Featured Students

CHFA Featured Student: Tracey Newport

Me with Mickey at Disney(1)

  • Name: Tracey Newport
  • Year: Senior
  • Double Major: Political Science and History
  • Hometown: Mayfield, KY
  • Quirky Fact: I’m a big wrestling fan – WWE, Ring of Honor, NXT – and in July, I went  and watched WWE Battleground and got to see the Undertaker, who is working on his last run and is retiring soon.
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently: The Martian
  • Favorite thing to eat in Murray: Matt B’s
  • I’ll never eat: Chicken Pot Pie
  • I like to listen to: Metal – Scar Symmetry and Trivium


Tell us about yourself:

I am a non-traditional student. I joined the military out of high school, a year for basic, and joined the reserves. I came to MSU for two years, during which I – to put it bluntly – partied too much and didn’t do so well. After this I spent three years with possible deployment status. My unit had been selected as a donor unit to deploying units, but because of my Military Occupational Specialty I was never chosen to go. Once I got out in 2012, I went to school and I’ve been taking it a lot more seriously and not being young and dumb!

Why History?

A friend of mine growing up was really interested in history and got my interest piqued. As time went on, I picked it up more and more. Now looking at the mistakes we’ve made as a human race, and that we’re not as infallible as we think we are. Even things with great intentions have horrible consequences that we have to live with and we need to understand how they happened.

All the professors have been really approachable – they all take time to work with and meet with you. All of them are very generous and flexible. I worked with Dr. Pizzo and Dr. Irvin a lot on several projects and papers and they’ve provided valuable insight. I like that they’re willing to say, “This idea is stupid” instead of placating me. I enjoy the rough-around-the-edges aspect of them, and I’m willing to have my bubble burst.

What have you been up to recently?

For this entire year, I was accepted for a fellowship under the Office of Research and Creative Activity. In my research, I take a comparative look at genocide in the 20th century. I’ve presented a paper called “Counting Bodies like Sheep: The Causes of the Extermination of the Nama and Herero People,” that examined the role that Social Darwinism and the military culture of prestige that permeated German Society in 1904-1908.  I am exploring the Armenian which is to this day a complicated public matter and foreign policy issue.  Celebrities such as the Kardashians and the band members of System of a Down have spoken out against the Turkish government for refusing to recognize it as genocide. The US is not willing to call it genocide because Turkey is a valuable political asset in the region and that is necessary for American foreign policy in the area.  The last case study for my project is the Bosnian Genocide that occurred in the early 1990s.  I am looking at the reaction of the United States once the Yugoslavian Wars started.  With the U.S. response that there is this lack of enthusiasm to play the role of world’s sole power after the Cold War and it takes some time before they become willing to take that mantle.

I’m doing a presentation on the Armenian Genocide at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference this April. I will also be looking to present my Bosnian Genocide research at Scholars week here in Murray in April as well.  Once the semester is over, I hope to be able to put my research forward and get it published..

Me, Dr. Pizzo, Lydia Biggs, and Erynn Pritchett
Tracey (far right) poses with Lydia Biggs, Erynn Pritchett, and Dr. David Pizzo at “Posters  at the Capitol” in Frankfort.

What are you doing next?

I’ve been accepted to Marquette University and University of Memphis for graduate school in history. I hope to obtain a PhD and work as a university professor. Not many schools have an African focused History program – so while working on my masters I’m hoping to pick up French and make myself more competitive for my Doctorate degree.

Joined by Dr. David Pizzo, Tracey spoke about his project on WKMS a few weeks ago. Click here to hear it.

About Tracey, David Pizzo writes, “I have had the pleasure of working with Tracey for several years now. He is a fantastic student. He has shown tremendous drive and initiative in designing, executing, and presenting multiple complicated historical research projects. Indeed, he is one of the most productive undergraduates I know. “


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