Oswego, N.Y. - The top three student historians have been chosen to compete in ‘Student Night,' during the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego.

Come out to support the candidates and hear presentations from Oswego, N.Y. native Shannon Cilento; Anastasia Garceau, from Latham, N.Y;. and Nicole Bronsted Wagner of Greeneville, TN. The contest begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17 to kick off the fifth annual event which continues through Sunday, April 19. Admission for the student competition is free and light refreshments will be served.

"This competition gives the historians of tomorrow an opportunity to have their work critiqued by the world's top experts and participate in one of the top three War of 1812 conferences in the U.S. and Canada," said Matthew MacVittie, coordinator of the student competition.

Shannon Cilento will present her paper, "From Rebels to Patriots: Governor Daniel D. Tompkins and the Involvement of Oswego in the War of 1812."

Cilento is a senior at SUNY Oswego with a double major in Anthropology and Global and International Studies, with a minor in Museum Studies. She will attend Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. this fall to pursue a master's degree in Historic Preservation Planning and is currently working as an intern at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in Oswego, N.Y.

Anastasia Garceau will discuss how the War of 1812 has been commemorated in the U.S., Canada and England with her presentation, "The War of 1812: How is it Remembered?" She will touch on memorial services, monuments, battle re-enactments, art and history exhibits, conferences, publications and more.

Garceau is a graduate student at SUNY Albany where she is pursuing her master's degree in the Public History program. She received her bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Russian, participated at a dig site in Schoharie County, and interned in the Anthropology and History departments with the New York State Museum.

Nicole Bronsted Wagner presents, "Defenders of Beauty and Booty: The Politicization of Rape, Plunder and Formation of American Identity during the War of 1812." Her topic focuses on the interactions between gender and violence and offers a deeper understanding of masculinity and American identity in early 19th century America.

Bronsted Wagner graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in History and is now working toward her M.A. in American History with a concentration on the War of 1812 at the University of North Georgia. She is currently employed at Tusculum College in Tennessee and serves as president of the Honors Advisory Council for the honors program at the University of North Georgia.

An international jury of renowned historians will decide the winning presentation immediately following the competition. They include one of Canada's foremost experts on the War of 1812, Donald Graves from Upper Canada, Ontario; Dr. Donald Hickey from Wayne State College in Nebraska; Dr. Jane Errington from Queen's University and Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Dr. Richard Barbuto from the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and Matthew MacVittie from the Seward House Museum, Auburn, N.Y.

The candidates will be awarded one of three cash prizes: $300, $250 and $200 depending on their placement. In addition, all three will receive free admission to the remainder of the symposium and take home certificates, autographed books from the judges, and gift bags.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, nine renowned historians will explore a variety of topics about this chapter in history. In addition to the judges, they include Sandy Antal from Cameron, Ontario, Canada; Dr. Gary M. Gibson from Sackets Harbor, N.Y.; Walter Lewis, from Edvystone, Ontario, Canada; Col. Clayton Nans from Sackets Harbor, N.Y. and Dr. Peter Rindlisbacher from Katy, TX.

Registration for both days is $75 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID. The registration fee includes Saturday's lunch, refreshment breaks on Saturday and Sunday and workshop materials. One-day registration is also available: $50 for Saturday including lunch, or $25 for Sunday. For students with a valid ID, one-day rates are $23 for Saturday, including lunch or $12 for Sunday.

The symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, Oswego County Today, City of Oswego, www.visitoswegony.com, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

For a complete schedule or to register for the symposium, call 315-343-4711 or go to www.fortontario.com. For visitor information, contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322 or go to www.visitoswegocounty.com.


###