Three Southern Adventist University history seniors presented research papers at the Southeastern Tennessee Student History Conference April 12 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). This is the seventh consecutive year Southern students have participated in the conference.
The work presented at the conference reflects a semester’s worth of research using primary and secondary sources. Typically, seniors present the B.A. thesis paper they were required to write in their Research Methods class. The 20-30-page paper covers a Civil War topic. In rare instances, students present papers on a different topic based on the class they took that semester.
This year, students presented the following papers:
Jason Dedeker, “The Sobering Theory of Henry Adams”
Jason argued that Henry Adam’s family strongly influenced the unusually negative theory the American author had on history. Adam’s life experiences and relationships shaped his view on how history should be written.
Ashley Dunbar, “Native Americans: A Tale of the Civil War Experience”
Ashley discussed the consequences Cherokees experienced during the Civil War. Many suffered severely, experienced betrayal, civil conflict, hardship, and loss of political liberties.
Andrea de Melo, “Civil War Attitudes as Seen in Children’s Media and Toys”
Andrea explored the ways adults tried to influence children through toys and literature during the Civil War. Common themes presented by the media included war, patriotism, and religion.
Lisa Diller, Ph.D., professor in the History Department, started the conference in 2004 when she and a professor from Lee University realized the need for an event where local history students and professors could meet and share findings.
“Not only does this conference allow history professors from various schools to hear about new classes, books, and research, but it also gives students a chance to establish relationships for graduate school and future employment,” says Diller. “It’s great because students and professors are able to broaden their perspective of the historical world.”
Since the conference’s beginning, participating schools have seen an increase in the number of students accepted into graduate school.
“Conferences like this look very good on a resume and let future employers know you are serious about the field,” says Jason.
Though his future plans involve medical school, Jason says he still feels the conference is valuable.
“I may never have another chance to take part in the historical community this way again, but if I do choose to enter history, I have made lasting connections.
The experience is even more meaningful for students who are pursuing a history-related career.
“Southern has done a great job at equipping its history students with great writing skills,” says Ashley. “It’s a huge benefit discovering you have what it takes in the academic world.”