In September, 2017, the Tau Sigma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta received word that it had won its 22nd consecutive (23rd overall) Best Chapter Award for Division I, universities with 3000 or fewer students, for the 2016-2017 academic year. The chapter not only receives national honors, but students have a number of opportunities to gain experiences and broaden their educations.
Among the many activities of the 2016-2017 year, the chapter hosted a representative of Regent University Law School for an informative session on applying to law school and succeeding once in law school. Nine members of the chapter attended the Oklahoma Regional Conference, and four students presented papers. Rose Schaefer placed first and Brandon Kiefer, third, in the Non-American, Undergraduate category. The chapter helped co-host the Oklahoma District 2 National History Day competition on campus on March 30 for 350 students and their teachers; Tau Sigma members provided directions and set-up help to students competing in the exhibit category, supplied the judges with their packets, staffed the registration/information table, processed exhibit ballots and generated run-off ballots in exhibit categories, and assisted at the awards assembly. Service projects of the chapter included tutoring students in Turning Points in American History and serving as ushers/ticket-takers at the History Speaks event in February. In May and June, editor Rose Schaefer created volume 25 of the Journal of Historical Studies, comprised of 7 articles, 3 book reviews, 1 movie review, all by OC undergraduates. The print version of this volume of the journal was awarded second place in the Gerald D. Nash History Journal Award competition, while the online version won Honorable Mention.
These achievements and others depended on the involvement of the members of the Tau Sigma chapter. Officers elected in the fall included Sheldon Yeakley, President in the fall, and Christopher Parker, President in the spring; Rose Schaefer, Vice-President; Luke Swanson, Secretary; Sydney Walcher, Treasurer; and Cody Milner, Historian. Members included Josh Gage, Brandon Loe, Priscilla Marquez Cisneros and Hailie Ridley, Emily Hollaway, Joel Jackson, and Brandon Kiefer, Morgan DeLong, Caleb Dethloff, Ashley Holland, and Seth Michael.
From the Officers:
For me, Phi Alpha Theta has provided an excellent platform to grow as a person and an aspiring scholar. Involvement with the regional and national conferences brought many challenges and opportunities to network and learn from some of the leading scholars in the different fields of historical research. Furthermore, the Oklahoma Christian chapter of Phi Alpha Theta has allowed me a chance to continue to develop skills beyond academics, such as learning how to work in a team. This has also deepened my relationships with my professors and classmates. The challenges and opportunities associated with Phi Alpha Theta have definitely rounded out the experience of majoring in History at Oklahoma Christian University.
--Benjamin Hartman, History/Pre-Law Major and Vice President of Tau Sigma Chapter, 2015-2016, now attending University of Texas-Austin Law School
When first I joined Phi Alpha Theta, I thought it merely a typical subject-oriented honors society. Prestigious, yes, but of no real world value. I was quickly proven wrong. Phi Alpha Theta is so much more than that; it is an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom, to cultivate friendships with likeminded peers, and to develop skills useful in all aspects of life. Whether touring the inner workings of a museum, presenting a paper at a regional or national conference, or tutoring a group of students on the glories of the past, Phi Alpha Theta provides the experience needed to truly excel in the field of history, both at the college level and in the workforce. It is an essential part of my undergraduate career.
--Collin Schnakenberg, History B.A. Major and President of Tau Sigma Chapter, 2015-2016, now attending Georgetown University for a M.A. in History