In September, 2017, the Tau Sigma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta received word that it had won its 22nd consecutive (23rdoverall) Best Chapter Award for Division I, universities with 3000 or fewer students, for the 2016-2017 academic year. Notification of any awards for the 2017-2018 year will be received in the fall of 0f 2018. The chapter not only receives national honors, but students have a number of opportunities to gain experiences and broaden their educations.
Among the many activities of the 2017-2018 year, the chapter hosted a representative of Kansas University Law School for an informative session on applying to law school and succeeding once in law school. Five Tau Sigma members read papers at the National Phi Alpha Theta Conference in New Orleans in January; they also visited the National World War II Museum and several others. Nine members of the chapter attended the Oklahoma Regional Conference in March, and five presented papers, including one who presented two papers.Turner Smith tied for first place in the Undergraduate American category and Cody Milner won third in the Undergraduate World category, the third year in a row for Tau Sigma members to win 2 of the 6 places in the undergraduate categories.
The chapter helped co-host the Oklahoma District 2 National History Day competition on campus on April 5 for 350 students and their teachers; Tau Sigma members provided directions and set-up help to students competing in the exhibit category, supplied the judges with their packets, staffed the registration/information table, processed exhibit ballots and generated run-off ballots in exhibit categories, and assisted at the awards assembly. Service projects of the chapter included tutoring students in Turning Points in American History and serving as ushers/ticket-takers at the History Speaks event in February. In May and June, editor Laine Weatherford created volume 26 of the Journal of Historical Studies, comprised of 7 articles, 3 book reviews, a movie review, and a historiographic essay, all by OC undergraduates. The print version of volume 25 of the journal was awarded second place in the Gerald D. Nash History Journal Award competition, while the online version won Honorable Mention.
These achievements and others depended on the involvement of the members of the Tau Sigma chapter. Officers elected in the fall included Cody Milner, President, Brandon Kiefer, Vice President, Turner Smith, Secretary, and Sydney Walcher, Treasurer (fall term) replaced by Haylie Yeats in the spring term. Members included Caleb Dethloff, Joel Jackson and Hailie Ridley. Inducted during the year were Hailey Bates, Elizabeth Freeman, Justin McLeckie, Molly Shafer, Turner Smith, Laine Weatherford, Lauren Anderson, and Briana Vu.
From the Officers:
Phi Alpha Theta has provided me with a plethora of amazing skills and experiences. From allowing me to travel and explore different parts of the country to helping me learn to sharpen my research and writing skills, Phi Alpha Theta has profoundly shaped my college experience. While the History Department at Oklahoma Christian has instilled the ethic and skills of scholarship within me, the Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society has allowed me to take these to the next level. The experiences of presenting at regional and national conferences are second to none, and I am so thankful for Phi Alpha Theta.
--Brandon Kiefer, Social Studies Education Major and Vice President of Tau Sigma Chapter, 2017-2018
Phi Alpha Theta is more than an honors organization that provides resume lines or awards. It’s a catalyst, a way to step beyond the classroom and utilize the skills learned at the university in scholarship and research that propels you in the next step of your career, whether that be graduate school or into the workforce. Oklahoma Christian’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta is nationally recognized (thanks to the incredible work of our outstanding professors) and through the prestige of this platform, students are presented with a stepping stone to present and publish research, network with brilliant minds from all over the nation, and compile the skills and contacts to succeed after graduation.
Cody Milner, History B.A. and Political Science, B.S. Double Major and President of Tau Sigma Chapter, 2017-2018, will be attending the Scalia Law School at George Mason University in the fall of 2018.