After graduating from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in History, Elena Kempf began her graduate studies in European History in Fall 2014. Throughout her academic career, Kempf has distinguished herself with the quality of her work and intellectual rigor, and has been recognized numerous times by departmental and campus honors. Kempf is described by her instructors as a “student who excels at everything that she does.” This year, Kempf is recognized as the 2014-2015 Una Fellow, a campus tradition that has been in place for nearly 45 years.
Kempf is studying modern European history with a focus on Germany. She is particularly interested in the history of international law and the laws of war in the second half of the nineteenth century. She is also working on a project that looks at the Swiss legal thinker Johann Caspar Bluntschli. In the past, Kempf worked on German nationalism and federalism in the late nineteenth century, and on subversive poster art in East Germany in the 1980s.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the faculty mentors who were so very encouraging throughout my undergraduate career at Berkeley and the graduate school application process,” Elena Kempf said. “It was wonderful to have an opportunity to celebrate with these very kind people who supported me every step along the way.”
Originally from Munich, Germany, Kempf credits her instructors with her development as a student and as a scholar. In addition to being recognized as this year’s Una Fellow, Kempf has been awarded numerous times, including by the Colin Miller Prize in Modern European History, the California Alumni Association Leadership Award and was a Fiat Lux Grand Prize Winner.
The Una Fellowship was awarded at a small ceremony that included representatives of the Graduate Division and mentors and colleagues from Kempf’s academic department. Before dinner, a striking vintage necklace that belonged to Una was placed around her neck.
About the Una Fellowship
Named after Una (pronounced “YOU-na”) Smith Ross, the fellowship is awarded annually to an outstanding woman in the field of History to foster the spirit of inquiry and individuality so characteristic of Una Smith Ross. The endowment supporting the fellowship also provides funds for Una’s Lectures in the Humanities. Ross studied history at Berkeley during the presidency of Benjamin Ide Wheeler, the last UC chief executive to regularly navigate the campus on horseback. She earned her B.A. in 1911 and her M.A. in 1913.
Funds for the Una Fellowship were endowed from her husband, Edward Hunter Ross, who established the fellowship in 1971 in her honor. After his wife’s death, Ross stayed involved with the fellowship program up until his death.