2020 Virtual Student Conference

Sydney Hutmacher
Religion over time in China and Japan

Abstract: Art will show the artist’s ideas and thoughts about religious traditions to highlight from Chinese and Japanese history.

Sydney Hutmacher is an International Relations major. She is in the Honors Program at Kent State Stark and also participates in the Conversation Partner program. She has traveled across the world and hopes to continue exploring the world after graduation.

Caleb Kovach


Abstract: When I first started to weigh ideas to base my final project on, I had difficulty trying to decide a topic. Then, I saw that we would be discussing the years between the world wars in class in the upcoming weeks. It was then that I decided to research the Holocaust and make that the topic of my final project. The word “Holocaust” is linked to one of the most unfortunate genocides that the world has ever seen. Although, that same term used to describe a “sacrificial offering burned on an altar” ( Since the genocide took place, people only understand the word as the horrific circumstances that occurred by the German Nazi regime between 1933 to 1945. Between 1941 through 1945, victims were taken from their home and sent to Nazi concentration camps all throughout Europe ( Upon arrival, victims had to endure some of the most brutal torture that a person could think of such as being stripped of belongings, separated from family, and worst of all being slaughtered in mass murders ( Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazis and he strongly believed in racial purity. He persecuted anyone who he felt was an inferior race such as Jewish, Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, Non-Jewish Polish civilians, Serb civilians, disabled people, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, criminal offenders, German political opponents (resistance activists), and homosexuals (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). It is obvious how large this list of people is, but it is still incredibly difficult to understand the total amounts of death that occurred during this period in history. Fortunately, there are survivors such as Susan Harrsion Wolffis’ father who lived to share his story with his daughter who represents a “second generation” of survivors and continues to share his stories with people to this day (Holocaust's Effect). It is important that people that were not alive during this time period continue to learn about this event through the stories of those who were impacted by the Holocaust. By doing so, we continue to mourn the lives lost and ensure that this will ever happen again. I have always been interested by the Holocaust and learning about survivor stories as well as learning about the lives that were lost during the tragic genocide. I have been learning about it since one of my middle school teachers read a story about it to my class years ago. I felt that the most efficient way I could demonstrate this event would be by painting a picture that illustrates the dark tone, but also includes a sense of hope and optimism. For my painting, I chose to use an image of the barbwire fence at the concentration camp at Auschwitz (Holocaust's Effect on Three Local Generations Jan. 27). The picture that I used for inspiration was taken in black and white and I want to keep this same tone for the background of my painting. Although, I feel that in order to add that feeling of hope that I mentioned previously, I am going to have to add some color. For this reason, I will paint nineteen yellow butterflies. I chose the number nineteen because the closest estimate I could find for how many casualties there were during the Holocaust was 19 million. It is stated, however, that it is nearly impossible to get an exact estimate for total lives lost, as the Nazis did not keep proper records and disposed of most of what they did have (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Each butterfly will represent one million people that perished during this tragic time in history. In conclusion, I believe that is extremely important that when we reflect back on the Holocaust, we remember the brutal conditions and deaths, but also the survivors for being brave enough to continue to share their stories today.

Caleb Kovach is a sophomore at Kent State University at Stark. He is majoring in Applied Communication and hopes to minor in Business. The reason Caleb chose to paint his final project for his history class is because his father has always had a passion for art and has passed that same passion onto him.

Makenzie Westfall
World War One Ruins


Abstract: For my final project, I have decided to create an art piece showcasing the haunting, yet beautiful, chilling ruins left behind from the first world war. My project was inspired by the movie “1917” which was loosely based on real life events. The movie tells a story of two British soldiers who must deliver a message across no man’s land, to stop an attack on the Germans, that would lose entire platoons if attempted. The story itself moved me, however in the final scenes of the film, it shows a soldier running through a series of ruins that are being lit up by flares and other weaponry fire (such as grenades and machine guns). The scene told a story of bravery and fear, running through a battlefield of destroyed architecture, fallen soldiers around every turn, while the sky is lit up by enemy fire, as this soldier races against time to deliver a message to save his comrades. The artwork I decided to create is an abandoned building, ransacked by German forces. As you may know, and as depicted in the film, German’s knew that after you left a place, you destroyed a place, so it could not be used by any enemies who followed behind. The artwork I am creating will show rubble from grenade and gunfire, as well as burning walls, an attempt to showcase the German style of military I mentioned above. If you pay close attention to detail, you will notice that I attempted to add details to this piece that you would perhaps find in a true battlefield, such as fallen soldiers, rats eating away at dead or wounded men, helmets left behind, bullet holes in the architecture and cracks in the foundation. I chose to use dark colors to attempt to capture the idea of a smoke-filled room, and I researched French military uniforms of the time, since the battlefield I created is set to take place in France. I also researched French architecture during that time to try to accurately represent what a real battle scene might have looked like during this time. I also watched videos of French and British soldiers describing their time serving during World War One, to somewhat put myself into their shoes, and gain a more mindful perspective before I created this piece. I also watched videos of French battlefields “then and now” to get a better idea of what France looked like during the war. These videos showed a lot of grass and hill like land, however there were a few buildings which were extremely helpful and even a few images of soldiers during that time. While researching this project, I tried to envision what it would be like to be a soldier during WW1. I learned a lot about courage, bravery, and pride. These men were called to war for their country, not knowing when (or if) they would return, and yet they sprung to action to defend their country. Some of these men would even lie down their lives for their cause, and that is something I do not know if I would have been able to do. Young men with lives yet to live and older men with families to care for, all came together to fight for their country. I also learned a lot about respect while researching this project. Learning what I now know about courage, I have gained a lot of respect for the men and women who have fought, and continue to fight, for my country. Although I did most of my research on Europe (France) during the first world war, I was able to develop a new perspective for the veterans of my own country as well.

Makenzie Westfall is a sophomore Criminology and Justice Studies major with a minor in Psychology at Kent State University at Stark. After graduation, I plan to work in the field of corrections, doing something with rehabilitative work (ex. juvenile probation officer/non-profit rehabilitation/early intervention work.) In my free time I like to sing/play instruments, go to church, spend time with family and friends and spend time outside.