History students take top two awards at Phi Alpha Theta state meeting

Louisiana Christian University history majors took first and second-place honors for their research papers presented March 17 at the regional meeting of Phi Alpha Theta in Alexandria.

Shelby Cumpton, of Quitman, won the Kimberly S. Hanger Award, given to the top undergraduate paper: “Why Should Not Woman Seek to Be a Reformer?: The Relationship Between the Abolitionist Movement and Women’s Rights.”

Her paper examined the connections between the women who advocated for the end of slavery and the advancement of women’s rights. Cumpton took home a cash prize and a book award from the Phi Alpha Theta National Office.

Laura Aime, a Smith Scholar from Baton Rouge, took 2nd place for her paper: “Defying Decoding on the Way to Victory: Navajo Code Talkers in the Pacific Theater of WWII.” Her work explained the contributions of a native American tribe who assisted U.S. troops in conveying battlefield messages in a language not understood by the Japanese.

Phi Alpha Theta is the national history honor society, and the regional meeting included all Louisiana chapters from private and public universities across the state. The meeting was held in conjunction with the Louisiana Historical Association. Aime was presented a book award from the Phi Alpha Theta National Office.

The Hanger Award honors Dr. Kimberly Hanger, a history professor at the University of Tulsa from 1993 to 1999, when she died of leukemia at age 37. Her research focused on slavery in New Orleans, and she published two books before her death: “Bounded Lives, Bounded Places: Free Black Society in Colonial New Orleans” and “A Medley of Cultures: Louisiana History at the Cabildo.”

The Hanger Award was started in 2000 in her memory. This is the first time a student at LCU has won the award.


Media Release | March 21, 2023 | Pineville, Louisiana
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth B. Clarke, Director of University Communications | Elizabeth.clarke@lcuniversity.edu