2013 alumna awarded for best undergrad history paper nationwide

Patricia Dawson
Patricia Dawson, then-senior history major, presents April 30 during the 10th annual Scholarship Symposium on "The Weapon of Dress: Identity, Acculturation and the Transition of Cherokee Clothing, 1794-1838." Dawson has since then received the Phi Alpha Theta Lynn W. Turner Award for her paper. | Photo by Jacob Moore
Patricia Dawson
Patricia Dawson, then-senior history major, presents April 30 during the 10th annual Scholarship Symposium on “The Weapon of Dress: Identity, Acculturation and the Transition of Cherokee Clothing, 1794-1838.” Dawson has since then received the Phi Alpha Theta Lynn W. Turner Award for her paper. | Photo by Jacob Moore

Patricia Dawson, a recent graduate of the class of 2013, has received the Phi Alpha Theta Lynn W. Turner Award for producing the best undergraduate history paper in the nation.

Phi Alpha Theta, the national History Honor Society, consists of nearly 900 chapters at colleges and universities in the United States.

According to the organization’s website, the society has more than 350,000 members, with about 9,500 new members joining each year.

Dawson, who is a member, studied history while at Union.

During her senior year, she enrolled in the “Senior Seminar” course under Keith Bates and composed her 25-page research paper, titled “The Weapon of Dress: Identity, Acculturation, and the Transition of Cherokee Clothing, 1794-1838.”

The paper focuses Cherokee clothing, and Dawson said the topic not only because of her Cherokee heritage but also because one of her ancestors was the first Cherokee woman to receive her doctorate in history.

“A couple of years ago, I came upon a graph of Cherokee men that showed the way they dressed,” Dawson said. “It was fascinating to me and sparked an interest in me, so I decided to research it in my Senior Seminar course.”

At the conclusion of the course, history professor Stephen Carls encouraged Dawson to submit her paper to the honor society’s competition.

Dawson polished her paper with minor changes after graduation and found out Sept. 24 that she had won.

“I was pleased with my paper but did not know that it would be that good,” she said.

In addition to the recognition, Dawson received $500.


Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
About Alana Hu 21 Articles
Alana Hu, news editor for the Cardinal & Cream, is a senior public relations major and is vice president of professional development for Union's Public Relations Student Society of America, and a freelance writer for Baptist Corporate Communications in Memphis, Tenn. She is a former intern of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and Make-A-Wish of the MidSouth.