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Published on November 23, 2019

History Students Present at Phi Alpha Theta Conference

Left to right: Professor Thomas Balcerski, Theresa Johnson, Kyle McCarthy, Maggie Sanderson and Katelynn Scalia.

Four Eastern Connecticut State University History majors presented their projects at the history honor society’s Phi Alpha Theta New England regional conference on Nov. 23. The Phi Alpha Theta conference highlighted research on topics ranging from gender and power to colonial and imperial legacies, and was held at Salem State University in Salem, MA.

Eastern’s History Department offers “HIS 311: U.S. Presidents and First Ladies,” which focuses on the origins and developments of the American presidency and the position of First Lady from the 18th century to present day. Each student presenter based their projects on the panel of “First Ladies of the United States,” and focused on historical figures such as 19th-century First Ladies Dolley Madison and Sarah Polk.

Advised by Assistant Professor Thomas Balcerski, the students worked all semester gathering information for their topics in preparation for their oral presentations. “They represented Eastern with professionalism and intelligence,” said Balcerski, when asked about his honor students. The students’ projects were “Dolley Madison: The Queen of Hearts,” “Sarah Polk: Membress of Congress,” “The Other Eleanor: Rosalynn Carter, An Overlooked First Lady” and “Barbara Bush: Matriarch & Grandma.”

Theresa Johnson presenting on Barbara Bush.

Katelynn Scalia presenting on Rosalynn Carter.

Maggie Sanderson presenting on Sarah Polk.

Kyle McCarthy presenting on Dolley Madison.

Phi Alpha Theta is the national honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history. The society has more than 350,000 members with approximately 9,500 new members joining each year. The qualifications include an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher, at least 12 History credits completed at Eastern and junior or senior status.

Written by Bobbi Brown