Networking and Reflecting at the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention

Traditional New Orleans cuisine

For any discipline, conferences are a place to present months of research and hard work to colleagues from across the nation. They can also be opportunities to meet other members of your field, network, and explore a new city. I only attended one day of the conference, and after presenting my paper, I spoke with several other historians who also studied World War II, including one woman who wrote her thesis on the infamous 46th Guards Bomber Regiment in the Russian air force, known by the Germans as the “night witches.” I also talked to a senior-year history student from Texas A&M, who studied the American Air Force in World War II. Not only did I learn a bit about the evolution of the various airborne divisions in the U.S. Air Force, but he also recommended several restaurants and local spots to my roommate and me.

Objects in World War II Museum

WW II Museum artifacts

We spent the remainder of the night and the next day exploring New Orleans. I was able to try out the local cuisine, including beignets at the famous Café du Monde,
which is over a century old. Since a history conference was the focal point of this trip, I found it most fitting that we visit the National World War II Museum. The museum is
quite large, taking up two separate buildings and encompassing multiple aspects of the war. First, my roommate and I walked through an exhibit about the invasion of Normandy. After, we ventured into the second building, where we had the option of either taking the “Road to Berlin” or the “Road to Tokyo,” which explored the war in Europe and the Pacific, respectively.  Because I study mostly the European aspects of the war, we only walked through the first. I found it to be a fairly normal
immersive experience with just enough information to be educational without becoming overwhelming. My favorite parts were those that displayed the personal items of soldiers. They did not have much regarding the Red Army or the women that I study, but I did see some uniforms for American nurses.

All in all, it was an enjoyable and education experience in more ways than one. I definitely plan on returning to New Orleans, if not on business, then certainly for pleasure.

Anna Wenzel Presents Research at Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention

The morning of the conference

I attended the Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society) Biennial Convention on Wednesday, January 4th. I presented a paper I had written the previous spring semester for an upper-level history class about World War II. The paper focused on the political, ideological, and military factors that allowed for Soviet women to enlist and fight as combatants in the Red Army during the Second World War. Phi Alpha
Theta placed me on a panel about women in World War II, where the other presenter was a student from West Chester University who was presenting on a similar topic: the experiences of Soviet women in the Eastern Front. I was originally concerned about presenting alongside someone with a similar paper—especially since I
was to go second—but our papers were different enough that we did not repeat too
much information. In fact, I think having closely-related topics led to a far more focused question and discussion period, and allowed the panel chair to provide us with specific critiques.

Natasha James: Conference Reflection

(01/06/2018) Now that the conference has ended I have had some time to reflect on my experience. I had the pleasure of spending two lovely days in Hawaii while attending the Hawaii University Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Conference. During this time I gave my first presentation in front of professionals on a research paper I wrote during my senior year. The paper focused on an underlying topic I saw throughout many of my philosophy classes through my years studying. This concept was the issue that morals fluctuate and can cause immoral acts to take place due to this fluctuation. This being my first scholarly conference I most certainly learned a lot of new skills and had a new experience that I hope to have more of in the future. Giving my speech made me get out of my comfort zone, and learn how to be professional in presenting my work as well as engaging with other professionals. I will use these skills and connections I made to further my future now that I have graduated from college. During the two days I was able to attend many interesting sessions and learn information that I would have never known about. Through this learning I was able to connect these ideas that were presented with concepts that I had learned in the past, which was an exciting experience. Going to this conference not only allowed me to become more professional, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn so many new things in various disciplines I am so grateful that I got to experience a professional conference and present my research. It was overall a very humbling and crucial experience to top off my undergraduate college career.

Natasha James: Presenting at the Hawaii University Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Conference

Today, January 4, 2018, is my first day at the Hawaii University Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Conference. I gave my presentation in the first session of the day. In my session there were two other professors from California and Canada presenting. They had extremely interesting research on topics such as trauma and abuse victims and dogs being sources of good therapy and motivation. Giving my presentation was a great new experience, from which I learnt a lot. Before giving my presentation, I had to learn how to reconstruct and shorten my paper so that I could present it within the time, and still make my argument strong and compelling. Practicing how to annunciate and read clearly, were skills that I further refined through preparing for this speech. Today when I gave my speech I learned how to be professional when presenting and putting my nerves aside, as well as answering questions in depth and intellectually. This experience with presenting my own research taught me how to be professional and interact in a professional setting with other professionals. I had the pleasure after giving my presentation to two pprofessors from California, who were impressed by my research and even offered to help me with future endeavors with law school. After my session I had the pleasure of attending another session, in which my professor, Dr. McLaren, was presenting. The session focused on gender issues, and there were presentations on sexual assault in college and the stereotypes of yoga and its effects of women. I was able to learn so much throughout the sessions from many different disciplines. So far this experience has allowed me to grow as an intellectual and professional, which is important since I have graduated college and will be immersing myself in many professional experiences.