Skip to main content

History major’s research poster on influenza pandemic earns recognition

Share on:

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

NEW WILMINGTON, PA – Dominic Boston, a senior history major, received the Runner-Up Prize for Best Student Research Poster at the Pennsylvania Historical Association (PHA) annual meeting in Lancaster, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Boston, who was a summer 2018 Drinko Research Fellow, presented the preliminary results of his capstone research project which examined the influenza pandemic of 1918.

Through his research, Boston reviewed all the death certificates—more than 6,000—filed in Lawrence County between 1915 and 1920, focusing on those who died from influenza, or pneumonia, during the 1918 pandemic. The 320 women and 369 men who died from influenza during the pandemic amounted to just under one percent of the county’s population.

Boston also analyzed the victims’ personal characteristics so that the pandemic’s impact on Lawrence County might be more fully understood.

A series of faculty members of the PHA from across the state evaluated Boston’s work.

Dr. Angela Lahr, associate professor of history, and Dr. Timothy Cuff, professor of history, served as Boston’s research advisers.

The trip to Lancaster, during which Boston was accompanied by fellow senior history major Peter McMaster, included stops at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg and the Gettysburg battlefield. At the capitol building, the pair met former student and friend of Westminster Christine Filipovich of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Boston anticipates presenting later analyses of his research at future national and regional undergraduate conferences. He is the son of Christine Boston of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Northgate High School.

For more information about the Drinko Summer Research Fellow program, which underwrote much of Boston’s research efforts, contact Dr. Karen Resendes at or Dr. Pamela Richardson at