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History Undergrad Research Front and Center

Students brought history into the present as they showed their research at the 2015 Phi Alpha Theta Pennsylvania East Regional Meeting, hosted by the Ursinus History Department.

“This conference in many ways embodies the Ursinus mission of liberal arts education in the twenty first century, in particular our commitment to undergraduate research and individual student development,” said Interim President Lucien “Terry” Winegar greeting the participants at the April 18 conference. “Conferences like this one are crucial for undergraduate development in our current era when the value of bricks and mortar higher education is sometimes questioned. Even just a quick glance through the conference program demonstrates that whether one seeks to understand popular American culture, international relations, economic history, or any form of social inequality, the study of history is essential,” Winegar said. 

With more than 650 chapters, Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, established in 1921, is the largest among the accredited honor societies. The Alpha Gamma Phi Chapter at Ursinus was established in 1987 to recognize the accomplishments of the college’s most skilled history students.

This particular regional conference is held at a different college or university each year. Approximately 130 individuals from 22 schools participated, said History faculty member Susanna Throop, who co-chaired the conference with History colleague Edward Onaci. The topics ranged from American culture in the 1960s and the Twentieth-Century Middle East to the Byzantine Empire and American attitudes to Asia and Asian-Americans. Nine Ursinus students were among the more than 80 students presenting their research:

Caitlin Dawson: The History of Women’s Rights at Ursinus College: Female Spheres on Campus During the Post-World War II Era;

Lindsay Doyle: The Olive Branch: A Civil War Era Newspaper in Norristown, PA;

Katie Faust:  Misinterpreted Femininity: Vietnamese Women in American Media;

Chris Goss, Expanding Diplomacy: US Propaganda in the Cold War Middle East;

Ryan Murphy: When the Sun Began to Set: The Impact of the “Great War” on the Colonial Enterprise;

Kyle Peterson: Gendering of Women Martyrs: A Product of the Middle and Modern Ages, A Visual and Textual Exploration;

Tim Winters: Poilu: The French Trenches 1914-1915;

Laura Witwer: Constructing the Yellow Peril: East Asia as the Enemy in American Discourse and Foreign Policy;

Joseph Wojciechowski: Foreign Influence on Warlordism in Somalia.