JACKSON, Tenn. – Jan. 18, 2012 – Seven Union University history students presented papers at the biennial Phi Alpha Theta convention Jan. 3-7 in Orlando, Fla., a meeting where Union’s chapter adviser Stephen Carls was elected the national vice president.
Phi Alpha Theta is a history honor society, and the convention drew more than 450 attendees from across the country. Union students who presented papers were Rebekah Anderson, David Conway, Savannah German, Elaura Highfield, Mary Ellen Poe, Caraline Rickard and Caitlin Roach.
“They all did magnificent jobs,” Carls said of the Union students’ presentations. “The Phi Alpha Theta convention gives them national exposure and allows them to see what happens at a national history conference. They get to meet faculty and students from other schools, and it gives our students a chance to see what students at other colleges and universities are doing.”
Carls, university professor of history, was unanimously elected vice president of the national Phi Alpha Theta organization during the meeting. The vice president serves as the group’s president-elect, meaning Carls will take over as president after the 2014 session and serve in that leadership role during the 2016 convention.
“I believe that my election partly reflects Union’s national standing as a high quality academic institution,” Carls said. “My election will also give me an opportunity to work at the national level for an honor society that promotes excellence in history and that provides all kinds of wonderful opportunities for students in the discipline.”
Carls, who has been a member of Phi Alpha Theta since 1970, said he is looking forward to giving something back to the organization “for all the good things it has provided me over the years.”
Union’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter has won nine straight Best Chapter awards from the national organization, earning $2,250 that was used to purchase history books for the Union library.
In addition to Carls, Union history professors Keith Bates, Judy LeForge and David Thomas served as faculty panel chairs or commentators at the Orlando convention.