Renata Keller grateful for the Flinn Scholarship’s international travel experiences

October 1, 2015

By Matt Ellsworth

Renata KellerIn celebration of the 30th class of Flinn Scholars, selected earlier this year, several members of the Flinn Scholars Alumni Advisory Council have offered reflections on their own undergraduate experiences.


Flinn Scholar Class of 2000
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Boston University

I will always be grateful to the Flinn Scholars Program for introducing me to the intellectual potential of international travel. The seminar on post-Cold War democratization in Hungary and Romania after my freshman year was my first experience traveling internationally in any capacity other than as a tourist, and it opened my eyes to the wealth of knowledge that can be gained by encountering and engaging other cultures. My later Flinn-sponsored study in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Chile set me on a path that I am still happily following today as a historian and a professor of Latin American international relations.

The questions I remember discussing with my fellow Flinns that first summer—How does history shape current political choices? How do nations define themselves at moments of transition? What challenges do individuals and countries face as they negotiate their places in the international community, and how do they meet those challenges?—still shape my approach to research and teaching. As I begin to take my own students on their first study-abroad trips, I look back on the Flinn seminar and the Scholars Program in general as models of how to create true global citizens.