News About History Students
Honors In History
St. Andrews history majors continue the tradition of earning honors in the major through rigorous research and excellent writing. 2008 graduates receiving honors include Jessica Potts and Samuel Hemingway III.
Ms. Potts earned honors for her thesis "Formulating Collective Memory and Segregation Culture: A Study of Black and White Clubwomen". A member of her defense committee said of her work, "Potts mastered the historiographical dimensions of this project which was no small task. Additionally, she developed useful primary materials in a creative thesis. " Potts argues white southern elite women worked to support segregation through reimagining of the South's past while black women focused on direct social reform while resisting the stereotypes they faced from white society.
Samuel Hemingway's thesis "With the Courage of Esther: Black Women and their History of Challenging Tradition" earned honors and this remark from a defense committee member: "Sam's oral defense was remarkable. His knowledge of the topic is deep and his ability to navigate historical, anthropological, and theological ideas reflects thinking beyond most undergraduates." Hemingway contends the ideas express by Alice Walker's "womanist theology" began in the progressive era among southern black Baptist women. The church posed an inescapable paradox for these women: it was simultaneously an indispensable resource and a place where they had to accept a patriarchy. In this environment, Hemingway finds black women transforming their gender roles through biblical interpretation.
Senior Patrick Sheegog completed his senior thesis with distinction. Sheegog faced the challenge of understanding common whites in the antebellum period. While records of their lives are scarce, Sheegog persisted and argues common whites balanced a sense of individual freedom with the reality of communal needs and reliance in "The Cohesion of Communities: Caswell County, NC in Antebellum America." Department Chair and Associate Professor David Herr said of the thesis, "Patrick has a love of investigation that served him well. He spent time in the Caswell County Historical Society records and uncovered how county residents understood themselves during the middle of the nineteenth century. He is perhaps the best researcher the department has had in many years."
Senior Martin Kreshon won the Blair Turner Award for Outstanding Historical Scholarship for his senior seminar research "The Burden of Responsibility: An Analysis of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel's Leadership during the Attack on Pearl Harbor." "Martin mined the Pearl Harbor hearings with thoroughness and captures a sense of the decision-making surrounding that fateful day in December," said Distinguished Professor George Melton who directed the work.
Junior Blair Garnett received Distinguished Recognition for an historical essay for "The Glamorization of Alcohol During the Prohibition: The Development of a New Generation of Drinkers." Garnett completed the research for History 314: Historically Bad Behavior. Professor Herr, who taught the course, said, "Blair is a tenacious worker and possessed of a remarkable zeal for learning. This scholarship reflects those qualities."
Martin Kreshon also won the History Department's Senior Award for the senior with the highest GPA with a 3.73.
Samuel Hemingway III was elected class speaker for the Class of 2008. He also received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award during graduation.
Students at Work
Junior Sara Messina will apply her skills as a history major in WRT 110 in the fall. As a teaching assistant, Sara will develop the historical concepts behind much of the literature freshmen in her section will read. She will guide them through the process of establishing historical context and relate historical ideas to their contemporary understanding.
Graduates in the Real World
Public History major Dan Dupree '06 and History major Patrick Fitzgerald '06 have ended up together as teachers. both have positions at the Camden Military Academy where, in their first year, they also coached the lacrosse team to its first playoff appearance.
Politics major and history enthusiast Mica Nguyen '05 graduated from Campbell Law School and is preparing to take the N.C. Bar exam this summer.
Plans for our recent graduates are diverse and exciting: Samuel Hemingway will begin graduate school in history at UNC Greensboro. Andy Maginn will begin the Master's program in history at Western Carolina University. Jessica Potts is beginning a job in equine pharma. Patrick Sheegog is traveling to Vietnam and will begin a job with an international consulting firm when he returns. Martin Kreshon is preparing for law school. American Studies major and Blair Turner winner Angela Swanson is looking toward graduate school at the University of Maryland.
Williamson meets Juniors
Distinguished historian Joel Williamson recently met with majors in History 325, Junior Seminar. Professor Williams is the Lineberger Professor in the Humanities for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is currently writing a book about race, music and Elvis Presley. He has written (among other works): William Faulkner and Southern History (Oxford University Press, 1993), The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South since Emancipation (Oxford University Press, 1984), New People: Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States (The Free Press, 1980), and After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina During Reconstruction, 1861-1877 (University of North Carolina Press, 1965).
Professor Williams regaled the class with his extensive knowledge of Margaret Mitchell and his explanation of how race, class, and gender have shaped both Southern and American history. Junior Patrick Hogan surprised Williamson and his classmates with an encyclopedic knowledge of GWTW and successfully engaged Williamson in a detailed discussion of various scenes and their implications.
Honors in History
The History Department recently extended invitations to pursue honors theses to rising seniors Jessica Potts, Patrick Sheegog, and Martin Kreshon. Completing an honors thesis in history is the highest academic achievement for history majors. Successfully completing honors in history is a multi-step process. One must first complete History 491 Honors Seminar and develop a thesis proposal. The Department permits students who demonstrate appropriate preparation to enroll in History 497 Honors Research, during the spring semester of their senior year. Upon completion of a thesis the candidate must successfully sit for an oral defense of the research.
Junior Angela Swanson captured the Blair Turner award for distinguished research and writing during the 2006-2007 academic year. Swanson's work, "Women in Early American Methodism" was, according to Department Chair Dr. David Herr, "an outstanding example of innovative research using primary resources available online, written with a mature voice rare among undergraduates anywhere. Ms. Swanson has an exceptional appreciation of historical context and a beautiful narrative voice."
The department awarded Senior Joe Schroeter the outstanding research award for his work on "Contraband: The Place of Black Sailors in the Union Navy." Dr. Herr said, "Joe worked diligently on an area where source material is limited. He successfully studied diaries, government documents, and all the available secondary material. Mr. Schroeter has grown enormously in his time at St. Andrews and it is evident in his work."
Senior James Varner won the award for highest senior GPA with a 3.92. Distinguished Professor of History George Melton called Varner's achievement, "an example of his consistent, responsible, and thorough approach to history."
Students at Work
Senior Public History major Dan Dupree recently completed an internship at the Museum of the Cape Fear where he has developed research for new installations focused on the Revolutionary War and the pre-Revolutionary Regulator movement. DuPree researched and wrote four papers during his internship. He also participated in all aspects of the museum's operation. Kathryn Beach, the Research Historian for the Museum of the Cape Fear said of DuPree, "Dan was dependable, intelligent, responsive to suggestions and readily able to discuss issues and various perspectives pertaining to the topic. He was very capable in his research, his understanding of issues, presenting the material he found and making suggestions on where to focus further research on the topic."
Senior History major Matt Hensley has been interning with the DeTamble Library staff as he prepares for graduate school in Library Science. Matt has helped the library examine issues of new technology while learning about the many different roles the librarians have in DeTamble.
Senior James Varner recently completed his run as the Veterans History Project director and completed another set of interviews with local veterans. The department is looking for a replacement for James as he heads to graduate school.
Hemingway in New York
While in China studying, history major Samuel Hemingway III received a letter congratulating him on becoming one of fifty finalists in the United States for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History's History Scholars Program. As described by the Institute, "The Gilder Lehrman History Scholars Program, inaugurated in 2003, is a competitive summer scholarship program in American history for outstanding college sophomores and juniors. The program, based in New York City, has been designed to both reward undergraduates who have demonstrated superb research and writing skills in the field of American history and to provide an opportunity for the next generation of historians to engage in discussions with eminent scholars and in primary-source research. History Scholar Finalists will be invited to participate in a one-week program, which aims to foster an interest in American history through field trips, discussions with professionals about careers for history majors, and lectures by leading scholars such as David Brion Davis, James McPherson, and Pauline Maier.
Hemingway's acceptance meant a change in his China departure and having to go straight to New York City on his return. After his time at the Institute he will return to St. Andrews to complete his Junior Seminar course before the fall semester.