Iona University History Students Recognized for Outstanding Research at Regional Conference

Eamon Kobel ’24 and Emily Varker ’23 both won awards at the Phi Alpha Theta New York-New Jersey Regional Conference for their academic research on Vikings

Academics News, Student Success

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Iona University students Eamon Kobel ’24 and Emily Varker ’23 left their mark at the Phi Alpha Theta New York-New Jersey Regional Conference, taking home awards for their outstanding research paper presentations. Kobel won third place for the best paper delivered at the conference, and Varker received an honorable mention for her paper.

The opportunity was made possible by Michael J. Hughes, Ph.D., chair of the History Department, who arranged for the group of students to present at the conference.

Most of the students, including the award winners, presented research on Vikings that they completed in their HST 301 class, "The Study of History," taught by Daniel Thiery, Ph.D., professor of medieval history.

“Our students did a fantastic job and they represented Iona very well,” Hughes said. “Six students in total presented their research and they were all impressive. I was incredibly proud of them.”

Phi Alpha Theta is an academic honor society for colleges and universities "whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians." The conference took place at Dominican University on April 29.

“This event shows that our students are producing quality research in our classes and that they are participating in valuable experiences that will prepare them for careers inside and outside of academia,” Hughes said. “It was a great day!”

Students and Dr. Hughes in toy Viking helmets at the conference.

The History Department provided toy Viking helmets to celebrate the students' accomplishments, demonstrating that Iona students and faculty have a sense of humor and have opportunities to enjoy themselves while engaging in important scholarly endeavors.

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.