Nine Students Participate in Honor Society Conference

english  conf  conf

By Emily Hollenbach ‘18

In early March 2016, Minneapolis was flooded with literary enthusiasts from all over the country for the annual convention
of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society. Nine members of Marist’s chapter of the organization attended,
along with faculty advisor Dr. Michelle Smith.

The convention highlights outstanding undergraduate academic and creative writing. Marist students Kimberly Poss ’16,
Paige Moran ’17, Sara Smilowitz ’16, and Natalie Zaleski ’16 presented academic papers on subjects ranging from
Shakespearean analysis, to film adaptation, to feminist rhetoric. Fiction and nonfiction pieces were presented by
Emily Hollenbach ’18, Rachel Karach ’16, Krista Rivera ’16, and Derek Rose ’16, while Erin Kane ’16 moderated a
nonfiction writing panel.

conf  Dr. Smith had helped the students prepare for their presentations by
  hosting a dinner at her home before the conference in which students
  had the chance to practice their delivery and receive tips from Dr. Smith
  and another English faculty member, Dr. Lea Graham. While in Minneapolis,
  the students supported one another by attending every Marist panel as a
  group. They also enjoyed the opportunity to hear presentations by
  renowned writers such as Kao Kalia Yang and representatives from
  publishers such as Milkweed Editions.

  Derek Rose explained that participating in the panels helped him feel
  more connected to the writing community: “Writing is usually a lonely
task. This convention, however, reminded me that there are people out  there who want to read your work, who will connect
with it, and who will feel something because of it.” He was also impressed by other writers’ willingness to share challenging
ideas: “The creative nonfiction session I attended showed me how courageous some writers are. I tend to hide behind the
veneer of fictional characters in my work, so to see people baring themselves to an audience was really inspiring.”

Natalie Zaleski, who serves as Vice President of Marist’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter, found similar grounds for motivation
at the conference: “This experience had inspired me to write more freely. It reminded me of my love of telling stories and
sharing words with people. I also grew to appreciate the process and the result of academic writing in a new light. There is
so much value in exchanging ideas about literature and classic characters and I'm so glad I got the chance to participate in
that conversation.”