The 2020 American Independence Awards, sponsored by the Alabama Society of The National Society of Colonial Dames in America (NSCDA), proceeded in March in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Alabama Society was not able to host its traditional awards luncheon, it judged the historical essays submitted by Samford students and presented cash awards of more than $5,000.
The 2020 honors included:
1st Holly Vlach (history,) A Single Spark: How the Burning of the HBM Gaspee Flamed Discussions on the Colonial Judicial Process. Vlach, a University Fellows honor student and John Howard Scholar, also earned first place in the 2019 competition. The graduating senior hopes to earn her doctorate in American intellectual history and become a professor.
2nd Sarah Schansberg (history/classics,) The Principled and Significant Moderate: John Dickinson.
3rd Max Willinger (history,) Joseph Story: A Justice Lost in Time.
4th Sam Bartz (history,) American Revolutionary War Medicine: Conflict, Espionage, and Intrigue. Bartz, a University Fellows honors student and John Howard Scholar, will attend the University of Tennessee College of Law after graduating from Samford in May.
5th Drayton Cullen (history/classics,) Voices from the Past: Classical Themes in American Foundational Discussion. The graduating Samford Ambassador plans to enter the Masters of Global Policy program at the University of Texas-Austin.
6th Melanie Hancock (history,) Southern Belle Turned Patriot Activist: The Story of Octavia Walton Le Vert and Mount Vernon. Hancock hopes to move to Washington, D.C., after graduating in May, and work for a museum or university advancement office.
Honorable Mention Audrey Blount (political science,) Founding of Representative Government in Northern America: An Overview of the History.
Honorable Mention Mallory McKinnon (history,) Mercy Otis Warren: The Legacy of Anti-Federalism and the Revolutionary Mind.
The 44 societies and 15,000 members of the NSCDA promote appreciation for the people, places and events that led to the formation and development of the U.S., and provide leadership in the field of historic preservation, restoration and the interpretation of historic sites. For more than 60 years, the organization has worked to honor outstanding historical research by Samford undergraduate students.