Presenting history

This Saturday, the Wilfrid Laurier University History Students’ Association (WLUHSA) hosted its second annual Tri-University History Undergraduate Paper Conference in the Bricker Academic Building.

Through seven undergraduate history panels, the conference presented 24 academic papers showcasing the talent of undergraduate students enrolled in history programs.

The conference had delegates from Laurier and the University of Guelph and featured panel moderators from Laurier, Guelph and the University of Waterloo.

Students who presented their papers received recommendations from their professors to submit them to the conference.

“I wrote an essay for class and my professor suggested I submit it for the conference,” said third-year history major Jeffrey Couse.

Others responded to e-mail queries made by WLUHSA to submit paper proposals.
“The HSA sent out e-mails asking for paper proposals to be submitted to them,” said Laurier student Jodi Mandarino.

Presenters submitted their proposals and their full-length essays for consideration. Presentations were followed by questions from the moderator panel and the audience.

When asked what some of the difficulties of presenting papers to an audience were, Couse noted that one of the main difficulties was responding to some tough questions.

“I felt my paper was not grouped into a similar category with the others, and I also got grilled with questions,” Couse said.

Other participants said that the difficulties they faced were having to cut some parts of their essays out of their presentation, since they only had a limit of 20 minutes to present their papers. Another challenge faced by authors was the difficulty in finding adequate sources.

“We’re very close to our work and we don’t like to cut anything out,” Mandarino said. “Finding sources that said what we needed was very difficult.”

The conference ended with a keynote address delivered by Joyce Lorimer, current chair of the Laurier history department, speaking on a paper she had written about Sir Walter Raleigh’s exploration the Orinoco river in the 16th century.