Graduate students from CSU Stanislaus earned top honors at the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society’s Northern California Regional Conference, securing first and third for research papers.
CSU Stanislaus student Samantha M. Williams took the top prize at the conference with a paper entitled “Race, Politics, and Military Filibusters: Southern Attempts at Expansion in Antebellum America.” Those military filibusters were used by Southern U.S. citizens to annex territory from the Caribbean and Central America following the Civil War, and were driven by scientific racism, Williams wrote.
CSU Stanislaus student, Joel Virgen, was awarded third place for his paper, “Responsibility and Identity: Vaclav Havel and Totalitarian Morality.” The paper examines how the Czechoslovakian dissident — and later president — actually hindered the fight against the country’s then-communist regime with his moral attack on totalitarianism.
About 40 students from nine colleges presented papers of original historical research at the conference, which was held at Santa Clara University.
In the past five years, CSU Stanislaus students have won nine of 15 graduate awards presented by Phi Alpha Theta.