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Leia Hastings, right, is pictured with co-panelist Emmanuel Ennin.
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WIU Students Present Graduate Papers at Phi Alpha Theta Conference

April 20, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University Graduate Assistant Leia Hastings, of Macomb, recently won the "Best Graduate Paper" award at the Illinois Regional Phi Alpha Theta Conference.

Hastings, a history graduate student, won with her paper, "Ghost of Tsushima: A Video Game's Potential in an Educational Setting."

"I'm really grateful for getting the opportunity to present my work alongside my co-presenters," said Hastings. "It was a really great experience and I'm so thankful to have received Best Graduate Paper at the conference. It was such a good experience for all of us."

In addition to the paper presentation, WIU History Professor Febe Pamonag moderated a panel of WIU graduate students, titled "Samurai in History and Popular Culture." WIU history graduate students who participated in the panel discussion included Hastings, Emmanuel Ennin, of Ghana, and Zackary Baraglia, of Elmhurst, IL. Ennin presented, "Exploring the Story of Yasuke in Media and Popular Culture" and Baraglia presented "Class and Gender in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962)."

All of the papers presented during the panel were from a graduate seminar taught by Pamonag in Fall 2021. Pamonag was also the faculty sponsor/mentor. Hastings and Ennin were awarded money from the WIU Department of History's Professor Emeritus Fund, to help with conference travel expenses and registration fees.

"It was wonderful to hear the excellent research in which Western Illinois students are engaged," said Olivet Nazarene University Assistant Professor Kyle Robertson, who organized the conference. "We were very impressed and many remarked on how fascinating the panel was. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of further collaborations between us across state."

The conference was held March 26 at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.

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