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Judaic Studies Program

Ashley Walters

I joined the Judaic Studies department at SUNY Albany in 2007 as a post-bachelors undergraduate. I had previously completed a B.A. in Anthropology and Archeology at SUNY Plattsburgh and wanted to strengthen my understanding of Judaism and Jewish history, as well as further develop my proficiency in Modern Hebrew and French. As a student in the Judaic Studies department, I worked closely with Professor Barry Trachtenberg, both as a student and teaching assistant. I learned from studying under Professor Trachtenberg, as well as other professors within the department, how to engage and better command scholarly materials and how to ask the important questions that confront historians of Jewish history. I also received a great deal of mentoring during the research and writing phases of my senior thesis, as well as with my graduate school applications.

While studying at SUNY Albany, I found that I had many opportunities to creatively pursue my various interests relating to Jewish Studies with support from the department. I received the Morris Altman Research Award which assisted me in funding a trip to work on an Archeological dig in Northern Israel, where I uncovered and assisted in the excavation of a Neolithic period human burial. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Albany, I began studying towards my Masters degree in Jewish Studies at Washington University in St. Louis while on fellowship. Additionally, to assist with expenses associated with graduate study, the Judaic Studies department in Albany awarded me the Lillian L. Kensky and Dr. Harry C. Kensky Endowment Fund Award and the Eunice B. Sherer Judaic Studies Scholarship. Currently, I am enjoying a gap year from my studies in St. Louis as a Visiting Graduate Student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where I am working on my Modern and Biblical Hebrew, as well as Yiddish and classic Rabbinic literature. It is my hope that I will be able to continue on to do a Ph.D. in Jewish history and one day teach at the university level.