Mike McConnell earned his BA at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his MA from the University of Alabama. The focus of his study is German and East European history with a particular interest in national identity, everyday life under dictatorship, genocide, and the impact of war on society. His MA thesis, “Die Lage ist wieder ruhiger:” Gestapo Crimes in the Rhineland, Fall 1944–Spring 1945, investigated atrocities committed by the Nazi security services against German civilians and foreign laborers in the Cologne region as the Third Reich began to collapse.
He has presented his work at several conferences and is a member of the German Studies Association and the Conference Group for Central European History. As an undergraduate, he was awarded the UAB Haskell Prize for a year of study at Kaiser Wilhelm Universität in Münster, Germany. In 2008, he was a Dorot Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC. While completing his MA, he obtained valuable experience as a graduate teaching assistant and, in 2009, received the Albert Burton Moore Memorial Award from the University of Alabama’s department of history. He also has been awarded the J. Wallace and Katie Dean Fellowship from UT.
McConnell chose to join UT’s history program not only because of the quality of its faculty, but also because of the department’s recent and impressive success in securing research assistance for its students. These achievements have created a positive atmosphere that he was eager to share in, as well as contribute to. Combined with the presence of the Center for the Study of War and Society and the interdisciplinary Research Seminar on Modern Germany and Central Europe, the department is undoubtedly a rising star in the field of European history and this further influenced his decision to join the program. McConnell began his doctoral work in fall 2009 under the guidance of professor Liulevicius.