UND student’s award-winning paper examines founding of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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College of Arts & Sciences


Joseph A. Camisa, Jr., a doctoral student in the UND Department of History, has won the 2011-12 Merrifield Competition.

His winning paper, "Automobiles, Ranching, and North Dakota's Favorite Son: How Environmental Conditions of 1920s Fostered a North Dakota National Park Movement," examined the history and founding of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Camisa is originally from New York City and has lived in North Dakota since 2008. His undergraduate and graduate degrees were completed at Central Michigan University. Prior to enrolling at UND, he worked for the National Park Service in a variety of capacities at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Eisenhower National Historic Site and Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. His research interests include 19th century transportation history and the American Civil War.

Named in honor of Webster Merrifield, UND's first librarian and third president, the Merrifield Competition awards a $1,000 scholarship for the most outstanding student research paper utilizing historic documents from the Chester Fritz Library's Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections. The competition is sponsored by special collections, the history department and the Department of Geography.

A five-member jury reviewed the papers submitted for the competition. The jury consisted of Curt Hanson, head of special collections; Caroline Campbell, history; Matthew Notbohm, accountancy; Eric Wolfe, English; and Deborah Worley, Educational Leadership. The papers were judged on quality of research, clarity of thesis and conclusion, writing skill and the investigation of primary sources.