Nine Students Present at English Honor Society Conference
In mid-March, nine students temporarily left frigid New York and travelled to Albuquerque, New
Mexico,for the 2015 International Convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor
society. Accompanied by Assistant Professor of English Michelle Smith, the students attended
four days' worth of panels featuring outstanding scholarly and creative work produced by
undergraduates from across the U.S. and beyond. The convention also featured networking events,
leadership workshops, and keynote speeches from literary luminaries such as Gary Soto, Simon Ortiz,
and Leslie Marmon Silko.
Equally important, the students had the chance to present
their own work to a broader audience. Prior to their departure
for Albuquerque, students were mentored in their presentation
strategies by Dr. Smith (pictured at right) in a dinner at a fellow
professor's home so that students could practice their delivery
in an informal and collegial setting. The trip also gave students
experience in the process of securing funding for professional
purposes; with guidance from their faculty mentors, the students
successfully secured funding from several campus sources.
According to Melissa Mandia '17, the conference not only fueled her
interest in language and literature, but also provided insights about
her peers at other colleges and universities: "Meeting students from
around the country in an academic environment broadened my horizons
as to what college students around the country are studying and I hope
to return to the conference in the future." Indeed, two of the participating
students had previously presented work at the 2014 Sigma Tau Delta
conference in Savannah, Georgia. Drawing from that experience, they
were able to offer their peers helpful advice and logistical guidance.
"Getting up and presenting in front of a panel of peers as well as
professors and learned spectators, then afterwards fielding questions made me want to learn more about my topic
as an expert," recalled Bernadette Hogan '17. Beyond particular skills, the experience gave her an opportunity to see
herself in a new light: "Overall the conference was such an exciting experience to be a part of because it made me
think about my future in a legitimate sense."