Messiah College History Department Clio Award
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The Clio Award is presented to the most outstanding senior for exceptional academic achievement and leadership by the faculty of the Messiah College Department of History. 


Past Clio Award Winners

2005:  Jeffrey A. Erbig
Jeff graduated from Messiah College in 2005.  He is taking a year off before entering graduate school in Latin American history.

Looking back upon my four years in the history department at Messiah, I see a vast change in my goals and myself as a person.  I stumbled into the department backward, pursuing a social studies certification as a back-up plan in my aspirations to become a Presbyterian pastor.  My interest grew in history writing and postcolonial studies and I soon decided to focus my energies on those topics.  This journey led me to an interest first in South and Southeast Asia, and later in Latin America; my college career ended with a study of colonial cartography in 18th and 19th century Spanish America. 
    This experience studying history has allowed me to recognize several important attributes of the department.  First, each professor displayed patience, guidance, and flexibility with me, allowing me to search my own path and offering suggestions at the same time.  They frequently listened to my opinions and allowed me to mature through the pride that often comes with an increase in intellect.  Second, the department allowed students to take initiative to expand and develop, yet always remained accessible.  During my four years we were able to develop an active history club and install a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta.  Third, history professors continually encouraged interdisciplinary studies, essential in a liberal arts education and the humanities.  One such example was the development of Nouveau Salon, a student-led discussion group on cultural theory that brought in students from English, philosophy, and other majors.  On a personal level, I was encouraged to work with the Spanish department for a minor and a study abroad experience in Quito, Ecuador.  Without a professor of Latin American history, I was still able to pursue a project in that field, a testament to the flexibility and instruction of our faculty.
    My time as a history major has taught me to critically engage with my faith, to write and debate, and to analyze society and culture historically.  Through classroom and personal experience with professors and other students, I have been able to relate personal faith with the broader scope of human history.  I have learned the difference between timeless and time-bound truth and realize the importance of putting cultural analysis in motion.  As I pursue graduate level education and as I critically engage with everyday life, my experiences as a history student at Messiah College help me to continually grow intellectually, relationally, and spiritually.

2004:  Benjamin Friedline
Ben is currently employed as reviewer for the United States Investigation Services.

I would consider my time as a history student at Messiah College to be one of the most influentual periods in my life.  During the past four years, I learned to think differently, explore new concepts, and develop a lifetime love of learning that will most probably compel me to pursue a higher education and obtain a higher degree.  This "love of learning" of which I speak comes not solely from learning about new concepts and ideas, but from the living inspiration that was embodied in the professors of the history department.

2004:  Sarah Mackin
Sarah is currently working in the stewardship office of the Brethren in Christ Church and preparing for graduate school in American history.

In high school, I liked my history teachers best, so history became my favorite subject.  Before I entered college, I had only a vague idea of what an historian could do as a career, so I matriculated at Messiah College as “undeclared.”  During the four years I spent at Messiah, the professors in the history department taught me how to develop an historical consciousness, to cull and cultivate sources, to write better, and to read more critically.  By my senior year, I knew without a doubt that God had called me to the profession of historian.  All the credit for this transformation is due to the excellent department we have at Messiah. Each professor is a dedicated educator and a scholar in his or her own right.  At present, I work with a mentor that I met during college, in the stewardship office of the Brethren in Christ Church headquarters.  It's been an interesting experience, entering "cubicle world" and leaving behind the classroom and text books.  I'm learning many things, but academia looms at the edge of my consciousness and I know that I must return eventually.  In my spare time, I've been studying for the GRE and researching MA/PhD programs in U.S. religious/education history.  I can't be more specific right now, since where, with whom, and what I want to study changes everyday.

2003:  Megan Giordano
Megan recently completing an M.A. at the Winterthur Museum Program in Early American Civilization, a program sponsored by the Winterthur Museum and the University of Delaware. 

I came to Messiah with the optimistic conviction that college could show me what to do with a passion for history.  That confidence was well-founded.  My years at Messiah were rewarding and fulfilling, full of intellectual and spiritual growth.  My internship was a particularly pivotal experience which confirmed my interest in public history.  My classmates within the History Department (and other humanities fields) were a source of joy and encouragement.  I made lasting friendships through classroom collaboration, group projects and study sessions.  The strong sense of community within the department springs from the sincere efforts of the History Faculty.  The professors are committed to the personal development of each student.  The faculty has changed drastically since my freshman year, but each new member has brought unique strengths and personality to our department.  And their willingness to get involved creates a dynamic, safe, and stimulating learning environment.  I am so grateful for the examples I have seen of academic integrity and Christian reflection.  Messiah taught me the cultivation of the mind can be, or should be, a relevant part of my Christian life.
    Messiah prepared me for life as a graduate student.  I felt thoroughly prepared to handle the coursework and meet the intellectual expectations.  The transition to the competitive world of academia was rough, but I had a firm foundation which held steady.  In addition to covering the pertinent material, my teachers taught the value of thoughtful analysis, meaningful interpretation, and clear, compelling communication.  These are helpful principles for historians, but, even more importantly, the faculty fostered a keen sense of responsibility and stewardship –  virtues which will continue to guide and define my life.

2002: Jamie Binder
In August 2002, Jamie began teaching World History and American Government at Franklin High School, Reisterstown, Maryland.

"My experience with history at Messiah was from start to finish an exciting journey of intellectual and spiritual growth.  This journey resulted in a more accurate understanding of the past and its meaning for us today, while most importantly deepening my faith.  In addition, my passion for studying and teaching history grew tremendously.  Each day I step into my own classroom and watch a diverse group of students file past my desk.  Some hang on my every word, as eager to learn as I am to share.  Others anticipate hating every moment of the fifty minute period and communicate their frustration to me quite openly.
    To face the daily joys and challenges of teaching, I find confidence in the education I received at Messiah.  From history department faculty, I learned how to confront the humanity of the past and communicate my findings to others.  This skill has become essential to my success in the classroom as it has enabled me to show students that history tells true stories about real people.  When confronted with the humanity of the past, students find a point of connection, and they see that history is the only universal thread which connects people, places and times.  It is truly exciting to see students engage in historical inquiry and come away with more than just a laundry list of facts about a particular historical event or phenomena.  Instead, they take ownership of the past through direct involvement in making sense of it.
    My study of history at Messiah certainly provided me with the necessary skills to engage in historical research and help my students do the same.  But more importantly, it helped me recognize the importance of faith to historical and teaching endeavors.  While faith provides humility to recognize my limitations as a historian and teacher, it also engages me to persevere in the pursuit of truth (historical or otherwise) and keep my passion for students and history alive."

2002: Bethany Parliament
Bethany is currently pursuing a masters degree at Columbia University Teachers College.

"The history department and faculty at Messiah College not only allowed me to pursue interests in the content and construction of history, but also encouraged me to develop transferable skills that I use in my current role as the Director of Enrollment at the Messiah College Philadelphia Campus.  Messiah's history program taught me how to analyze, appreciate, and tolerate new or different perspectives without feeling that my own convictions were threatened.  Messiah's history faculty instilled in me a deep-seated sense of justice through inquiry.  In its most simplified terms 'justice through inquiry' means thoroughly researching and verifying background information about all sides of an issue before drawing conclusions.
    The program also provided a flexible curriculum that allowed me to immerse myself in contextual learning environments, such as my internship at the Atwater Kent Museum in Philadelphia and two semesters of study at Temple University through Messiah's Philadelphia Campus."

2002: Elisabeth Winkler
Elisabeth teaches United States History, Government, Economics, French, World History, and Geography at Cono Christian School, an international Christian boarding and day school in Walker, Iowa.  She is currently enrolled in a Master of Education program through Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

"I chose to attend Messiah because it was a Christian college, it was a good distance from home (Pittsburgh, PA), and I believed that it would provide me with a safe, healthy environment in which to learn and grow intellectually.  I was right on all counts.  I really appreciated my time at Messiah!  There were so many opportunities to serve, to learn, and to grow in every way.  General education classes were stimulating and I found the history department to be top-notch.  I learned so much from the various professors, especially Dr. Huffman.  During my Junior year at Messiah, I studied in Washington D.C. at the Christian College Coalition's American Studies Program.  It was amazing!  Living in Washington was such a great experience!  I made some really good friends and got 'real world' experience through my internship at the International Justice Mission.  That semester challenged me to look at the world in new ways and from new perspectives.
    I graduated in May 2002 with no immediate job prospects, but was soon offered two jobs. One was an entry-level position at a think tank in Washington.  The other was a social studies teaching position at the Cono Christian School--a Christian boarding school in Iowa.  I chose Iowa and have not regretted it.  It has been quite a transition, but I've really enjoyed working with the kids and getting to use my degree in such a direct way."


2001: Monica Volante
Monica is working as a legislative assistant in the Washington D.C. office of Pennsylvania congressman Joseph Pitts.

"Looking back at my time at Messiah, I realize how blessed I am to have been surrounded by caring, Christian faculty who are also leaders in their academic fields.  Through classroom lectures, group projects with fellow students, and valuable discussions with my professors, I was immersed not only in the subject matter of my history courses, but also in the skills and tools historians use to analyze and make sense of the past and then communicate that understanding to others.
    The flexibility of the History major allowed me to spend the spring semester of my junior year in Washington D.C. at the American Studies Program (ASP).  Expecting to put my research skill to use with an internship at the Smithsonian Institution or Library of Congress, the Lord led me instead to the office of Pennsylvania Congressman Joseph Pitts.  That semester-long internship turned into a job offer after graduation, and I now serve as a legislative assistant, advising the Congressman on a variety of topics, including foreign affairs, agriculture, and tax issues.
    My background in American History, combined with a Political Science minor, has equipped me with tools that can be transferred to any number of fields or careers.  I find myself using these skills every day.  From analyzing legislation and researching complex issues, to crafting persuasive responses to constituent concerns, to meeting with lobbyists and debating a particular bill, I have the confidence that my Messiah education has prepared me for whatever I may face.  Most importantly, however, Messiah's emphasis on the integration of faith and learning has prepared me to stand for what I know to be true and defend those beliefs in the very secular environment of the United States Congress."