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Young Historians Conference

2016 First place winner Sam Levin from Lakeridge High School with his instructor and Young Historians Founder, Dr. Karen Hoppes

2016 winners: left to right: Rachel McKinnon (Clackamas High School, 3rd place), Emma Komers Riverdale High School, 3rd place), Lena Breda (St. Mary's Academy, 2nd place), Sam Levin (Lakeridge High School, 1st place)














The Young Historians Conference brings together PSU’s History Department and area high schools that participate in PSU’ concurrent enrollment history classes, including courses in American History, Western Civilization, and World History.  Every year, a major assignment in these classes is a history research paper. Concurrent Enrollment instructors select the best of these for the student authors to submit to the History Department for presentation consideration. A lead faculty member in the Department works with a Jury of History graduate students to assess the submissions and choose up to 30 papers for presentation.

The conference is organized into concurrent sessions of an hour and 15 minutes each, by themes determined by the Jury and lead faculty member. Each session has at least three presenters who have approximately 10 minutes to present their paper. The audience is made up of their classmates and a faculty member from the History Department moderates. At the end of the presentations, the Faculty Moderator leads a discussion.

The lunch program includes a short talk by an Historian, as well as awards given for the best paper and an honorary mention. Students are encouraged to submit their work to PDXScholar, PSU’s online repository of scholarly works. Among PDXScholar’s top collections accessed in 2013, 1,183 papers were downloaded the Young Historians Conference Collection.


This program has far reaching benefits.

  • It involves the majority of the History Department in the concurrent enrollment program, helping build the collegial partnership among instructors and faculty.
  • It promotes class visits to campus to learn about library resources and then apply those to research.
  • It provides our Challenge Program students with an authentic college experience, culturally and academically and builds their identity as a PSU student. 
  • It builds the awareness in the community as well as inside PSU of the Challenge Program.