David Francis Banas Jr.
Graduation year: Spring 2016
Majors: History and Mathematics
What are you doing now?
I am currently pursuing my MA in History at Central Michigan University. I have two main areas of research which are German History from 1918 to 1939 with a particular focus on Gustav Stresemann and his role in the series of Locarno treaties. My second area of interest (more of a hobby) is examining the Sonderweg thesis with a focus on German historians Gerhard Ritter, Hans Rothfels, and Hans-Ulrich Wehler. I plan on publishing a paper on either of these two topics within the coming year. After the completion of my MA at CMU, I plan on pursuing a PhD at either CMU or Michigan State University.
Why did you choose to study this area?
History has and will always be my passion. German History has always intrigued me and after taking a senior course on Europe from 1914-1945, I was able to narrow down my interests to the inter-war period with a focus on German foreign policy. I firmly believe that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.
How does language and culture help you succeed in your studies, job or career?
Studying a foreign language, especially in the time period in which we live, is paramount to one’s success in academia. My German studies have aided me tremendously in that they have taught me how to think critically about the usage of language in both my writing and speaking. Having studied German for four years during my undergrad has greatly aided me also in terms of primary source translation for my research.
Did you study abroad? If so, can you explain your experiences?
Unfortunately, due to my dual majors, I was not able to study. I do, however, highly recommend that anyone thinking about studying abroad should. I have seen the benefits from my peers firsthand of what studying a foreign language in its own culture can do.
How did the World Languages and Cultures program at CMU prepare you for your future?
As stated before, the ability to speak and write a foreign language has helped tremendously with my graduate studies in history. Also, having been employed as a grader and a tutor by the Department of World Languages gave me teaching experience which I have applied to my own courses that I am teaching currently.
What was your favorite thing about learning a language? What is your favorite thing about studying another culture in depth?
My favorite thing about learning a language was definitely grammar. Being able to see the logic (or sometimes lack thereof) of how a culture constructed its language was extremely interesting. Through studying German culture, I became aware of the differences but also the similarities between the United States and Germany.
What advice do you have for fellow students in World Languages classes?
Take as many World Languages classes as you can. They were always the highlight of my day even during final exams.
What else should we know about you?
I am still currently involved with both of the student organizations that I was during undergrad (Judo and Quidditch). Also, I am a proud alumnus of the German Department at CMU and would not trade my experiences in the department for anything.