CCU students compete and win at Phi Alpha Theta history conference
Carlie Todd, a senior double major in intelligence and national security studies and history, was awarded for the Best Undergraduate Paper for the entire conference, as well as winning for best paper in her session. Todd graduates in May and plans to pursue a doctorate in American history.
"I was completely surprised to have won the best overall paper at the conference," Todd said. "It is an honor to bring this recognition to Coastal Carolina University and the history department. Having won this award affirms to me that I belong in the history program and that I am on the right path to becoming a future professional historian."
Todd wrote her paper, "A Republic in Crisis: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 in Horry County, SC," for her history capstone after she learned about the centennial of the pandemic from one of her professors. She said almost no research existed on the pandemic's local effect.
"Conducting this new research provided me with a challenge and gave me the opportunity to exhibit my analytical and research skills to the fullest extent possible," she said. "This research shed new light on how a major historical event, like the influenza pandemic of 1918, can significantly impact small communities and the lives of those within them."
Camren Schildt, a senior history major, and Lucas Riggs, a sophomore history major, both won awards for the best papers in their sessions.
Justin LeSuer, Jeffrey Bean, Steve Butler, and Kelsey Kerzman also attended the conference, competing with students from Furman University, Erskine College, East Carolina University, Queens University, Appalachian State, Belmont Abbey, Francis Marion University, Lander University, Winthrop University, Greensboro College, North Carolina A&T, and Presbyterian College.
Faculty from the above schools, as well as Davidson College, Campbell University and Virginia Wesleyan University, served as judges during the conference.
"The CCU students stole the show!" said John Navin, professor of history. "Many of the judges were effusive in their praise for the papers presented by CCU students, and as a judge for the graduate student panel, I believe many of our students' papers would have been competitive at that level!"
Schildt's paper topic was "The Nuremberg Trials and the American Reaction." He graduates in May and plans to pursue his Master in Teaching at CCU.
Riggs wrote about “The Limit of Ethics: The Research of Human Radiation Experiments” and plans to join the U.S. Army after he graduates, then pursue a master's degree in history.
LeSuer is a senior history major and wrote about “The Politics of the Protestant Reformation." Bean is a senior history major who previously spent seven years in the U.S. Army. His paper topic was "Rebellion and Resistance within Nazi Concentration Camps." Butler, a senior history major, wrote about “Multiculturalism and the Macedonian Struggle." Kerzman is a senior history major, and the title of her paper was "The Crusades Forgotten Story: What Women Do When Men Are Away."
Phi Alpha Theta is an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate history students. It has more than 400,000 members and 970 chapters nationwide. The conference was held April 13-14 and "provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research in a supportive, professional academic setting," according to the conference webpage.