UMass Dartmouth Student to Present at Undergraduate Research Symposium at Mississippi State University

Student Ian O'Connor to Present at History Conference this May on Research of Kennedy Administration and Origins of the Vietnam War

UMass Dartmouth sophomore Ian O'Connor, of Worcester, MA, has been selected to present at the 6th Annual Symposium for History Undergraduate Research (SHUR), May 2-3, 2014, hosted by Mississippi State University. In UMass Dartmouth History Professor Mark Santow's Research Seminar on America in the 60s, Ian, a political science major with a history minor, has researched President John F. Kennedy and the origins of the Vietnam War. Ian's particular focus is on a little known battle's potential policy implications within the Kennedy Administration preceding the more than decade long war. 

On January 2, 1963 a battle was fought at the village of Ap Bac in South Vietnam between the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam and Vietcong forces. Ian's research investigates the link between the loss at the battle of Ap Bac and the foreign policy decisions of the Kennedy administration that led to the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam in the final year of his presidency. 

"While few may have heard of the battle it may have had serious implications on the Kennedy administration's thinking in 1963 and ultimately helped put in place policies that would help escalate the Vietnam War," said Ian. "The battle was a major loss for South Vietnam and may have changed American involvement in the war. I will be examining our strategy before and after the battle to see if it changed the Kennedy administration's thinking about Vietnam or if it contributed to the over throw of Diem in November of 1963."

The History Department at Mississippi State University invited undergraduate scholars to submit papers for the SHUR to provide students with the opportunity to present and discuss their work in the format of an academic history conference. The theme of the symposium is "Reconnecting the Dots: Fresh Perspectives on History". 

UMass Dartmouth's Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) promotes undergraduate research, supports student-researchers, and disseminates the products of student research. The drive for seeking knowledge, embodied in all members of the UMass Dartmouth community, is a signature component of the university's educational experience and research is the expression of this search. OUR offers awards for the fall and spring semester to help support student research projects.  Undergraduate students in any department at UMass Dartmouth, who are engaged in original research under the guidance of a faculty member, are eligible.

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