World History Center Sponsors Four Undergraduate Students at National History Conference

The World History Center is pleased to support the attendance of four Pitt undergraduate students at the 2023 annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA) in January. These students are Thomas Barnes, Riley Boyle, Nicholas Demjan, and Catherine Raspanti (pictured below from left to right).  

The American Historical Association is the preeminent professional organization in the field of American History. It promotes historical research, education, and thinking through advocacy, community building, and setting professional standards. Each year at its annual conference, the AHA brings together historians at all stages of their career from around the world. Attending the conference will be an excellent opportunity for all four students to gain valuable professional experience and network with other historians. 

The groundbreaking research that historians present at the AHA is Thomas Barnes’s top priority at the conference. Thomas is currently conducting his own archival research into late 1970s Pittsburgh-based LGBTQ+ activism. Thomas plans to present and publish his own research one day and will use his time at the AHA to observe how other historians talk about their projects. Thomas also hopes to connect with other scholars who are working on similar research aims and projects. 

Riley Boyle will use his time at the AHA conference to explore the many different careers history majors can have and which skills are prioritized in the profession. A senior history major, Riley has always been interested in working in a museum. At the AHA, Riley will have the opportunity to learn about the full diversity of historians’ employment and get advice on planning for their career. The AHA’s emphasis on career development also means that Riley can join critical discussion about issues that face historians in all professions. 

Nicholas Demjan plans to make the most of his AHA experience by attending panels and networking with students, professors, and other professional historians. From these experiences, Nicholas hopes to enhance his understanding of methodologies and skills used in historical research and gain new perspectives on how to approach the field. As someone considering a career in history, Nicholas will also use his time at the AHA to talk with other historians about their career trajectories. 

After graduating from Pitt, Catherine Raspanti plans to earn a master’s degree in secondary education in social studies and become an instructor for students in grades 7-12. By attending the AHA, Catherine will be able to meet and network with other K-12 social studies educators. The AHA conference will also give Catherine the chance to participate in teaching workshops designed specifically for K-12 instruction and attend sessions about how to bring new historiographical questions into the classroom.  

The WHC is pleased to be able to support students with these grants as a reflection of our commitment to undergraduate teaching as well as the utility of history education at all levels and stages.