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History | Student News

Graduate Student David Bolingbroke wins Greenwell Memorial Scholarship

David BolingbrokeThe Department of History is happy to announce that PhD student David Bolingbroke was awarded the Graduate School’s Arnold and Julia Greenwell Memorial Scholarship for Social Sciences and Humanities for the 2017/18 academic year. Bolingbroke plans to use the $1000 scholarship to fund research travel towards completion of his dissertation directed by Jeff Sanders.  Congratulations David!

Tentatively titled “Atomic Restoration: An Environmental History of the Hanford Nuclear Site,” the project focuses on Hanford, the country’s largest nuclear cleanup site, and its dynamic relationship with nature from the time it produced plutonium during World War II and the Cold War to ongoing nuclear waste cleanup efforts. His project emphasizes the work of ecologists studying the effect of radioactivity on living things and how they produced a new knowledge system centered on understanding nuclear landscapes. Bolingbroke’s work in Atomic Energy Commission records and other collections outside the state will add to work he has already done in Hanford History Project collections at the WSU Tri-Cities campus:

For more information and photographs of the Hanford Nuclear Site, see the WWW link here.

Undergrad Claire Thornton’s Honors thesis receives “Pass With Distinction” award

David Shier, Associate Dean of the Honors College at Washington State University congratulated Claire Thornton and her advisor, Dr. Lydia Gerber, for the high quality of Claire’s Honors thesis.

Dr. Shier writes: “Your overall thesis performance (including both the written thesis and the presentation) was noted by the faculty reviewer and by your thesis advisor, both of whom agreed that your thesis was worthy of nomination for a “Pass with Distinction.” This nomination is a significant recognition of the quality of your academic commitment and performance.

“The Honors Council met on December 2, 2016, to review all theses nominated for “Pass with Distinction.” Congratulations! After careful review, they awarded your thesis this recognition. You should be aware that this is a real honor, and that this is something to record on your resumé or curriculum vitae. We at the Honors College celebrate your award and wish you every success in all your future endeavors! We are confident that many other honors will come your way.”

The Honors College often posts copies of theses that receive “Pass with Distinction” on their website as examples for future students. Copies are also sent to the Washington State Libraries Research Exchange. Posting on the website and in the Research Exchange will make Claire’s thesis, “The GI Bill at WSC (Washington State College),” publicly available as part of the digital repository of research-related documents.


PhD Candidate David Bolingbroke, awarded 2016 Boeing Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Studies

David BolingbrokeThe College of Arts and Sciences at WSU awarded David Bolingbroke a 2016 Boeing Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Studies. This fellowship provides him with $1,000 dollars research travel funding towards his dissertation.  Congratulations, David!

Bordering the Tri-Cities, Washington, Hanford is the largest nuclear cleanup site in the world. It once produced the United States’ plutonium stockpile during World War II and the Cold War. Now, workers are tasked with cleaning up the contaminants left behind and restoring the Columbia River and Plateau environment. My dissertation project—tentatively titled, “Atomic Restoration: An Environmental History of the Hanford Nuclear Site”—will tell the story of how ecologists, local residents, and on-site workers responded to the release of radioactive particles into the region’s natural environment. In particular, it will focus on the role of animals and how they help us to understand the new scientific knowledge system and place that Hanford created. The Boeing Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Studies provides me with the funding to travel to Washington D.C. and conduct research in the Atomic Energy Commission Archives. This research will be vital in building my chapters on Cold War Era ecologists and their study of radioactivity’s effect on living things.

PhD candidate Ryan Booth, reviews “George Wright and the Plateau Indian War”

Booth RyanRyan Booth’s book review has been published in Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History.  “Hang Them All – George Wright and the Plateau Indian War”  was written by Donald L. Cutler and examines the often forgotten chapter of the U.S. Army and Native American interactions in the antebellum American West.  This article and book are well worth the time to read.  It mentions Colonel Edwin Steptoe and his defeat at Pine Creek outside the town of Rosalia in Whitman County.

Ryan Booth is a member of the Humanities Washington Board of Trustees. He earned his MA in history from Central Washington University and his PhD is from southern Methodist University and Washington State University.


Graduate Student, Jennifer Binczewski, receives ACHA Ellis Award

Jennifer BinczewskiJennifer Binczewski  has been awarded the 2016 John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award from the American Catholic Historical Association. Her dissertation is titled “Solitary Sparrows: Widowhood and the Catholic Community in Post-Reformation England, 1570–1620.”

Dr. Madga Teter, Chair of the American Catholic Historical Association’s Ellis Dissertation Award Committee writes:

“On behalf of the American Catholic Historical Association’s John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award Committee, I would like to congratulate you on being selected as the recipient of the 2016 Ellis prize. The Committee was impressed with your research project and the unique approach you have taken to explain the preservation of the Catholic faith following Sixteenth-century Elizabethan reforms. Your innovative methodology, paying attention to gender and space and the role widows played in preserving English Catholicism, provides new insight to the survival tactics employed by Catholics after the Church was formally banned in 1559. Fascinating!

We wish you well as you complete your dissertation, and we look forward to the day when we can call you Dr. Binczewski. If you would, please send us your mailing address as there is a $1500 stipend that comes with winning the Ellis prize. “

Philip Travis, PhD 2014, first academic book published

reagans-war-on-terrorism-in-nicaraguaDr. Phil Travis announced the publication of his first academic book, which was officially released on November 16, 2016. The book title is “Reagan’s War on Terrorism in Nicaragua: The Outlaw State.” See Dr. Travis’  website at for anyone interested in what this project is about (there is also a discount code should anyone wish to purchase the book).

Dr. Travis says: “This monograph was based on my PhD dissertation. I am, therefore, indebted to the guidance provided by some of the great scholars at WSU. Specifically, I wish to extend my gratitude to Dr. Noriko Kawamura, Dr. Matthew A. Sutton, and Thomas Preston (Political Science). The exceptional guidance provided by these mentors made this project, and future works, possible. I am grateful to have had such a positive experience at WSU. The training  received was second to none, and it provided me with the tools to succeed in the classroom and to begin the construction of my next book project.”

I am currently an Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

Global Case Competition team travels to Switzerland

students-in-genevaThe team of five students advised by Ken Faunce, won the WSU Global Case Competition. The theme in conjunction with the United Nations was “Arbitrary Detention in the U.S.”  The team looked at the debtor’s prison concept. The team highlighted the issue and then came up with solutions to the problem. Eighty students competed. By winning, the team traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for a week in November to present their findings to the U.N. Arbitrary Detention Working Group. Also, the team leader is History major, Maddy Hunter.

Pictured here is the team in Geneva.  See more about this event by reading the brochure.


Dr. Jesse Spohnholz’ article published in “Past and Present”

Jesse SpohnholzJesse Spohnholz’s article “Archiving and Narration in Post-Reformation Germany and the Netherlanders” was published in the Past and Present, 2016 Supplement. The article offers an example for how the ‘literary turn’ and the more recent ‘archival turn’ speak to Reformation history.  For the next three months, the article is available for free download.   “Past & Present” is one of the most prestigious history journals in the English-speaking world.  For the full text, see more.

Graduate students who have taken History 580: Historiography and undergraduates taking History 445: The Reformation next spring should check it out!

Roots of Contemporary Issues Conference Oct. 29 in CUE 518

The Roots program and History Graduate Student Association are pleased to circulate the program for this Fall’s Undergraduate Research Conference. The conference will take place on Saturday, October 29 in CUE 518. Fourteen former Roots students will present the results of their semester-long research projects and compete for cash awards. Graduate students and faculty have graciously volunteered their time and energy to serve as judges, mentors, and panel chairs.

The conference is being held in conjunction with one of the University’s Academic Showcase events.

You are cordially invited to attend, and please circulate the attached program to your students and encourage them to attend as well.

Please direct any questions to Dr. Clif Stratton.

Columbia Magazine’s article by John T. Menard, 2015 graduate

john-t-menardJ.T. Menard earned his BA in History in 2015.  He has written an article published in the current issue of Columbia magazine. “Roosevelt’s Grand Experiment: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Northwest” was Menard’s paper for History 469. He conducted the research using WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) sources under the guidance of Professor David H. Stratton.  J.T. is currently teaching high school in Yakima, Washington. The entire article can be seen here.

In May, 2015, J.T. received the Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award.  This honor recognizes outstanding college juniors and seniors who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American history or American studies. The WSU News article can be seen here.

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