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William F. Freistat Center

Sending students to experience the world

If you want to make the world a better place, the William F. Freistat Center at Augustana College is a good place to start.

The center awards grants to students and faculty for peace studies.

What are peace studies? Examples might be:

• Traveling to other places to see what has caused violence. And what has helped to stop it.

• Studying a language while abroad, to better understand different people and cultures.

• Researching ways to prevent and reduce conflict through peaceful means.

• Looking at problems that come from social structures, governments or cultural assumptions.

Dr. Carolyn Yaschur in Nepal with students

Dr. Carolyn Yaschur and Sarah Walton ’23 used a Freistat Center grant for student-faculty fellows in undergraduate research  to go to Nepal to teach young girls how to find their voices through a camera lens. Read about their experience.

Student and faculty experiences

Dr. Carolyn Yaschur, associate professor of multimedia journalism and mass communication, and Sarah Walton ’23 used a Freistat Center grant for student-faculty fellows in undergraduate research. They traveled to Nepal to teach girls how to find their voices through a camera with Girl Reports, a non-profit program.

Jack Brandt studied language and cultural enhancement in Germany. "While I was in Germany I had many things to reflect on... It just goes back to language, and learning about the experiences of others. If we spent more time understanding the backgrounds of others, maybe the world could be a more cooperative place."

Olivia Zolnik used a Freistat grant to travel to Poland and Germany to learn about their health care systems and historical relation to peace. "I combined my love of learning with my love of traveling to create an original project," she said.

Brittany Murphy used her grant to go to Hawaii and research the legacies of Japanese militarism in archives and at important sites of Asia Pacific War memory, such as Pearl Harbor. "Up until then, Hawaii seemed like a distant, far-off place I had little to do with," she said. "The experience showed me just how interconnected the entire Asia Pacific region is."

Rosalie Looijaard visited the University of New Mexico to speak with an influential scholar about her senior thesis in philosophy.

Bethany Koch used a Freistat Grant and Augie choice for a German language study abroad program that otherwise wouldn't have been possible for her. "Through this exchange program, I was able to develop my foreign language abilities and even mature more as an individual," she said.

Grant opportunities

The Freistat Center funds faculty research abroad appropriate to the Freistat vision, such as peace studies or any area of inquiry that promotes active conflict resolution. Research be theoretical, involving significant historical, social, economic or political inquiry; or it may take a practical form involving solutions to real-world problems.

Faculty grants cover: Research worldwide, research in peace studies and travel to present at international conferences.

Student grants cover: Expenses related to the Student-Faulty Fellows Program, the Language and Cultural Enhancement Program, language study abroad or travel to present at professional conferences.


The Student-Faculty Fellows Program enables a faculty member to help two students conduct undergraduate research abroad during the summer.

The in-country Language and Cultural Enhancement Program allows language students in their second year to experience life abroad with a faculty member.

On-site Intensive Language Study Grants enable students to experience accelerated language study.

The Freistat Center also aims to enhance international and peace studies programs on campus, and will consider specific proposals from all departments and divisions. In the past, it has supported visiting scholars and costs for peer-reviewed publications.

Note: Freistat awards generally are not given in combination with faculty research grants, faculty summer research stipends, new faculty research grants, presidential research grants and sabbatical leave grants.