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“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain”

History Majors present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

McKenna Williamson (pictured left) and Elizabeth Satterfield (pictured right) presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Oklahoma City. McKenna's presentation was titled "An Analysis of Mental Illness in Early 20th Century Mexico" and Elizabeth's was titled, "A Changing Cultural Landscape in the Sunnyside Neighborhood of Morgantown, WV."Elizabeth Satterfield McKenna Williamson


As we travelled to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Central Oklahoma with three other students from WVU, we expected a warmer and much flatter western environment. We were surprised by the cold weather, and especially the ferocious winds that sweep across the Oklahoma plains!  During the conference, we had the privilege of listening to such plenary speakers as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  When we were not at the conference presenting our research, we had the opportunity to explore the Bricktown District of downtown Oklahoma City as well as the Chickasaw Indian Reservation and National Recreation Area. For McKenna, the best part of the trip, besides presenting her poster, was the food. Elizabeth loved all the great photo opportunities in Oklahoma City as well as the great discussions she had with visitors to her research poster.

historic bricktown

McKenna Williamson, senior History and Spanish major, and Elizabeth Satterfield, junior History major, both presented research posters at NCUR on April 4-7. Elizabeth Satterfield, mentored by Jenny Boulware, presented her research on the historic transformation of the Sunnyside neighborhood in Morgantown. As the History            While in Oklahoma, McKenna Department’s first recipient of         and  Elizabeth were able to explore  a SURE Award, Elizabeth               Historic Bricktown in Oklahoma City  conducted research during the                                                              summer of 2017 as part of the SURE program and compiled over thirty property narratives about the historic neighborhood, which transformed from rural farmland to a working-class, immigrant and industrial neighborhood and finally to a student rental area. Her research has helped to create a walking tour of the Sunnyside and an exhibit in the downtown WVU Library.   McKenna Williamson, mentored by Dr. Michele Stephens, shared her research on mental illness in early twentieth-century Mexico.  McKenna explored and presented the case study of Martina Uh, a 72 year old woman with epilepsy who killed her son-in-law during a fight.  At the time epilepsy was understood as a mental illness; in her study McKenna analyzed the history of epilepsy and how it relates to Martina Uh’s criminal trial.

It was a wonderful honor to present and represent WVU’s History Department at the NCUR.  Attending the NCUR offered us the opportunity to present our research in a professional, multidisciplinary setting and to network with and learn from other undergraduate students across the nation.  Next year, the conference will be held at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.  It is important to highlight that there is funding available through various WVU offices, in particular the Office of Undergraduate Research, the office that organized this outstanding trip. Although applying to the NCUR is competitive, if accepted undergraduates can often attend this conference at little or no cost to themselves.  We highly encourage any and all History majors to apply!National Undergraduate Research

Elizabeth and McKenna traveled with WVU students from all disciplines to the conference. Pictured left to right:  Kevin Walden (program specialist for the Office of Undergraduate Research), Elizabeth Satterfield, McKenna Williamson, Josef Heller (biochemistry student), Christian Hushion engineering student), not pictured is Raisa Nunez (biology student).