30 April 2019
History students from UCCS had significant successes at recent events for academic research, both at professional conferences and student organization forums. Two students were allowed to present their research at the Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum (CSURF). Those two students and more participated in the Phi Alpha Theta (PAT) Regional Conference.
Students signed up for the events at their own discretion but worked closely with faculty to meet conference requirements. History and secondary education major and junior Elizabeth Ross presented her senior thesis at both conferences, which covered 19th century slave women’s resistance to sexual exploitation.
Ross explained the process: “I took my senior thesis from thirty pages to ten in order to meet presentation expectations. To do so, I had to pick two women that I wrote about which was really difficult because they were all so cool and I wanted to present on all of them. I had fifteen minutes to present and [Barbara Headle, senior history instructor] helped me to figure out key concepts to cover and the best way to do so.”
CSURF and PAT also gave students the chance to network with fellow scholars and receive feedback on their work, increasing the likelihood of their work being published.
Both Ross and senior history major Jenneah Lenzini described their excitement at the ability to share their work.
“It provides students to share their research, make connections and to just express their passion and research to the public,” said Lenzini.
The 16th annual CSURF was held at UCCS on April 6 and included poster and oral presentations in the areas of arts, business, engineering, mathematics, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.
The following weekend was the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, a history honor society for college students. The event was held at Western Colorado University from April 12 – 13.
“It’s a lot of fun, and to see our students operate at the same level as professionals speaks to the quality and culture of camaraderie in the [history] department,” said Assistant Professor of History and Phi Alpha Theta faculty advisor Samantha Christiansen.
As a more narrowly focused conference, there were greater opportunities for networking with other historians and peer review. Students were presented with awards on their research. Ross received Best Undergraduate Research Paper.
Topics at the event ranged from Ross’ slave narratives to sophomore and history/biology dual major Madison Harris’ paper, “Utah became the Last State to Honor the MLK Holiday: Utah and the Quest for Racial Justice 1985-2000.” This was Harris’ second year presenting at Phi Alpha Theta’s Regional Conference and she gained an Honorable Mention for Best Undergraduate Research Paper.
“When a student can show that they’ve not only done research but presented it as well, it demonstrates a well rounded individual and the ability to clearly articulate their ideas with others,” said Christiansen.
These conferences are not the only opportunities that students have to present their information. History major and senior Thecla Shubert presented her paper, “Transgressions Against Women and their Biological ‘Otherness’: An Exploration of the Global Impacts of Menstruation” at the Rocky Mountain Communication Association (RMCA) Conference and received Best Undergraduate Research Paper. Shubert could not be reached for comment.
The history students were in agreeance that the process of presenting their research to an academic audience was a rewarding experience that encouraged both scholarly and personal growth.
“Literally anyone who has the desire to share what they know [is] encouraged to present. Also, you don’t have to be a history major to join Phi Theta, and we do presentations of research consistently at our meetings,” said Christiansen.