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Undergraduate Research Skills Program fosters research opportunities

Our department aims to foster research opportunities for everyone, including Undergraduate History Majors. To this end, we developed the Undergraduate Research Skills Program in order to encourage and foster innovative research among our Undergraduate students.  

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The Undergraduate Research Skills Program entails students enrolling in HIST 497 and working with faculty mentors on real research programs. Students can respond to requests from faculty, approach a professor directly with an idea, or can build on previous research papers to develop a presentation. Students are evaluated on the basis of a contract established at the beginning of the semester between them and their mentor faculty member. For more information on the Undergraduate Research Skills Program, visit:

Many students in this program have presented their research all around the state. Two students, Morgan McMinn and Lauren Graham, presented in March at Undergraduate Research Day at the capitol in Charleston, WV.

Of this experience Morgan said, “Presenting my research was an amazing experience, it was extremely fulfilling to express my passion in this way and to see it reciprocated by the good people who stopped by to listen to me. What stood out the most to me was the presence of high school students at URDC, I think is it fantastic that they got the chance to see what opportunities are ahead of them in college.”

Lauren said, “It was extremely helpful to get feedback from the public on my work, and it helped me to distinguish some gaps in my research that I can focus my attention on…Overall, I think the conference gave me a lot more confidence in my ability to present and discuss my project.”

This April, many of the students who engaged in research through HIST 497 presented their research at the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium at WVU. Overall, six undergraduate historians presented at the symposium.


For Sarah Hanna, who presented her HIST 497 project, the Spring Symposium was a great way to adapt her research from the past semester. She said, “My research process involved going back through all the information I had gathered last semester and determining how best to break it down for an audience with varying levels of knowledge on historic preservation and the Morgantown area. The information included deeds from the Courthouse, minutes from Board of Education meetings, and Sanborn maps.”

It also guided her to think about adapting her research for a more general audience.

 “The most important thing I learned from the symposium was how to concisely explain my research,” she said. “I learned quickly that it's necessary not only to explain what my research is about, but also to explain why any of it matters. It definitely helped people understand when I explained the significance and overall goals of researching the history of a structure.”

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Other ways in which we do encourage Undergraduate research is through fellowships. For this summer, Elizabeth Satterfield was awarded a Bucklew Scholar Fellowship to fund research under Professor Jenny Boulware on the Sunnyside neighborhood. 

The students in HIST 497 and Elizabeth Satterfield as a Bucklew Scholar are able to gain first-hand primary research experience under the guidance of the experienced faculty in our Department. We are excited to continue to offer the Undergraduate Skills Program (HIST 497) and continue to foster other opportunities for Undergraduate research in our department.

Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium Presentations

Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium Presentations




Lauren Griffin

- Katherine Aaslestad

Economic Warfare to Humanitarian Relief: Great Britain during the Napoleonic Era

Sarah Hanna

-Jenny Boulware

History of Jack Roberts Park Stone Wall

Madison Shea Lamanna

Willkommenskultur and History: the Role German History in the Syrian Refugee Crisis

McKenna Williamson

-Michele McArdle Stephens

An Analysis of Mental Illness in Early 20th Century Mexico