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Dordt College News

A Dordt student takes first place for third year in a row at history conference

April 22, 2013

Dordt College student Kurt Frisch won the Best in Conference award last week at the 48th Annual Student History Conference for his paper “The Trent Affair: A Diplomatic Success.” The conference was held at the University of South Dakota Vermillion.

This is the third year in a row that a Dordt student took first prize at the regional history conference.

Frisch’s paper examines the American Civil War, particularly looking at Great Britain and other European nations that almost joined the war on the side of the Confederacy. “My paper looks at the actions of top-tier diplomats working to avoid a war and resolve the situation in the face of nationalistic pressure,” said Frisch,  

Frisch was grateful to receive the award and thanked History Professor and Department Chair Dr. Paul Fessler for urging him to present the paper. “The history professors at Dordt work tirelessly to push students to academic excellence,” said Frisch.

“Kurt offered a unique angle to this topic,” said Fessler. “He proved that he held a strong grasp of the topic, and he had good insights that brought all the information together into a really solid paper.”

A part-time student from Sioux Center, Iowa, Frisch began his studies at Dordt in 2011. He holds a degree in accountancy from Calvin College. He hopes to pursue graduate studies in history next year.

Frisch’s award comes on the heels of previous Dordt honors at the annual conference. Fessler attributes this in part to the strength of both the history department and the core curriculum required of all students. “The core curriculum teaches students from the start how to craft papers and how to revise their work so it’s the best possible product,” he says, noting that peer review plays a big part in learning to develop their skills.

“We had five strong papers this year. The students and the college should be very proud of their work,” Fessler said. Other Dordt student presenters were Lydia Buss (Sioux Center, Iowa), Tara Edens (Elk Point, South Dakota), Philip Hiemstra (Zillah, Washington), and Derek Visser (Ingersoll, Ontario).

The conference included students from Augustana College, Creighton University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Northern State University, Southwest Minnesota State University, and University of South Dakota Vermillion.

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