History majors take top honors at regional conference

Posted on March 5, 2013

From left, Dr. John Macaulay, Nick Lewis, Megan Kunkle, Greg Goodwin

Erskine College swept two of the top three honors for best paper at the Georgia Regional Phi Alpha Theta (PAT) Meeting Feb. 23 at LaGrange College, LaGrange, Ga.

Three senior history majors, members of the Erskine College chapter of the history honor society Phi Alpha Theta, attended the meeting and presented papers. They were accompanied by Assistant Professor of History Dr. John Macaulay, faculty sponsor, who served as panel chair for one of the morning sessions at the conference.

Megan Kunkle displays her certificate.

Megan Kunkle of Sumter took first place for her paper titled “Under the Radar: The Longevity of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, 1932-1972.”

Nick Lewis of Summerville won third place for “The Political Reformation Under Edward VI’s Privy Council, 1547-1553.”

Also attending the conference was Eric Goodwin of Greenville, who presented “Lincoln, Seward, and the Republican Rejection of Compromise, December 1860.”

“This year, Georgia Regional Phi Alpha Theta opened paper proposals to schools in bordering states and Erskine accepted this invitation,” Macaulay said.

“Out of 32 papers, Erskine students took two of the top three slots. Papers were judged anonymously ahead of the conference for quality of scholarship, research and writing.”

Macaulay noted that Erskine students competed against students from Mercer, Brenau, LaGrange, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and other schools.

“Erskine’s history faculty definitely encourages us to strive to be good historians,” Kunkle said. “All of our papers were praised for being well-researched, well-written, and effectively presented.”

Nick Lewis won third place for his paper.

Lewis agreed. “The entire history department was a huge help to all three of us,” he said. Citing Macaulay’s oversight of students while Dr. David Grier and Dr. Sandra Chaney were on sabbatical in China last year, he also spoke appreciatively of assistance he received from Grier, Chaney, and Dr. Thomas Farmer as he pursued his topic.

“Although I was nervous [about presenting] the paper, I ended up enjoying the conference very much,” Kunkle said. “I’m looking forward to the next conference!”

Erskine will compete again later this month at the Carolinas Regional Meeting of Phi Alpha Theta held at Furman University, Macaulay said.

Current officers for Erskine’s PAT chapter are Megan Kunkle, president; Will Cooper, vice president; Kari Sell, secretary; and Ax Dillingham, historian.

Three new members, Derrick Brown, Ellis Evans, and Amanda Richmond, were inducted into Phi Alpha Theta March 6.