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Student history journal named best in nation

Sacramento State's history journal "Clio" was awarded first place in the 2022 Nash History Journal Prize national competition. Pictured: Tahoe Hall, which houses the History department, whose graduate students researched and edited the award-winning journal. (Sacramento State file/Andrea Price)
A portrait of Andrew Shimizu, co-editor of Sacramento State's history journal Clio.
Co-editors of Clio, Sacramento State's student-run history journal, Andrew Shimizu, pictured, and Amber Verdugo were among a group of graduate students whose hard work paid off when the publication took home top honors in the 2022 Nash History Journal Prize national competition. (Courtesy Andrew Shimizu)

Amber Verdugo, busy working on her master’s degree in History, needed an easy elective. She thought working on the student-run History journal Clio would be one.

She was wrong.

“There are, especially at the end, a lot of hours,” said Verdugo, who was convinced to serve as co-editor with fellow student Andrew Shimizu. “Like, I've already read this essay 20 times, but I need to go through it again and make sure that all those citations, every single period (are) exactly where (they’re) supposed to be.”

Those long hours paid off. Clio recently was named the nation’s top graduate student journal in the Nash History Journal Prize competition, sponsored annually by the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society.

The journal placed first in 2018 and second in 2019 and 2020.

Those earlier issues were “really good, and so I wouldn’t say we did anything better than those (editions), because we learned from previous years,” said Shimizu, a master’s in Public History student. “It was a big relief, but then also a sense of accomplishment."

Clio features academic research from 10 Sacramento State graduate students, undergraduates, and alumni, plus book reviews. The research covers topics ranging from the racial implications of zombie movies, to the impact of errors in 19th-century U.S. census counts, to an exploration of 17th-century Baroque Polish art.

Verdugo says the breadth of the research makes Clio stand out from journals that focus on one specific topic or research area.

Shimizu said being published in the journal benefits students beyond providing an entry on their resume or C.V.

“It's a great opportunity to test yourself, to submit something, to work really hard to submit something that other people will see,” he said.

For Verdugo and Shimizu, reading the 23 submissions, whittling them down to the 10 selected, and then editing them multiple times came with its own benefits.

“You get to see so many different styles of writing, so many different ways of approaching an argument, and then really critique sentence structure, word choice, the layout of the paragraphs, and whether they're making their argument strongly enough,” Verdugo said. “Doing that for other people made me have a more critical eye on my own writing as well.”

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About Jonathan Morales

Jonathan Morales joined the Sac State communications team in 2017 as a writer and editor. He previously worked at San Francisco State University and as a newspaper reporter and editor. He enjoys local beer, Bay Area sports teams, and spending time outdoors with his family and dog.

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