern regard for American weapons. His presentation culminated with a comprehensive set of German policy recommendations.
A triple major in German studies, history, and international relations (IR), Matlack is enrolled in both the College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He credits Karina von Tippelskirch, assistant professor of German in the College’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (LLL), for much of his interest in German studies.
“My love for German has grown since enrolling in Professor Tippelskirch’s class,” he says, describing her demeanor as “stern and steady” and “warm and encouraging.”
“She’s the one who picks you up after you’ve stumbled. At the same time, she doesn’t accept listlessness in your studies.”
The feeling is mutual, says Tippelskirch, who also coordinates LLL’s German program. She considers Matlack a “driving force” in many of her class discussions.
“Jack has distinguished himself as one of our leading undergraduates,” says Tippelskirch, citing his receipt of LLL’s Outstanding Graduating Senior Award in German and his involvement with the German Cultural Society, which made headlines last fall with its commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. “His integrity and strength of character have helped fuel a culture of excellence on campus.”
Francine D’Amico, associate professor of IR, says Matlack also has a “knack for research.”
“His senior seminar presentation was one of the most engaging and informative that I’ve ever seen,” she says. “He genuinely enjoys, if not thrives on each stage of the research process—a rarity among students his age.”
Matlack says that, although he is preparing to leave Central New York, the connections he has made on campus will last a lifetime.
“I owe the University a huge debt of gratitude,” he adds. “Through the support of my professors, I have been extremely successful and am well prepared for the next chapter of my life: traveling to Germany to pursue a master’s degree in political science. I couldn’t be more excited.”