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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Lutheran chapter.

This past weekend, I presented historical research at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research. Presenting research for peers as well as Ph.D.’s at a collegiate level conference is honestly something I never saw myself doing when thinking about what my college experience would be like. Even after three years of college, I still did not think I would be doing something like this. It took a push from my department, plus a research topic I developed a passion for, to convince me to partake. 

Two years ago, I took a medieval European history class for my major (for context, I am a history pedagogy major studying to be a high school teacher) and was responsible for picking a thesis paper topic. I could not think of anything about the Middle Ages that stood out to me other than the Bubonic Plague but I landed on the trial of Joan of Arc. I started reading through the translated transcript and was immediately drawn in. I quickly realized that so much of our common perception of Joan of Arc was largely a false narrative contrived by the English monarchy and was essentially a pawn in the larger political conflict between France and England in the Hundred Years War. I had to find out more about the whole situation, and throughout that semester I was constantly pouring over trial transcripts and letters written by Joan and other political figures at the time. 

This paper is definitely my favorite written work that I have produced for my department, and they suggested that I enter it into multiple conferences this year. I agreed, but I had my reservations because I did not know what to expect or how my project would compare to other submissions. This conference in particular was for all subjects with a majority of STEM students, which admittedly had me a little worried. I take pride in my subject and the work we do in our department, but there is a common narrative that humanities research is not as serious or impressive as STEM research. My classmates and I were a little nervous that the STEM majors would act like our research was not as impressive or had some sort of superiority complex, but surprisingly, this was not the case. Those of us who did oral talks in humanities were in our own separate rooms to present, but there were a lot of STEM students who came in to watch our presentations, which I did not expect. Even better, they asked lots of questions, which was exciting to us because it meant there were people who wanted to hear what we had to say. 

After my presentation, I felt so much relief because I realized that I had been worrying about my presentation for no reason. My research measured up well and shed some new light on Joan of Arc for people who may not have studied her in much depth. I am so happy that I participated in this conference and I am excited for the upcoming ones I will be attending this year.

Anna Henson

Cal Lutheran '23

Hi! My name is Anna Henson and I am a junior history pedagogy major at California Lutheran University. I love all types of writing including research for my major and fun opinion articles! I am pursuing a teaching credential to help students develop their writing and thinking skills to express themselves clearly and creatively. I also love iced coffee, Tiktok, and the color pink!