PSU Challenge Program Announces Young Historians Conference Winners

PSU Challenge Program Announces Young Historians Conference Winners

On Wednesday April 26, eleven seniors from Mr. Matt Vannelli’s PSU Challenge History class presented at the 33rd Annual Young Historians Conference at Portland State University. The PSU Challenge Program and PSU History Department hosted this exciting event with roughly 200 students, teachers, faculty, and parents in attendance.  


At the conference, students shared their research papers in one of three concurrent sessions organized by theme, followed by a Q&A session moderated by a PSU faculty memberIn total, twenty-four papers were presented by students from SMA and Grant High School. 


During the closing ceremony the top three papers were recognized by PSU Professor Jennifer Kerns and awarded prizes sponsored by the Challenge Program, PSU History Department, and Friends of History.   


This year St. Mary’s took first and third place for best overall papers! First place was awarded to Andy M. '23 for their work entitled: “Odysseus of the Arctic: The Epic of John Franklin and the Search for the Lost Expedition” while third place went to Amelia N. '23 for her paper: “The Contribution of Domestic and International Conflict in Renaissance Italy to the Sport of Fencing”  A second place award went to Poppy Baxter Game from Grant High School for her paper “The History of Vampire Folklore: Fear and Introspection 2000 BCE – 2000 CE”. The complete program and research papers are available for reading on the PSU Challenge Program web page. 


As a bonus, a selection of the papers identified by PSU faculty will be published on the PDXScholar archive. Since 2010, over 200 papers have been downloaded thousands of times and used by other researchers across the globe.  


All these papers show advanced level writing and historical research skills, going well beyond expectations for high school seniors. Please extend a congratulations to all 11 of SMA’s presenters who stepped up to represent the school so well (Terah B., Camilla B., Evelyn C., Mak G., Isabella G., Andy M., Amelia N. Ciara P., Piper R., Ruthie Z., and Sarah Z.)A huge thanks to all the teachers of these young scholars, especially Ms. Joan Nyland '78 and Mr. Donald Housley who helped prepare them as juniors in PSU Challenge US History.  


After 33 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.  


The SMA History Department is looking forward to having another strong showing of young historians participate next year on April 22, 2024. Save the date and go Blues!