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Seven History Undergrads Win Research Funding from College and Department

Apr 2, 2009

Seven WIU undergraduate History majors have won eight grants from the WIU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the WIU Department of History in Spring 2009 to support their own historical research, announced Dr. Inessa Levi, CAS Dean, Dr. Susan Martinelli-Fernandez, CAS Associate Dean and Chair of the CAS Undergraduate Research Grant Committee, and Dr. Virginia Boynton, History Department Chair. The students were mentored by five different faculty members in the History Department.

Three of these outstanding students have been awarded three of the eleven Norman & Carmelita Teeter Research Grants given out this year by the College to the strongest grant applicants: Sarah Farha, Abby Lagemann, and Dan Mieszala. Five History majors have been awarded CAS Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Grants this Spring: Adam Bednar, Amy Kallenbach, Abby Lagemann, Brandon Scheppers, and Jillien Zudell. All seven students have also won Department of History Undergraduate Research Awards in conjunction with their eight College grants.

Sarah Farha, a junior History Teacher Certification major from Quincy, was awarded a 2009 Norman & Carmelita Teeter Research Grant as well as a History Department Undergraduate Research Award to support her research project, "Rising from the Ashes: An Analysis of Women in Foxe's Book of the Martyrs." The grant selection committee noted that Ms. Farha was an "excellent student" with an "excellent proposal." They were impressed that she "shows a real desire to better understand the historical period under consideration and to approach it from a somewhat more unconventional direction -- exactly what we would call 'research'!" Ms. Farha, who also serves as the College's student representative on the University Teacher Education Committee, is being mentored on this project by Dr. Jennifer McNabb, Assistant Professor of History.

The second recipient of a Norman & Carmelita Teeter Research Grant this year and a History Department Undergraduate Research Award is Abby Lagemann, a senior History Teacher Certification major from Pittsfield. Ms. Lagemann's grants will support the presentation of her research paper, entitled "'Between Her Highness and You': Justices of the Peace in Early Modern England," at the Purdue University Undergraduate Research Conference in April. The selection committee noted that her proposal was "beautifully written" and that "the student and faculty member both did an excellent job in explaining the context of her research and how the conference travel would provide an important benefit to the student and her research efforts." Ms. Lagemann, who is the President of WIU's Associated Students of History (ASH), was mentored on this project by Dr. Jennifer McNabb.

The final 2009 Norman & Carmelita Teeter Research Grant winner, also the recipient of a History Department Undergraduate Research Award, is Dan Mieszala, a junior History major from Lockport. Mr. Mieszala's grants will support the presentation of his research paper, "Policies Toward Catholics in Early Elizabethan England: 1558-1587," at the Purdue University Undergraduate Research Conference in April. The selection committee noted that he "provided a well-written proposal in every respect." They also observed that he and his faculty mentor "did an excellent job in explaining the context of his research and how the conference travel would provide an important benefit to the student and his research efforts." Mr. Mieszala, who is the Vice President of ASH, was mentored on this project by Dr. Jennifer McNabb.

The five History majors who have been awarded CAS Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Grants this Spring were all commended by the selection committee for their "commitment to scholarly work." Four of the five received the funding to help support the presentation of their original research papers at the Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society) Regional Conference in Wheaton, Illinois, in March.

Adam Bednar, a History Teacher Certification senior from LaGrange Park, won a Spring 2009 CAS Undergraduate Research Grant and a History Department Undergraduate Research Award to support his Phi Alpha Theta conference presentation, "A Lack of Substance: The Federal Government's Response to Nuclear War (1957-1968)." Mr. Bednar, Co-Editor of Phi Alpha Theta's on-line journal of WIU students' historical scholarship, the Western Illinois Historical Review, was mentored by Dr. Peter Cole, Associate Professor of History.

Amy Kallenbach, a senior History Teacher Certification major from Mt. Sterling, won a CAS Undergraduate Research Grant for Spring 2009 and a Department of History Undergraduate Research Award to support her presentation, "Western Illinois University: The Challenges of World War II." Ms. Kallenbach, President of WIU's Phi Alpha Theta chapter, was mentored on this project by Dr. Ginny Boynton, Professor of History.

Graduating senior Abby Lagemann won a second pair of grants -- a Spring 2009 CAS Undergraduate Research Grant and another Department of History Undergraduate Research Award -- to support her conference presentation, "'To the Annoyance of the Commonwealth': Vagrancy in Early Modern England, 1558-1635." This project was mentored by Dr. Jennifer McNabb.

Brandon Scheppers, a junior History Teacher Certification major from Mendota, won a Spring 2009 CAS Undergraduate Research Grant and a Department of History Undergraduate Research Award to support his presentation on "Indian Fighting and Its Role in Andrew Jackson's and William Henry Harrison's Presidential Election." Mr. Scheppers was mentored on this project by Dr. Timothy Roberts, Assistant Professor of History.

Jillien Zudell, a senior History major from Elyria, Ohio, won a Spring 2009 CAS Undergraduate Research Grant and a Department of History Undergraduate Research Award to support her research on "Reagan and Gorbachev: Thawing the Cold War." Ms. Zudell was mentored on this project by Dr. Scott Palmer, Associate Professor of History.

(See related article in blue box to the upper right.)

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