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 hi story paper in the nation.
Phi Alpha Theta, the n
ational 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 “T
he 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 his tory.
“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.