Student Experience | Trinity University

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Student Experience

The department of history strengthens the learning experience of its students by augmenting classroom study with opportunities for independent research, real-world internship programs, student organizations, contests, a study abroad program, and awards recognizing excellence in the study of history.


The history department encourages its students to gain work experience related to their studies through internships at museums, historical landmarks, and government offices. Recent places where history students have interned include:

Omega Tau

Omega Tau is Trinity University's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international history honors society. Our membership includes both history majors and minors, as well as others who love history. Our goal is to enhance Trinity students' appreciation of the past through a variety of means, some academic, some social. Founded in the early 1980s, under the aegis of professor Donald Everett, Omega Tau has sponsored informal and formal speaker series, screened historically significant films, followed by discussions between relevant faculty and the audience, and held symposia. Following initiation and chapter elections, a member of the history faculty gives a speech, which is, in turn, followed by a sumptuous meal; the cuisine is related to the culture discussed in the speech.

Omega Tau also offers three annual prizes: the Donald Everett Outstanding Student in History Award, which goes to the senior major whom the history faculty feels has made the most significant contribution to the study of the past and to the department; the Philip F. Detweiler Prize For Excellence in Historical Writing, for long essays; and the Frances Kellam Hendricks Prize, for shorter essays. Students submit copies of their best writing, which a faculty/student editorial committee reads and evaluates.

To join Omega Tau, you must have:

  • 12 hours in History
  • 3.1 GPA in all history courses
  • 3.0 GPA in two-thirds of all other courses

To Apply:

  • Pick up an application in the History Department
  • Attach an unofficial (TigerPaws) copy of your transcript
  • Include the one-time initiation fee of $40.00, payable to Phi Alpha Theta, the international organization of which Omega Tau is Trinity's Chapter. Annual, local dues are $5.00.

Turn in your application to the history department in early spring.

Department and Student Awards

Philip F. Detweiler Prize

Each spring, the History Department awards the Philip F. Detweiler Prize for Excellence in Historical Writing, named for the late Philip Detweiler, a member of the department who deeply valued the historian's craft. The Detweiler Prize is given to the student whose submission is considered outstanding, a consideration based on that work's originality, literary quality and scholarly significance. The department is pleased to announce that this year's prize winner is Margaret Chase for her paper, "From Madisonian Secularism to a Christian Government: The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998."

Terry Smart Prize

The Smart Prize is designed to recognize excellent work by first- and second-year students in our history courses. This year's winner is Elizabeth Hanna's essay "Communism and Democracy in Vietnam."

Frances Kellam Hendricks Prize

The Frances Kellam Hendricks Prize was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Professor Hendricks who taught at Trinity from 1942 to 1967, and served as department chair for many years. This prize is awarded for the best short essay on an historical subject. This year's prize was awarded to Benjamin Collinger for his paper titled "Islam’s Centrality in U.S. Containment Policy for the Middle East."