Senior wins Best Undergraduate Student Paper award


Michelle Critchfield.

Story by Claire Sullivan, Writer

Senior Michelle Critchfield entered a history paper on “Identity and Ethnicity in Late-Medieval Britain” in the 59th Missouri Valley History Conference on March 4-5 in Omaha, Nebraska, and walked away with the Best Undergraduate Student Paper.

Also representing Baker University and presenting their own papers were Associate Professor of Religious Studies Nicolaus Pumphrey, Associate Professor of History John Richards, senior Anna Hobbs, senior Sam Kendrick and senior Collin Studer.

“For a student’s point of view, it’s a great way for people to practice giving papers and maybe prep them for grad school and get to meet other professors and scholars,” Pumphrey said.

The purpose of the conference is to enable both the students and faculty in the region to gather and talk about history. It is also a place where professors and students alike present papers on new information that they have learned.

Pumphrey attended the conference because he had never presented at a history conference before. He also wanted to be supportive of the Baker students.

Students and professors have to submit their paper to a committee, which then decides what papers will be presented at the conference.

The authors of the chosen papers are then notified that they can present at the conference. The conference itself is based off of the paper topics.

Critchfield had to submit an abstract for her paper last semester, and then she had to write a paper that was at least 10 pages long. She also had to have sponsorship from a faculty member. Richards nominated all four Baker students.

She did not know that her paper comparing the identities of England, Scotland and Wales was going to win at the conference.

Critchfield said that she was definitely excited about the award and did not expect it.

Richards said he was thrilled when Critchfield’s paper did so well.

“I was very pleased and excited,” Richards said. “It’s an excellent paper.”

Humphrey was more than excited about Critchfield’s success.

“I thought it was amazing,” he said. “She had a really really good paper, so it was well deserved. I was extremely happy to find out.”