For the Alpha Mu Sigma chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (that’s us), this has been an exciting year! In addition to the seven new members that were inducted last semester, four were inducted this semester. Normally there is only one induction ceremony per academic year, scheduled for the fall term. However, the increased eligibility and interest of students prompted a second wave of inductions this spring.
Phi Alpha Theta is the national history honor society, but you don’t have to be a history major to join. Prerequisites to membership are a minimum GPA of 3.1 in at least 12 history credits, and an overall GPA of at least 3.0.
Professor Jeff Benedict was invited to address inductees, chapter members and friends at this semester’s induction ceremony. Benedict is not only a professor at Southern Virginia University, but also a New York Times bestselling author, a special features writer for Sports Illustrated, and a television and film producer. His investigative work has increased public understanding on a variety of contemporary issues (interestingly, “Contemporary Issues” is one of the courses he teaches at Southern Virginia), ranging from athletes and violence against women to eminent domain to food safety to American Indians and casinos. His command of controversial socio-political issues makes him a modern-day muckraker, in the best sense of the term. Particularly interesting to Phi Alpha Theta members is that Benedict’s career started after a Bachelor of Arts in History. His address was followed by a question and answer session, during which we learned who in history he would choose to shadow for a day (Alexander Hamilton or Benjamin Franklin, both of whom started out with a means and status far lower than that which they ultimately achieved), what it’s like to rewrite lines for a movie between shooting scenes (intense … and fun!), and the importance of being trustworthy as a journalist (and, well, as a human being).
Members of Phi Alpha Theta are now looking forward to presenting papers at a conference next month. Practice presentations will be in Durham 203 at 3:30 on Thursday, March 3, and at the same time on Tuesday, March 16. Come support members of Phi Alpha Theta and learn about espionage during WWII, Japanese Internment, and other really interesting things!
(Post by Lauren Hafen ’16. Photos by Sarah Bench ’17.)