University Relations and Communications

Montana National History Day winners announced

April 28, 2009



Dr. Tom Rust, Department of History, 657-2891
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269 


Winners eligible to compete in national event in June


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana National History Day completed its state competition at Montana State University Billings on April 23. 


Thirty-eight middle and high schools students competed by presenting their own original research to panels of profession historians and educators.  The medalists in each category are eligible to compete in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition in June at the University of Maryland.


""National History Day is a national program designed to give elementary and secondary students an opportunity to gain some lifetime skills and make learning fun. It also provides their teachers with some tools to engage students and meet national educational standards, said Dr. Tom Rust, assistant professor of history at MSU Billings. 


National History Day has a longstanding reputation for excellence since the early 1970s, and this year marked the first statewide competition at MSU Billings.


National History Day is actually not a singular day, but an experience. It’s a yearlong program that uses history to challenge middle school and high school students to improve their research, analytical and communications skills. Whether done individually or in groups, students select a topic and conduct research on it based on a broad theme which changes annually. This year, the theme is “Individuals in History: Actions and Legacies.”


The winning projects and students who completed them follow:


Junior Individual Exhibit

  1. “Ben Steele: Portrait of a Survivor.” Nathan Stenson, Stenson Academy for Excellence
  2. “Lookout, The Past is Coming Your Way.” Isaac Zahn, Zahn’s School

Junior Individual Documentary

1. “Professor William “Thunderbolt”: Kwai Sun Chow.” Jase Paul, Shalom Academy

Senior Group Exhibit

  1. “Catherine the Great.” Lauren Gunderson and Megan Levis, Billings Central
  2. “Georgiana Cavendish: The Duchess of Devonshire.” Katie Wilmouth and Caitlin Shipp, Billings Central
  3. “Kim Jong Il.” Robert Martin and Molly McCallum, Billings Senior

Senior Individual Exhibit

  1. “An Inevitable Downfall: Marie Antoinette and Her Role as the Scapegoat of the French Revolution.” Samantha Lane, Billings Central
  2. “The Fuhrer’s Fury.” Mallory Ameson, Billings Senior
  3. “Countess Elizabeth Bathory: Blood Countess.” Cameiron McCormick, Billings Central

Senior Individual Documentary

  1. “Albert Einstein: The Man Behind the Manhattan Project.” Geoffrey Melder, Billings Central
  2. “Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar: The Man and the Actions of the British Royal Navy that Changed the Development of the Modern World.” Logan Strickfuden, Billings Central
  3. “Ludwig van Beethoven: The Madness Behind the Music.” Arielle Hanser, Billings Central

Senior Group Documentary

  1. “My Country Didn’t Want Me.” Anthony Thompson, Jeff Modrow and Ethan Fornshell, Billings Central
  2. “The Life of Katharine of Aragon.” Kassidy Miller and  Jenny Bryan, Billings Senior

Senior Paper

  1. “The Blotted Name: Borgia.” Caitlin Bolender, Billings Central
  2. “Voice in the Darkness: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust.” Marcus Erlenbush, Billings Central
  3. “St. Francis: The Legacy of a Saint.” Veronica Gieser, Billings Central

Senior Website

  1. “James Birdseye McPherson.”  Evan McPherson and Josh Wandle, Billings Senior

Photo at left:
Lauren Gunderson and Megan Levis of Billings Central stand by their winning research project.