Bethel students and faculty at the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium
Bethel History students and professors at the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium

This past Saturday eleven Bethel History students and faculty joined their peers from two other Christian colleges in Riley Hall at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, for the Minnesota Undergraduate History Symposium. Some highlights:

  • Joel Anderson, Gretchen Luhmann, and Annie Berglund presented papers based on their Senior Seminar research — on the history of the CIA, the history of Dayton’s Department Store, and Bethel in the Vietnam era, respectively. Prof. AnneMarie Kooistra chaired Joel and Annie’s panel.
  • In a session on “Communism and Conflict in the 20th Century” that also featured an excellent paper by a Northwestern student on ballroom dancing in the Soviet Union, Fletcher Warren presented his Modern Europe paper on the diplomacy of the Spanish Civil War and Kelly Van Wyk drew on her Cold War research to tell the story of the “Blood in the Water” water polo match at the 1956 Summer Olympics, between the Soviet Union and the country it had invaded days before, Hungary.
  • Prof. Katie Thostenson chaired an eclectic panel featuring students from Northwestern and Bethany Lutheran College, with topics ranging from the Hussite War of the 15th century to the Crimean War in the 19th.
  • To close the symposium, Prof. Chris Gehrz moderated a panel on “Christian Historians and Their Vocations,” with Prof. Amy Poppinga joining Profs. Jonathan Den Hartog (Northwestern) and Tim Schmeling (Bethany) to discuss how they discerned their calling to be historians, how that vocation had changed over time, how historians serve multiple audiences, and whether or not students should go on to graduate study in history.

Thanks to the students and faculty of Northwestern’s History Department for being such gracious hosts. (And to Den Hartog and his colleague Matt Miller for joining us for lunch afterwards. Who says there’s a Snelling Avenue rivalry?) We’ll look forward to doing this again in a year or two!

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