Recent graduate Andrew Ring presented his research on ancient wine making (viticulture) at the Biennial Convention for Phi Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society of Historians. Andrew joined faculty and students from across the country. Below are a few of his reflections…
Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to represent the University of St. Thomas at the Phi Alpha Theta 2016 Biennial convention. This convention brought together many student and faculty members of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society of historians, to present academic papers from their original research. The conference was held at Walt Disney World, which meant I was able to leave the unforgiving frigid landscape of Minnesota for balmy Orlando, Florida. Papers were presented together in themed panels that ran the full gamut of human chronology.
My panel was about Roman history where I discussed the research I conducted over the summer on viticulture in Roman Croatia with my Young Scholars Grant. My fellow panelist also had very interesting papers such as Roman attitudes toward barbarians and the depictions of ancient Romans in modern films. After reading the papers, the conversation that was opened up to the audience was equally fascinating. One member of the audience even approached me afterwards mentioning that her family was from the same area of Croatia I where I did my research. They even had a vineyard there. Additionally my conversations with different faculty and graduate students between panels gave me better insights to the prospects of graduate school.
But attending talks and rubbing elbows with other historians was not the only thing that I did while at the conference. It was Orlando, after all! So of course I had to check out some of its other exciting attractions. After I was finished with my presentation, I decided to take the rest of the day to enjoy Epcot. There I had a blast on the different rides, and touring the many national pavilions at their world showcase. After the conference I was able to meet up with a friend that lives down there to explore other parts of Orlando. Together we ventured out on a lake with airboat where we got to see alligators up close and personal. We also toured the Orlando Museum of Art, which with a $3 student ticket was the best deal on the whole trip!
In all this trip was great. From attending the numerous talks to appreciating all of what Orlando had to offer this experience was nothing short of amazing. I am truly grateful for being able to attend this conference, and it was made possible with generous support from the Grants & Research Office and History Department through the Conference Travel Grant.