Megan O’Hern, a history major at St. Mary’s College, won first prize at the 2013 Phi Alpha Theta Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, which was held at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV, on March 23. Her award-winning paper is titled “The Devil Didn’t Make You Do It: The Puritan Clerical Discourse on Satan in Seventeenth-Century New England.”
O’Hern’s paper was based on her St. Mary’s Project, for which she was mentored by Professor Kenneth Cohen. “The experience of the conference was incredibly validating,” said O’Hern. “It made all of the months I spent on my SMP worthwhile. I’m incredibly indebted to my SMP adviser Dr. Kenneth Cohen, especially for insisting that I engage with historical theory for my research, and to Dr. Linda Hall for all of her encouragement and help during the submission process.”
Three other St. Mary’s College students also presented papers at the conference. Chelsea Bradcovich, mentored by Professor Linda Hall presented the paper, “Justifications of the Fourth Crusade: A Venetian Vendetta, A Byzantine Plan, or Boniface’s Revenge?” Samantha Cameron, mentored by Professor Adrianna Brodsky, presented, “Symbolic Victories: Hannah Szenes’ Battle Against the British Mandate and the Third Reich.” Gabriel Young, also mentored by Brodsky, presented his paper, “Young Blood: The Appropriation of Youth in Early Zionism.” The students were accompanied to the conference by Professor Linda Hall, sponsor of the local chapter of Phi Alpha Theta.
The conference hosted ten colleges and universities from Maryland, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. It is held annually by Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.