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TWU History Honor Society earns third consecutive national Best Chapter Award, will use prize money to purchase history books for Selwyn School


Texas Woman’s University’s Phi Alpha Theta members are shown at the 2014 Northeast Texas Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, which TWU hosted in April. Shown are, from left: Dr. Jacob Blosser, chapter adviser, and members Aubri Thurmond, Jane Flynn, Tamika Roach, Aiesha McFadden, Amanda Roberts and Kaitlyn Waynen.

TWU History Honor Society earns third consecutive national Best Chapter Award,
will use prize money to purchase history books for Selwyn School

DENTON — The Texas Woman’s University chapter of the national history honor society Phi Alpha Theta is one of only 21 chapters in the nation to receive a Best Chapter Award from the national Phi Alpha Theta organization. This is the third consecutive year the chapter has received this distinction from Phi Alpha Theta, which has more than 900 chapters in the U.S.

The TWU group was named a “Best Chapter” in the nation for Division IV, which includes colleges and universities with enrollments of 10,001 to 14,999 students. As part of the award, TWU’s chapter will be featured in an upcoming issue of Phi Alpha Theta’s national publication, The News Letter, and the TWU Department of History and Government will receive $250.

According to Dr. Jacob M. Blosser, TWU associate professor of history and Phi Alpha Theta adviser, the $250 best chapter prize typically is intended to purchase history books for the university library. This year, however, TWU’s chapter has obtained special permission to use the prize money to purchase elementary-level history books for the Selwyn College Preparatory School in Denton. TWU Phi Alpha Theta students also will volunteer time reading to Selwyn students.

“There is nothing more important than putting a book into the hands of a child,” Dr. Blosser said. “TWU’s Phi Alpha Theta Chapter is delighted to use its Best Chapter award to increase the Selwyn School’s already fantastic collection of elementary-age history books.”

This award culminates several years of growth for the TWU chapter. Since 2008, the chapter has sponsored 85 student-presenters at regional and national conferences. At these conferences, the students presented their original research papers and received important feedback on their research. The chapter also publishes an annual peer-reviewed journal Ibid: A Student History Journal. Ibid is overseen by four student editors who cooperate with an editorial board composed of TWU students and faculty members from universities across the United States.

Open to TWU students from any discipline, the journal actively welcomes academic essays on any theme relating to history. Now in its seventh year, Ibid celebrates the close collaboration between faculty and students that is a hallmark of the TWU academic experience. Students and faculty work together on the peer-review process and on all aspects of the publication.

This year, the chapter hosted the Northeast Texas Phi Alpha Theta Regional History Conference, which brought more than 110 students and faculty from five states to the TWU campus. The conference included a plenary address from national Phi Alpha Theta executive director Dr. Graydon Tunstall, a performance of early American shape note singing and paper presentations from more than 70 undergraduate and graduate students.

In addition, the chapter partnered with two local preschools to host a “History Field Day” for 4- and 5-year-olds. In two separate events, more than 50 children read history stories, dressed up in period costumes, made history-themed crafts, participated in a sandbox archeological dig and took a history adventure walk. Each student went home with a certificate of accomplishment, a bag of prizes donated from across the community and a folder of history-themed activities. This service project brought history to life and made the subject fun for small children.

During the school year, the TWU chapter sponsors a popular monthly lunchtime lecture series and a “History vs. Hollywood” film series that draws large crowds from across the university. The chapter also partnered with Denton Girl Scout Troop 4709 to raise more than 1,750 pounds of food for a local food pantry.

“By emphasizing student scholarship and community service, the chapter is continuing its commitment to promoting student excellence in both academia and civic engagement,” Dr. Blosser said.

The TWU Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta has won best chapter awards in 2012 and 2013.

Founded in 1921, Phi Alpha Theta has chapters on more than 900 campuses across the United States. Membership in the society is open to undergraduate and graduate students who meet specific academic criteria. Though members once were exclusively history majors, a majority of new members now come from disciplines across the university. For more information on TWU’s Phi Alpha Theta, visit

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Amanda Simpson
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page updated 5/9/2016 4:58 PM