Postcards from AHA18

“The weather’s been, uh . . . wonderful!” What would you write on a postcard sent from AHA18? What memories have you made over these four frigid days in the nation’s capital? As the 132nd AHA annual meeting comes to a close, AHA Today presents a few attendees’ favorite moments. Do you have a personal highlight from the meeting? Let us know below in the comments section, or on Twitter!

Hannah Scott, Truman State University

Can I come back again next year?
Hannah Scott, Truman State University

Hannah Scott has traveled to the DC area four times to participate in National History Day competitions, and was upset that these regular trips wouldn’t continue after she graduated from high school. To her delight, her entry from the last competition won the top prize, and she was invited to the meeting’s poster session to present her project, “The Safekeepers of History: A Monumental Stand for Cultural Preservation during the Second World War.” Her elaborate display is modeled after a mine entrance where Nazis stored stolen European artworks. She’s been charmed by historians passing by to exclaim, “You put THIS much work into your poster?”

Emily Berman, Union of Concerned Scientists

Who knew this would be so much fun?
Emily Berman, Union of Concerned Scientists

Emily Berman, a recent history BA who now works at a science-based nonprofit, wasn’t sure if she would enjoy the annual meeting. AHA18 was her first-ever academic conference. The moment she knew that this was a place she would fit in? “It was really when I walked into my first session,” she says. “Actually hearing academics debate their research and how excited they were, how their research intersected, and how they talk to each other in that way, was something I’d never experienced before.”

Alvin Lee, Florida A&M University

Say hi to the family for me.
Alvin Lee, Florida A&M University

Many libraries have grappled with the need to digitize their special collections, but staff at Florida A&M University Libraries figured out a novel way to train their support staff to do the job right. Alvin Lee has spent the last two years coordinating a training program that encourages staff to take on genealogical projects to help cultivate their research and digitization skills. Lee and his colleagues previously discussed this work at smaller-scale, library-focused conferences, but he was skeptical that the AHA would take interest. He jokes that he had to scramble to prepare his presentation once it was accepted: “I had completely forgotten we had even submitted this stuff [to the program committee]!” For Lee, this new recognition could be what finally gives him the confidence to fulfill a personal promise to his sisters—getting his family’s own genealogical history down in writing.

Nala Chehade, Virginia Tech

I met a real live PhD!
Nala Chehade, Virginia Tech

This year, AHA made a concerted effort to offer more annual meeting programming for college students, holding a dedicated undergraduate orientation, reception, and poster session. Virginia Tech student Nala Chehade made the most out of every opportunity. Just before she arrived at the Exhibit Hall atrium to present her research about graffiti art in the 2011 Egyptian revolution, she attended an interesting panel on the history of locusts and migration policy. Like many of her young peers have demonstrated throughout the weekend, Chehade was not afraid to ask questions or even challenge presenters. “I find it really funny that these PhD are so willing to talk to me!” she laughs.

 

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