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Fitz-Gerald Presents Research Paper at National Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society Conference


Williamsburg, Ky. – During the Christmas break, University of the Cumberlands (UC) senior Kyla Fitz-Gerald (Lexington, KY) attended the National Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society Conference in Orlando, Florida. This conference occurs every two years and gives chapters from all across the country a chance to participate and present their research.

While at the conference, Kyla presented her research paper entitled “Super Frigates.” Super Frigates were the first ships in the American Navy and her paper was on the design of the ships and how they were superior to other designs at that time. She went on to discuss the different problems that ship designers faced and how they resolved them allowing for ships to strengthen their power, speed, and durability. Kyla also talks about the gunnery of the frigates focusing on one on one ship battles of the Barbary War, the Quasi War, and the War of 1812.

When asked on choosing that topic for her research paper Kyla said, “How can you not be interested when their name is frigate? Plus ships are awesome!”

For students to attend the conference they must be a member of their university or college’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter. Once students decide to go they have an option to present papers if they choose with the approval of their chapter advisor. The conference lasts four days with research paper presentation sessions every day. This opportunity gives students the opportunity to present their paper, take questions and get comments on their research. The conference gives students a chance to get together to gain exposure, experience, and the opportunity to meet other people interested in their chosen field of study.

“Presenting my research for my Issues in History class, Historical Methods, and at Regional Convention helped me to be prepared for the conference,” said Fitz-Gerald.

Kyla will be graduating in May with a History major and Criminal Justice minor. Currently, she is working as an intern for the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky. She is gaining historical knowledge in museum collections and exhibitions.

While at UC, Kyla has participated in the chorale and been an active member in the theatre program. She is the former President of Phi Alpha Theta, has been an active member of Mountain Outreach (MO), and has presented a paper at the Kentucky Regional Convention which won third place.

Founded in 1974, the Upsilon-Upsilon chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international honor society in history, holds the distinction of being both the oldest and the most frequently honored society at University of the Cumberlands. Phi Alpha Theta has for thirty-four years recognized Upsilon-Upsilon as the best chapter in its division. As one of the most active organizations on campus, Upsilon-Upsilon sponsors a popular lecture series, fundraisers, social events, and publishes the scholarly journal, The Upsilonian.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.