March 28, 2023
Catholic University History Majors at Phi Alpha Theta Conference

“Best Paper” Awarded for Fourth Year in a Row at Regional Phi Alpha Theta Conference

[Pictured: left (l-r): Michael Halick (junior), Matilda JingWen Zhao and Abigail Baxter (seniors), Dr. Árpád von Klimó (chapter advisor); right: Marianna Pepicelli (senior)]

The 2023 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society for students of history, took place on Saturday 25 March at Washington College in Chestertown, MD.  Students from seven area colleges and universities presented research papers in ten panels, with subjects ranging from “Migration and Memory” to “America in the World, 1821-1979” to “Faith and Ideologies in Conflict and Change”. 

Catholic University senior history major Abigail Baxter won the award for the best paper in the category of World (Non-U.S.) History, for her presentation titled “‘She has Butter on Everything, even Toast!’: Britishness, Femininity, and Self-Sacrifice during the Second World War”.  This is the fourth year in a row in which history majors from our department received this award (and in 2021 another of our students also won the US History category). 

Also presenting at the conference were seniors Justus DeCelles-Zwerneman (“The Powerful Technique of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation”), Marianna Pepicelli (“Serate Futuriste 1910-1914: Art and Violence”), and Matilda JingWen Zhao (“Writers in Exile and their Historical Deracination”), and junior Michael Halick (“Appeasement or Not? British Public Opinion from 1938 to 1940”).

Department Chair Dr. Michael Kimmage congratulated the group of student presenters: “We are particularly proud of the achievements of this year's students and of the long record of excellence behind them.”  And Dr. Klimó added “The strong performance of Catholic University’s history majors in the last few years in this honor society conference demonstrates how much we are focusing on research, writing, and presentations in our curriculum.”

Abigail reflects: “Preparing for and presenting at this conference was such a great opportunity to learn about the professional process of history writing. It was really exciting to be a part of a panel in which other history students were analyzing questions that overlapped with my own and it was such an honor to win an award for my paper after the past several months of hard work on this thesis project!”