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McMurry History majors took top honors at the Northeast Texas Regional Phi Alpha Theta History Conference hosted by Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas on April 5. Phi Alpha Theta is the national history honor society.

Ashley Mayer, McMurry’s Sigma Beta chapter president, not only led her members to the symposium but presented an admirable paper herself. History majors Ashley Dandridge, Katie Hinton, Cameron Shields, and Brandi Smith represented the chapter and university. Stephen L. Hardin, professor of history and chapter advisor, also attended the conference.

Katie Hinton brought home first-place honors in the undergraduate category for her paper, “Time in Stitches: Quilting in Northwestern Texas.” In March, the Texas State Historical Association awarded Miss Hinton its prestigious C. M. Caldwell Memorial Award for Excellence in History for the same paper. Cameron Shields secured a second-place award in the same division for his evocative presentation, “Deep Ellum: Deep Texas Blues,” which examined the roots of Texas blues. Session chairman, Dr. Everett Kindig of Midwestern State University, applauded Mr. Shields for his lusty rendition of the paper’s musical passages. Students produced these papers as part of the McMurry History Department’s award-winning research and writing program taught by Hardin and Dr. Robert Maberry.

The organizers of this year’s symposium specifically requested that members of McMurry’s Sigma Beta Chapter host the 2015 Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference—a request they eagerly accepted. McMurry History majors have already begun the year-long preparations for what they pledge will be a landmark event on their campus.