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History Honor Society students present at National Conference

Prof McGreevey with Phi Alpha Theta Students at Conference 2014 IMG_3444

Pictured from left to right:
Sarah Cassim, Shannon Kane, Joana Arruda, Christina DiBartolo, Dr. Robert McGreevey

Four student members of TCNJ’s Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society recently presented original research at the society’s national conference in New Mexico.

The students organized their own individual projects and show-cased them in January 2014 after receiving local and national recognition for their work. Their topics ranged from the veiling practices of Pakistani women to a prevalent feminist anti-war movement that took place in 1990s Yugoslavia.

“Studying history has shown me that it doesn’t have any easy answers,” said senior presenter Joana Arruda, “which makes it even more important to study and engage everyone in important conversations about the past.”

Clearly moved by the value of history, Arruda as well as her co-presenters have something important to teach about its study.

“Professionally, I am looking to become a museum curator, and I hope to make history as inclusive and accessible as possible to the general public,” said Arruda.

The students attributed much of their success not only to academic achievements but to personal and professional ambition. Cassim and DiBartolo explained how their plans for graduate school are rooted in their HSS history experiences.

“Studying history has prepared me for the vigorous pace of graduate school, particularly in regards to conducting research and learning to write well,” said DiBartolo, who plans a graduate a career in conflict resolution. Cassim hopes for a Ph.D in South Asian Studies, an extension of her research at TCNJ.

“Be passionate about what you study,” said Cassim. What is most striking about these four students is how they have been able to convene on similar passions about history, albeit on different topics.

“Find people who are passionate about the same things you are and work together to think about a problem or create something,” said Arruda.


The topics they presented were as follows:

Sarah Cassim, senior, presented “Purdah and Negotiating Space: Gender Discourse on Pakistani Women” on how Pakistani women reconcile with the limitations of institutional patriarchy through their veiling practices.

Joana Arruda, senior, presented her senior honors thesis about evidence which contested the white-centric campaign which the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) used to recruit women during the Vietnam War.

Christina DiBartolo, senior, discussed The Women in Black of Belgrade, a feminist anti-war organization hat protested the wars and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Shannon Kane, senior, examined women’s social agency in mid-19th century Xinjiang province (north western China).


Co-advisors of the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society are Dr. Robert McGreevey and Dr. Cynthia Paces.