History students present research at symposium

March 12, 2015
Cody Grabhorn
Trevor Bohn
Samantha Teske
Dr. Eugene Tesdahl
Dr. Paula Nelson

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Three University of Wisconsin-Platteville history students recently presented their research to students, faculty and community members at the History Student Research Symposium in UW-Platteville’s Markee Pioneer Student Center. The student research symposium, sponsored by the department of history and History Club at UW-Platteville, was designed to promote student research and encourage others to investigate history.

Cody Grabhorn, a senior history and political science major from Brownsville, Minn., presented research he completed about the Seven Years’ War (1754-63). He discussed how changes induced by the environment and cultures of the North American continent led to a clash between the colonial Americans and British regular soldiers as well as other topics.

“This research gave me the opportunity to pour my effort into a subject and hone my skills of critical thinking and analytical writing,” said Grabhorn. “With these skills, I have a better understanding of how to find a subject’s relevance and importance in today’s society and how to pass on that understanding to others. It is important that other history students explore and investigate history so they not only can find the subject they enjoy, but they also can have a broader understanding of humanity and the diverse world we live in.”

Grabhorn has been accepted to a master’s program in the department of history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. He also has been offered a graduate teaching assistant position at VCU and will be assigned to assist with undergraduate history courses. He will begin the position in August 2015.

Trevor Bohn, a junior history major from Waukesha, Wis., presented research he completed about the Black Hawk War, a conflict that occurred in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans in northern Illinois and what is now southern Wisconsin. Bohn researched the effect the war had on Platteville as well as on the Native Americans in the area at that time.

“Presenting my research gave me an opportunity to further develop my portfolio and gain experience presenting in front of an audience,” said Bohn, who hopes to become a history teacher. “Many people listen to what others tell them is historically important, but it is important to investigate for yourself.”

Bohn’s research, which began with a paper he wrote for an Introduction to History course, will be included in the “Platteville at War” exhibit at Rollo Jamison Museum in Platteville, opening in April. The exhibit forms the core of an independent study course he is taking this semester, working closely with Dr. Eugene Tesdahl, assistant professor of history at UW-Platteville, and Stephanie Saager-Bourrett, curator of the Rollo Jamison Museum.

Samantha Teske, a senior history major from Janesville, Wis., presented research highlighting the lives of two Civil War soldiers from Grant County who served in the American Civil War from 1864-65. She completed the research while serving as an archive assistant intern in UW-Platteville’s Southwest Wisconsin Room in Ullsvik Hall in fall 2014. Her presentation exhibit is currently on display in the Southwest Wisconsin Room.

“We are surrounded by history every single day; the places we walk, the places we visit, the state that we call home, even the houses we live in – they all have a story,” said Teske. “Even though the soldiers have long since passed on, the community can learn so much about what life was like during that time period. Spreading local history is more than just learning about it; it is about taking in lessons that we can, hopefully, learn from and pass down for many generations to come.”

Teske will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in history and then hopes to enter graduate school to further pursue a degree in public history and museum studies with an emphasis in American history. In the future, she would like to work as a curator or director of a museum.

Tesdahl and Dr. Paula Nelson, professor emeritus, department of history at UW-Platteville, introduced the student papers and invited discussion about research and writing about early America.

We are surrounded by history every single day; the places we walk, the places we visit, the state that we call home, even the houses we live in – they all have a story. 
                               –Samantha Teske

“This symposium embodies UW-Platteville’s mission ‘to empower each student to become broader in perspective, intellectually more astute, ethically more responsible, and to contribute wisely as an accomplished professional and knowledgeable citizen in a diverse global community,’” Tesdahl said. “Student members of our history club organized this event to welcome the community into a conversation about history.”

In addition to Grabhorn, Bohn and Teske, Tyler D. Sass, a senior history major from Jackson, Wis., and Kyle Hinze, a senior social science major from Reedsburg, Wis., all members of the History Club’s executive board, were instrumental in organizing the event.

The History Club is open to all who want a chance to explore the way history, local and foreign, shape societies in order to gain a deeper respect for the past. Its members enjoy studying people and events and wish to share their knowledge with the university community. The club currently has 14 members.

On April 11, History Club members will take a trip to Galena, Ill., with Tracey Roberts, senior lecturer of history at UW-Platteville, to tour the area and learn about its history.

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The History Student Research Symposium aligns with three of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education, fostering a community of achievement and respect and enriching the tri-state region. 

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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UW-Platteville Students Present at Student Research History Symposium

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