Catherine Lynn Kraft
Catherine is the winner of this year’s Gilbert L. Lycan History Award for Outstanding Senior and a co-winner of this year’s Colonel John Taylor Rhett History Manuscript Award for the best History senior thesis. She was also a co-winner of the 2022 Gilbert L. Lycan History Award for Outstanding Junior, and won a SURE Grant and a History Department Evans Johnson Research Grant. She represented the Department at the Phi Alpha Theta Nationals and State Regionals with distinction. Her senior thesis, "Speaking of Dictators: Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and the Language of Personality Cults," was a fascinating study about the personality cults of the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, and his Communist Chinese counterpart, Mao Zedong. Her investigation into the language that their personality cults used, the impact of these cults, and Soviet and Chinese Communist propaganda was groundbreaking due to its intellectual sophistication, transnational scope, and first-rate use of primary sources. These primary sources included propaganda posters and songs, U.S. Department of State documents, U.S. intelligence documents, and papers from the presidential administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Richard Nixon. Professors have praised Catherine for being "one of the top three students (any major) whom I have ever taught at Stetson,” "a curious and creative student,” “an intellectually brilliant student who possesses a superhuman work ethic," and "an insightful historical thinker."
Academic organizations: Phi Beta Kappa (the national liberal arts and sciences honor society), Omicron Delta Kappa (the national leadership honor society), Phi Alpha Delta (the pre-law honor society), Phi Alpha Theta (the national History honor society), and the Stetson Honors Program
Post-graduation plans: University of Florida Law, J.D. '26