Five members of the University of Hawaii at Hilo chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (The National History Honor Society) participated in the organization’s 26th annual regional conference held earlier this month at UH Manoa and walked away with multiple honors, including two “Best Paper” awards.
Robert Franklin, Laakea Yoshida, Amanda Johnson, Bruce Chun and Shohei Sato of UH Hilo’s Alpha Beta Omicron joined 25 other graduate and undergraduate students who submitted papers and/or made presentations at the prestigious gathering.
Yoshida’s work entitled “Bloodline Accession and Gifted Power: Nero Claudius Drusus and the Struggle to Define Heirship in Rome During the Reign of Tiberius,” captured the award for “Best Undergraduate Paper.”
Franklin, meanwhile, earned Honorable Mention in the same category for his entry, “Warm Brothers in the Boomtowns of Hell: The Persecution of Homosexuals in Nazi Germany.”
Chun won Best Paper in the History of Science and/or Discovery for “Pioneering Trails into a New Frontier: The Pioneer 10 and 11 Missions to Jupiter and Japan.”
Johnson received Honorable Mention for “Best Paper in Hawaiian or Pacific History” for her work, “Pre-contact Hawaiian and Tongan Women: The Exceptions.”
“All of our students made outstanding presentations and represented their University extremely well,” said Dr. Kerri Inglis, assistant history professor and Alpha Beta Omicron advisor. “The judges, including our own Dr. Vera Parham, were impressed with the consistent quality of work coming out of UH Hilo and what that says about our History majors, minors and department.”
The papers students took to the conference were the result of research done for their various upper-division courses. Inglis said UH Hilo’s participation in this year’s conference was especially rewarding because the student team represented all five core areas in the history major (European, U.S., Asian, Pacific and Hawaiian history).
“The students rigorously read and revised each others’ papers in preparation for the conference competition and all of their hard work clearly paid off,” Inglis said. “We have brought home at least one prize in each of the last five years, but to have four out of five papers recognized for their outstanding work at this regional makes it a banner year!”
Yoshida’s award came on the heels of the announcement that he has been accepted by Oxford University in the United Kingdom (UK) to pursue his graduate studies in Greek and Roman History. Associate History Professor Dr. Michael Bitter said Yoshida’s achievement is historical in itself.
“We have never sent one of our History students from UH Hilo to Oxford for graduate work, so we are very proud and excited for Laakea,” Bitter said. “He is a wonderful example for our other History majors who will no doubt be inspired by his accomplishment.”