May 17, 2012—Alexis Smith of Oak Lawn was awarded the James Henry Breasted 1890 Outstanding Major in History Award for 2012 during Honors Day May 15 at North Central College.
She is the daughter of Robert and Susan Smith and a graduate of Oak Lawn Community High School. A year ago Smith was honored with the College’s 2011 Outstanding Major in Social Science/History Award. Smith is a senior majoring in history and plans to pursue graduate studies in American history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She intends to research borderlands and how race, identity and the environment shaped interactions.
At North Central, Smith participated in the College Scholars Honors Program and was active with the History Book Club. She was awarded a Richter Research Grant and completed work in religious studies while studying abroad in Greece for four months. She presented research at the College’s Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research and at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in 2011 at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y., and in 2012 at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
She interned for Stephen Maynard Caliendo, professor of political science at North Central College and author of the books, “Inequality in America: Race, Poverty and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise” and “Teachers Matter: The Trouble with Leaving Political Education to the Coaches.”
“Having an opportunity to work with experts in your field and specialize in areas that interest you is unique. That’s what I gained at North Central,” Smith said. “My experiences with the history department have absolutely changed my life. You matter here.”
The award for outstanding major in history is named for James Henry Breasted, an 1890 alumnus of North Central College who was a widely known member of the University of Chicago faculty and founded the Oriental Institute. Breasted was a pioneering archeologist who was featured on the cover of Time magazine and is widely believed to be the real-life inspiration for the Indiana Jones character portrayed by Harrison Ford in the series of Steven Spielberg movies.