History Department Paper Prize — Submissions Now Open

The History Department invites you to submit outstanding paper/s for the annual writing awards (which look impressive on your resume and include a certificate and a check).   Award winners will be announced at the annual history alumni/ae and awards dinner on Saturday April 21st at the InterFaith Center.

Please submit your paper to the History Department office by Friday April 6th. Submit a clean copy, i.e., one without the professor’s comments and grades.  There will be a cover sheet in the department office which you will attach to your submission (also available here).  You may make minor corrections, such as fixing any spelling or grammatical errors in the original assignment.  Feel free to consult with the professor for whom you wrote the paper!

The paper should come from a course you took during the 2017 calendar year.  The categories are listed below.

Additionally, the department gives an award for the best senior essay.   Papers for this award come from the current academic year, 2017/2018  If you are currently writing a paper for HIST 491, HIST 493, or HIST 496, the Awards committee will consider a credible first draft.

Good luck!

Best first year Paper Prize:  This prize honors the best paper written for an introductory class by a first year student. 

Val Rabe Prize for Best 300-Level Research Paper:  All upper level History electives at Geneseo require the production of a major work of research, usually in the form of a 15-20 page research paper.  This prize honors the best of this work and is named in honor of Professor Val Rabe.  A member of the History faculty from 1967-1997, Professor Rabe taught courses in American history and was extraordinarily active in service to the college and the wider community. Professor Rabe passed away in 2008 and this award is intended to commemorate his career of high quality teaching and community service.

Bill Derby Award for Best HIST 302 Paper:  History 302 is one of the core courses in the History curriculum at Geneseo.  It focuses on developing research skills and the evaluation of primary source evidence, two of the most important skills in our discipline.  All students in HIST 302 prepare a major research project and the best of this work is honored with this prize, which is also named in honor of former professor of History Bill Derby.

Best Analytical Paper:  HIST 301 is the other core course in the History major at Geneseo.  In this seminar course, students practice the skills of critical reading and historiography.  This is one of the more difficult concepts in our discipline, as it forces us to confront the fact that the practice of history (contrary to much popular opinion), is not about memorizing facts and dates, but rather is about interpretation. This award honors the best analytical paper from the HIST 301 seminar.

Jennifer Wachunas Prize for Best Paper in Women’s History:  Jennifer Wachunas was a talented Geneseo History major who had achieved outstanding academic success and a very active commitment to community service.  After her death in a car accident shortly after her graduation from Geneseo in 1996, her friends and family established this prize to honor outstanding work in the history of women and gender, a field that Jennifer excelled in at the college.

Best Senior Experience Paper:  All History majors at Geneseo complete a senior capstone project, a major work of independent research that demonstrates mastery of the core skills in our discipline.  Many students complete this work through a one semester seminar course, but students with a record of academic excellence are invited to pursue a two semester directed study project through the HIST 393 honors thesis option.  This award recognizes the best of senior capstone work completed by History majors.

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