Three history majors present at conference

Posted by
On January 22, 2024

Submitted for the CASE monthly newsletter:

Sean McGinnis, June Brown, and Duncan Alcorn presented papers for a panel titled “The Accidental Gateway, the Battle of St. Louis, and the Impact of Lead Mining: Community Developments in Missouri History” on March 15, 2024, during the 66th Annual Missouri Conference on History and Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference in Columbia, Missouri. Dr. Petra DeWitt (associate professor of history and political science), the chair and moderator of the panel, is an advisor of the Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society for historians. This honor society offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to present papers at yearly regional conferences, present research at the biannual national conference, and compete for paper prizes. One of our Phi Alpha Theta members, Lucas Sochinski, who graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in History in 2020, won the Nels Andrew Cleven Founder’s Paper Prize in 2020.

Photo submitted to S&T.

In addition to pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in History, Sean McGinniss is also preparing for a career in the Air Force as a member of ROTC. His paper, “St. Louis the Accidental ‘Gateway to the West’,” argues that although one would think that location of a fur post at the confluence of two rivers would predestine it to greatness, it was actually the French and Indian War, the Haitian Revolution, and American eagerness to purchase the Louisiana Territory that catapulted St. Louis to a cultural and economic center in the West. Sean McGinnis is also a student Ambassador, a part of Escorts on the Missouri S&T campus, president of the Military Aerospace Society, vice commander of the Blue Sabre Drill and Rifle team, and active in E-Sports and Intramural Sports. Excellent grades have also earned him membership in the Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta.

June Brown is currently student teaching and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Teacher Certification in May 2024. She, too, is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. Her paper, “The American Revolution in the West: Native Americans and the Battle of St. Louis,” argues that Native Americans, including the Winnebago, Sauk, and Fox, decided to fight alongside the British because they disliked Spanish control over trade, sought to secure their own self-interests, and expand their cultural as well as political reach. This paper was part of a class project in Dr. Justin Pope’s (assistant professor of history and political science) “Revolutionary America, 1754-1789” course where Missouri S&T students conducted original research on topics related to the American Revolution that resulted in the publication of Sorrow Fills my Hear: Studies of the Western Theater of the American Revolution, 1775-1783 (Missouri S&T, 2023).

Duncan Alcorn, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, has been a longtime supporter of Missouri S&T’s chapter of Engineers without Borders as their Public Relations Officer. He is currently serving as the 2024 legislative intern for the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, representing the S&T sector at the Missouri Capitol. Duncan Alcorn’s essay, “The Lasting Effects of the Lead Industry on Rural South-East Missouri,” argues that although the New lead belt in the Viburnum area has somewhat fewer contamination rates than existed in the Old lead belt in St. Francois County, no serious efforts were undertaken to protect communities and the environment despite lessons learned during the previous history of lead extraction.

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On January 22, 2024.

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