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Young Historians Conference

23rd Annual Young Historians Conference 
May 2, 2013

Program and Speakers


    About the Young Historians Conference


    The Young Historians Conference, started by Dr. Karen Hoppes, Challenge Program History instructor at Lakeridge High School, is an annual event co-sponsored by PSU’s Challenge Program and History Department.

    High school students from Challenge History classes submit research papers to a jury selected by the History Department. These papers are scored and up to 40 are accepted to be presented at the Conference, which is held in Spring at PSU.

    Students present their research papers in concurrent sessions organized by theme; sessions are attended by peers, teachers, parents, and other interested guests. Faculty Commentators from the History Department moderate and facilitate discussion following the presentations. A History Faculty member gives a brief address at the lunch, which is held in the SMSU Ballroom.

    The Young Historians Conference is a powerful and authentic experience for young History scholars in our high schools, celebrating their scholarship, and providing a professional forum for dialog and feedback. Our students tell us in our annual surveys that this conference is one of the most significant ways they connect to PSU and to a college experience, while still in high school. 

    Previous Winners of the Karen E. Hoppes Young Historians Award
    for Outstanding Research and Writing


    Lydia Bales, St. Mary's Academy. "A Beacon of Hope in the Darkness: the Danish Resistance

    Following the German invasion of Denmark in 1940, the Danish people presented a unified political and social resistance movement in order to defend those persecuted by the Nazi regime. Although occupied by Germany, Denmark became exempt from many of the extreme policies practiced in most other Nazi-controlled countries. A closer examination of these circumstances reveals how this exemption status, as well as support from the Danish Church, and king allowed for the accomplishment of something seemingly impossible; leading ninety five percent of the Danish Jewish population to safety.


    2012 — 22nd Annual Young Historian's Conference Program 

    Avery Fischer, Lakeridge High School. "Painting the Enemy in Motion: Film From Both Sides of the Pacific War

    How we see our enemy is essential to understating the policies and decisions made during Wartime. How one paints the enemy is the most important part to understanding why certain choices were made. During WWII, America and Japan were enemies – how did they paint each other? And more importantly, how did they show it to their people? This paper focuses on film during WWII, from Japan and America to answer these essential questions.

    Sonja Breda, St. Mary’s Academy. "The Paradox of the Castrato

    Baroque opera cannot be studied without acknowledging the castrated male singers, or castrati, who drew wild critical acclaim throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in Italy. Even the most impoverished Italians were known to forego their daily bread to witness the arias of the castrati. But what made these singers so incredibly popular? This paper argues that the popularity of the castrato in 18th century Italy was due to the castrato’s uniquely paradoxical nature, viewed by the public both as sexual and spiritual. While the prominence of the castrato highlighted a desire for the unusual, the eventual extinction of the castrato reflects a return to naturalism with the end of the Baroque period. 



    See our archive of past winners.