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On the Bright Side

April 8, 2014

SUCO graduate to return, speak at conference

A SUNY Oneonta alumna will return to the City of the Hills on Saturday as her alma mater hosts, for the first time, a prestigious undergraduate history conference.

Meagan Butler, originally from Brooklyn, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society conference of the Upper New York Region, which is being held this year in SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall Conference Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, according to a media release.

Undergraduates from SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College, Marist College, New York University, Utica College, SUNY Albany, Hamilton College, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Plattsburgh and Eastern Connecticut State University will present original papers based on their historical research, said Matthew Hendley, professor of history at SUNY Oneonta.

Hendley said Butler, a 2008 SUNY Oneonta history graduate and current PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, will give a talk titled “History Major to History PhD: Pursuing Historical Studies from Undergraduate to Graduate School.” Butler just defended her PhD dissertation at the University of Glasgow, he said, and will bring a freshness to the conference. It will be nice to see a former student who has gone on to be so successful, Hendley said.

“She was one of the best students I’ve had,” Hendley said. “I’ve been teaching since 2001 and have taught hundreds of students and she’s easily in the top 1 or 2 percent of them. It’s extremely rare for a student to go on to PhD studies. She’s gone from being a student of mine to being a colleague. Now she has the same title I do.”

Hendley said it is “quite an honor” to be hosting the undergraduate conference at SUNY Oneonta for the first time. The conference is a nice way to allow strong students to stand out, he said. Students who are presenting are members of Phi Alpha Theta, Hendley said, and the conference is good practice for the students.

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