Three UAB history students each win ‘Best in Panel’ for research papers at 2023 Phi Alpha Theta Alabama Regional Conference

UAB history students in Phi Alpha Theta attended the 2023 conference, where three students won session paper prizes for best papers in their panel.

Stream Phi Alpha ThetaFrom left to right: Devin Hudson, Jacob Kennedy, and Haley WellsThree students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of History were awarded a session paper prize for best papers in their panel at the 2023 Alabama Regional Conference of Phi Alpha Theta.

The conference seeks to provide both undergraduate and graduate history students with the opportunity to present historical and periodical research in a professional and developed environment.

Haley Wells, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is majoring in history and english with a concentration in literature. Wells, a junior and member of the UAB Honors College, is currently working on her master’s degree in history through UAB’s accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s program. Wells’ paper examined antisemitism in medieval literature and focused on the works of Bede, Gerald of Wales, Chretien de Troyes, and an Anglo-Norman blood libel ballad.

“I explored how medieval people viewed Jewish individuals and how those views often shaped religious, political and economic developments,” Wells said. “Overall, it was a privilege to represent UAB at the conference, and I deeply enjoyed the experience.”

Wells felt winning best paper in her session is not only an honor, but a testament to the invaluable learning opportunities and connections that come with being a member of the UAB community. “UAB provided the unique experience to learn from several experts on Jewish history and antisemitism, and the paper that came out of it was a result of being in that incredibly unique and dynamic learning environment.”

Jacob Kennedy, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is a history graduate student who has been a member of Phi Alpha Theta for two years. “Winning best paper in the Gender and Sexuality panel was such an honor,” Kennedy said. “It felt great to represent my university, and I am looking forward to future conferences.”

To learn more about the department of history, click here.

Kennedy’s paper focused on the loss of power experienced by indigenous women due to European colonization. “My paper focused on these women being discredited and then forced out of positions of power due to economic and cultural factors forced onto them by the European colonists,” Kennedy said.

Devin Hudson, former president of the UAB chapter of Phi Alpha Theta said, “I am so happy to have won this award because it assures me that I can achieve my goal of becoming a college professor. It’s confirmation that I have that potential inside of me.”

The Birmingham native graduated from UAB in December of 2022 with a degree in history. His paper analyzed instances of controversy in entertainment, specifically with Black artists. “I am grateful for the faculty and staff at UAB who want to see students succeed. For example, Dr. Watson and Melanie Daily kept me informed of opportunities even while not being enrolled at UAB,” Hudson said. “Dr. Baer and Dr. Farley assisted tremendously with my paper with their knowledge, guidance and direction.” Hudson is looking forward to attending UAB for graduate school.

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional history honor society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research and exchange of learning through the unity of students and teachers and the deployment of intellectual and social exchange.