College of Arts and Sciences

Sigma Tau Delta Goes to Louisville! And presents eight juried papers, wins one convention award, and has one member elected to a national Student Leadership position.

STDconvention2 Over four days (March 29-April 1, 2017) at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, eight Western Illinois University students—seven undergraduates and one graduate student—presented their critical and creative writing at the juried Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society annual convention. The student presenters were Katelin Deushane, Rebecca Graham (QC), Haley Helgesen, Arielle Henry, Max Keil, Bryce Swain, Rachel Troyer, and Laura Winton (QC).

Five of these students received College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Grants to help fund their trips; Bryce Swain won a Carmelita Teeter Award for her grant application; and Max Keil won a cash prize and Honorable Mention for his critical paper on Frankenstein. During the convention, chapter advisor and Midwestern Regent, Dr. Tim Helwig, along with his wife, Dr. Magdelyn Helwig, moderated and chaired panels, and led the students to a chapter dinner of delicious artisan pizza. Additionally, our Phi Delta chapter received a plaque for our 75th anniversary; our chapter at WIU was founded in 1941, making it one of the oldest chapters in the nation.

Of special importance, at the Midwestern Regional Caucus, junior English major Arielle Henry was elected by the 30 chapters from the Midwest to serve as the 2017-2018 Associate Student Representative, and will help to represent students throughout seven states. Arielle follows in the footsteps of outgoing Student Representative Haley Helgesen, who was elected to her position at last year’s convention in Minneapolis.

We hope next year’s members of Sigma Tau Delta will follow these students’ impressive lead and present their work at the convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, in March 2018.

Here senior and Film minor Rachel Troyer shares reflections on her convention experience:

“The 2017 Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Louisville was my first academic convention and paper presentation. We were surrounded by people from around the world who share a passion for the English language and literature, ranging from texts like Frankenstein to Harry Potter. I presented my critical film paper, ‘Smoke Signals’ Deeper Meaning,’ to a room of fellow classmates and film enthusiasts. The audience engaged with my paper and the other well-crafted pieces presented under the theme of ‘Limitations in Film.’ The thoughtful questions from the audience and their passion about critical analysis made for an enriching experience.

“I also went to the panels and paper presentations of my fellow chapter members. They covered nonfiction, fiction, and critical essays about classic and contemporary literature. The diverse presentations left me wanting to continue working on my writing skills and to read the vast amounts of classics that they covered. The environment was one of true community, where people unashamedly shared their bad poetry at the Bad Poetry Contest and dressed up as hobbits and Marvel characters for the Sigmacon.

“Overall, the experience, despite some stage fright before my panel, exposed me to the amazing academic work of my peers. It was the perfect way to end my undergraduate career: four days filled with books, Starbucks, horrible poetry, trivia, papers about Hogwarts, and 12 hours of Broadway music in the car.”

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