Auden Finch in the Walker Ames Room at the UW

Auden Finch (right) with Miriam Eve (left), his mother, at the 2022 Jewish Studies End-of-Year celebration

The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to announce the recipient of its 2022 Outstanding Student in Jewish Studies Award: Auden Finch, a Comparative History of Ideas major focusing on Jewish cultural history who plans to graduate in spring 2023.

The Outstanding Student Award was established in 2020 to recognize exceptional students in Jewish studies at the University of Washington. The criteria for the award are:

  • Dedication to Jewish studies as a field of study, regardless of official minor or major
  • Excellence in academic achievement
  • Active citizenship in the UW campus community and beyond

Stroum Center faculty who worked with Auden praised his keen insights, his strong motivation to learn independently, and his kindness as a classmate. Writes faculty member Galya Diment, “Auden is definitely one of the brightest students I have ever had. … In fact, the quality of his analysis — and writing — surpasses that of many graduate students I have taught through the years.”

Faculty member Sasha Senderovich spoke to Auden’s high degree of learning around Jewish and Yiddish literatures, which comes from his independent exploration of scholarly works in these fields, as well as his strong motivation to learn Yiddish, which he began studying on his own this year. Faculty members also noted Auden’s deep, thoughtful questions and his kind, positive presence in the classroom.

This summer, with support from a Stroum Center opportunity grant, Auden will study Yiddish intensively at the Uriel Weinreich Summer Program in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, offered by the YIVO Institute at Bard College in New York City. Auden also received a Stroum Center opportunity grant earlier this year to begin research for his senior thesis in Vienna, Austria, where he visited the Archive of the Jewish Community of Vienna, Europe’s largest repository for Jewish-related archival material in Hebrew, Yiddish and German, among other archives and academic institutions.

Next year, Auden will formally begin work on his 15-credit honors thesis, which will look at Yiddish and German-Jewish literature. He will likely focus on Moyshe Kulbak’s Yiddish-language novel The Zelmenyaners, which depicts a Jewish family in Minsk in Soviet Belorussia between the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Auden writes that in the coming year, and in future postgraduate study, he hopes to “continue to situate questions of Jewish identity formation within broader interdisciplinary conversations around translation studies, sociolinguistics, literary criticism, and queer theory.”

Congratulations to Auden on his excellent academic work and his enthusiasm for learning. Mazel tov!

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