Everything from Nancy Drew to pirates was discussed at this year’s Eighth Annual Southeast Tennessee Regional Student History Conference.
While many students were busy mingling with professionals in Carter Lobby last Tuesday, five upperclassmen history majors gained professional experience presenting history papers.
“They did great,” said Professor of History at Covenant College, Dr. Jay Green. “They got to get a feel for what historians do,” he said.
The students not only got to present, but also got to meet and talk with professionals from four other colleges.
Lee University, University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Southern Adventist University and now Bryan College attended along with Covenant. The conference is a yearly event, held at one of the participating colleges every year, and it only comes to Covenant College every four years.
The conference consisted of 75-minute sessions with a number of sessions presenting at once. Most sessions had a main theme with one whole session devoted to the subject of pirates. One paper in a more mystery-centered session focused on the feminine identity in Nancy Drew.
Mary Roberts, a senior history major, presented in the conference and discussed evangelicalism in czarist Russia. Although she had already presented her topic for her Senior Integration Project (SIP), she values the experience of getting feedback from other teachers and asked questions about her work.
Junior history major Greg Steele, who presented on the political theories of Martin Luther and John Calvin, said that through the conference he learned what it takes to present well. “You have to know what’s going on around your paper,” he said. “As small as it was, it was a great opportunity.”
Because the conference only comes to Covenant every four years, and now possibly every five years since Bryan has joined the group, Green was disappointed more history majors and friends of presenters didn’t come to rally them on.
“We’ve had more non-presenters come to these things in the past,” said Green. He thinks it’s important to acknowledge friends’ hard work on their presentations. He noted that a person might not understand the subject and that it’s okay not to add to the discussion.
However, he also notes that history is not like physics.
“People can follow well enough to ask rudimentary questions,” he said. In five years, he hopes to see more people engaged in the conference and grappling with the issues presented.