Student Highlights

Alicia Callahan – Outstanding Senior in History


When I came to WSU as an elementary education major, I could never have imagined I would graduate four years later with a History degree and a minor in war in society. I was able to pursue my passion in the historical field due to the outstanding faculty of the History department. All of my professors made me a better researcher, writer, and person. They also granted me opportunities I would have never known about had it not been for them. Professor Raymond Sun is the reason I became a history major after taking his Hitler and the Nazis class. Had it not been for him, I would not be where I am today as I go on to get my master’s degree in war and military history. I am forever indebted to Washington State University for the memories and opportunities I have gotten over the last four years. It is hard to say goodbye to such an amazing department and place, but once a Coug, always a Coug!

Jemeshia Taylor – Outstanding Senior in History and Selected as CAS Banner Carrier at WSU Vancouver Commencement


As I started at WSU Vancouver, one challenge that I faced was being a first-generation college student. I did not have many people in my family who I could ask for advice about college, so I had to make my own path. Another challenge that I faced was that I had to work to pay for my tuition. It was hard to manage my coursework while working a part-time job, sometimes two jobs. The achievements and successes that I am most proud of are being able to maintain a high GPA since my first year of college and that I am graduating with a dual-degree in History and Public Affairs. Another achievement was my History 469 paper. I have never written a paper over 20 pages long before, so I am proud that I finished and got a great grade.

What I enjoyed the most about getting my History degree is learning about the history of different places and people. I am more curious about the world because I have learned so much. Now I am planning trips to visit some of the places that we studied in my History classes. After graduation I will complete my year-long internship at the Council Office for the Metro Regional Government in Portland, Oregon. Besides that, I plan on traveling and to finally get eight full hours of sleep.

Shalina Nail – History Leadership Award


As a student, I faced a couple challenges, from being a disabled student to going through school during the pandemic to facing issues of not being seen as native. Often what has challenged me the most is accessibility issues, more than it has to do with my two majors of History and anthropology. I’m most proud of passing my classes and finally graduating. I’m proud of all the things I have learned in helping run History Club and Anthropology Club. Also, that I keep on speaking up for issues that are important to me. I have been working on figuring out how to hold myself better in academic settings without losing me.

I really enjoyed the amazing classes, professors, and students I have shared History classes with. I’ve enjoyed classes focused on many different cultures and histories. I also liked being able to focus on histories that mean something to me or have a focus I want for a paper or presentation. After graduation, at first I’m planning to take some time off, but I plan to go get my master’s degree with a focus on Native history, looking at a master’s program that is focused around Cherokee people.

Sarah Johnson


Challenges and Achievements: Finishing my history degree at WSU Vancouver has been complicated by having to help care for my five youngest siblings in Astoria. I have traveled there from Vancouver each weekend to spend three days looking after them, then returning to dive back into schoolwork. Another challenge has been balancing my coursework with my active roles in student clubs, including Chi Alpha, the History Club, Students for Life, and this year, the leadership of Cru. I’m really proud to have participated in the 2022 Research Showcase, and to have been nominated for Top Ten Seniors.

Achievements/Successes I am proud of: At WSU Vancouver, I’ve been privileged to serve as an officer in Students for Life, helping facilitate our club’s activities like spreading pregnancy resources awareness, and engaging in respectful dialogue with students about the issue of abortion. This year, I’ve gotten to grow so much as the student leader for Cru, as I facilitate Bible studies, create media, share my faith, and build community with students. I’m really proud to have participated in the 2022 Research Showcase, to have been nominated for Top Ten Seniors, to get an A on my 20-page capstone paper for History 469, and to work as a research assistant for Dr. Peabody!

What I enjoyed most about getting my degree: My favorite part of the undergrad journey at WSU Vancouver has been meeting so many passionate, interesting students, whether in my capacity as a Writing Center tutor, in my classes and club activities, or just hanging on campus. With these students I’ve learned so much about the world, formed supportive and collaborative friendships that I hope to treasure for many years, and developed as a communicator and friend.

After graduation, I plan to return to my family in Astoria for several months to a year, as I help my family figure out a stable caregiving arrangement for my youngest siblings. I plan to find teaching-related work in the area and get some teaching experience toward my goal of being a history or Bible instructor. I’ll use the time as well to consider graduate programs in history, and work on publishing my recent novel!

Please join us in congratulating students who received Academic Achievement Awards!

  • Austin Eisinger
  • Benjamin Sauter
  • Camryn Kintner
  • Gunner Dacosta
  • Jacob Brown
  • James Salyards
  • Jenae Perry
  • Kendale Clark
  • Liberty Ziska
  • Matthew Burkett
  • Michael Webster
  • Ruby Hayes
  • Yesenia Garcia-Esparza

The department has awarded the following scholarships to support current students pursuing a major or minor in History:

  • Katherine Gilbert Blinn Scholarship in History
  • George and Bernadine Converse Historical Endowment
  • India Research and Scholarship Fund
  • William W. Landeen and Claudius O. Johnson Scholarship in History
  • Middle East History Research and Scholarship Fund
  • Sherman Pettyjohn and Mabel Smith Memorial Fund
  • Morris Reed Scholarship in History and Political Science
  • Ruth Magnuson Roberts Scholarship in Sociology and History
  • Wayne Stanford History Scholarship
  • Howard C. Payne Award for Excellence in Research
  • Stan Berry and Sui Family Lifetime Friendship Endowment
  • Claudius O. & Mary W. Johnson Scholarship in History
  • Ray Muse & Herman Deutsch Memorial Student Support Fund in History
  • Frederick and Liselotte Dumin Memorial Scholarship
  • Ruth Magnuson Roberts Scholarship in Sociology and History
  • LaPorte/Thorson Memorial Endowed Scholarship in History
  • William D. Aiken Memorial Endowment in History
  • Paul C. Anderson Scholarship in History
  • Thigpen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Thank you to our donors, alumni, and friends for supporting our students with contributions to these scholarship and award funds. Your gifts are deeply appreciated!