In Memoriam: Lorie A. Vanchena, 1961-2022

Lorie Vanchena, an associate professor in the department of Slavic, German & Eurasian Studies at the University of Kansas, died on December 2. She was 61 years old and had suffered from brain cancer.

A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Dr. Vanchena was valedictorian of her high school class. After earning a Ph.D. in German studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Vanchena joined the faculty at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in 2008. There, she served as director of the Max Kade Center for German-American Studies.

Dr. Vanchena’s research focused on the German immigrant culture in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She created the WWI Immigrant Poetry Project, a digital repository and scholarly edition of poems written by German Americans. Largely absent from discourse on German–Americans during the war era, this poetry sheds light on the complexities of German–American national identity during a time of upheaval and significant change for this ethnic group, especially after the United States entered the conflict in 1917.

Dr. Vanchena also proved instrumental in the redesign of the German studies undergraduate curriculum, including revamping the senior capstone course to involve mentorship on individual research projects.

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