From left: Travis Drescher

History students present at forum

Bethany Lutheran College Associate Professor of History Dr. Ryan MacPherson together with Dr. Jonathan Den Hartog (University of Northwestern, St. Paul), and Dr. Christopher Gehrz (Bethel University) recently collaborated to create an academic forum for undergraduate students majoring in history. The three envisioned a forum where students could practice their craft like professionals, but among their peers. That vision came to fruition on March 29, 2014, when history majors from Bethany Lutheran College, Bethel University, and the University of Northwestern-St. Paul met on the campus of the latter to present papers at the first meeting of the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium.

The students were accompanied and cheered on by Professor of History Dr. John Boubel and Assistant Professor of History Dr. Timothy Schmeling. Bethany Senior Diana Marzinske presented a paper on “Napoleon and Latin American Independence.” Junior Travis Drescher provided the group with study on “Florence Nightingale and the Rise of the Modern Nursing Movement.” Senior Christina Haselerhansen presented her research on “Arts and Its Reflection of Culture during the American Revolution.”

The symposium closed with a plenary session on “Christian Historians and their Vocations.” Schmeling, along with professors from Northwestern and Bethel, served on the panel exploring this topic.  They explained how they came to discern their vocation as historians, discussed the tension between historian as vocation and as professional, reflected about the Christian historian’s duty to the academy and the church, and finally provided some advice to students contemplating graduate school. Faculty and student feedback so far suggests that this symposium will continue and perhaps expand.