Last month, St. Mary’s Academy senior, Madeleine Adriance, took home 1st place at Portland State University’s 29th Annual Young Historians Conference. SMA had their strongest showing in the 29-year history of the conference with eight SMA presenters overall, three whose work was recognized with top honors. Taking first place for the best overall paper was Madeleine followed by two more blues; Jasmine Yu (3rd place) and Roni Heyman (honorable mention). Other standout SMA presenters included Ann Ramsey, Hannah Mohtadi, Isabelle Freeman, Sky Deitch and Sophie Johnson.
This year, the conference hosted about 200 students from local high schools, including St. Mary’s, who were enrolled in PSU’s History courses through the Challenge Program. At the conference, presenters read aloud their research papers to their peers in panels organized by theme, with a PSU faculty commentator providing feedback and facilitating a Q&A session.
The students who presented their work were chosen from a pool of 53 research papers submitted from surrounding PSU Challenge History students. The process is a highly competitive one given that there is room for only 27 presenters at the conference. Acceptance to the conference involved a jury of graduate students who read, commented on and ranked each paper. PSU History professors Brian Turner and John Ott also provided oversight and guidance to the panel of jurors.
As an added bonus, presenting students will graduate with the publication of their paper via the PDXScholar archive. Since 2010, 140 papers have been downloaded over 161,000 times and used by other researchers across the globe. All of these papers demonstrated advanced level writing and historical research skills, well beyond expectations for high school seniors.
After 29 years, the Young Historians Conference remains a powerful and authentic experience for students of history, celebrating their scholarship and providing a professional forum for dialogue and feedback.
SMA is also excited that Mr. Housley’s PSU US History juniors were also in attendance for the first time! Next year, the SMA History Department is looking forward to having even more representative papers to showcase the talent and skill of our students. Go Blues!