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book donation drive
Alpha Beta Epsilon Book Donation Drive.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s longstanding history honor society, Alpha Beta Epsilon, was recognized as one of the best Phi Alpha Theta (PAT) National History Honor Society chapters in the nation for their excellence in promoting the study of history through research, teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas. PAT members are undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history with more than 400,000 members and 970 chapters across the country.

smith and chew holding up prizes
Madison Smith and Carissa Chew receiving prizes at the PAT Regional Conference.

The UH Mānoa chapter took home the First Place Best Chapter Award in their division at the annual competition in July, competing against other colleges and universities with a student enrollment of 15,001 to 23,000 students.

The award was based on the chapter’s activities from August 2022 to July 2023, including participation in student conferences and award-winning presentations, helping at Welina Mānoa, participating in Hawaiʻi History Day, fundraising for a book donation drive and social activities including lei-making and celebrating graduating members.

“It is wonderful to receive this recognition for our chapter’s activities, especially since we pride ourselves on fostering a diverse range of research interests from the Pacific Islands to Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Americas and Europe,” said Carissa Chew, current president of Alpha Beta Epsilon and history PhD student. “This award is testament to the hard work of our faculty advisors and student officers.”

Future history plans

The award includes $250 to purchase books awards for their annual regional conference in the spring. This year, the chapter will also be collaborating with the Pitt Rivers Museum in the United Kingdom, where student members will have an opportunity to conduct archival research on the museum’s Hawaiʻi objects, with the goal of presenting their work at the History of Hawaiʻi exhibition launch in Oxford in the summer.

five people standing behind table
Alpha Beta Epsilon at Welina Mānoa, fall 2022.

“It is a joy and privilege to advise our PAT chapter: a joy because the students have so many great ideas and activities that they plan and run themselves; a privilege because I get to see undergraduate and graduate students developing historical research projects and winning awards locally and nationally,” said faculty advisor Karen Jolly, professor of history. “I learn so much from their insights on history and culture, am impressed with the supportive network they have created for history students, and am therefore confident that the study of history is in good hands for future generations.”

Related UH News story: UH Mānoa history honor society earns national award

This is the fifth time the UH Mānoa chapter has won the Division V Best Chapter Award. Alpha Beta Epsilon was founded by history Professor Robert McGlone, and will celebrate its 40th anniversary in the spring.

Former student officers who contributed to the award were: Joshua Lourence (president), Emily Holmes (vice president), Madison Smith (secretary) and Chelly Ye (treasurer). Alpha Beta Epsilon’s faculty advisors from the UH Mānoa History Department are Professors Jolly and Harrison Kim, with support from lecturers Shirley E. Buchanan (UH Mānoa) and Uluwehi Hopkins (UH West Oʻahu).

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