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Sigma Tau Delta News

WIU Students Win First & Third Place in STD Regional Blog Contest

Last year, Haley Helgesen wrote a 3rd place winning blog entry for Sigma Tau Delta’s Midwestern regional blog contest. After much success with that contest, the Midwestern Region put it on again with a different theme of "recreation" that reflects the 2017 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention to be held in Louisville in March. And, once again, two of Western Illinois University’s undergraduate English students won.

A huge congratulations to Max Keil for winning 1st place and Rebecca Graham for winning 3rd place! And special thanks to Tim Helwig, who is the Sigma Tau Delta Midwestern Regent, and Haley Helgesen, who is the Midwestern Region Student Representative.

You can read Max's and Rebecca's pieces and more about the blog contest on Sigma Tau Delta's official blog Wordy by Nature here:

WIU's Phi Delta Chapter Wins International Honor, 2016

STD Award 2016

Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, has named Western Illinois University's Phi Delta Chapter its Outstanding Chapter for the 2014-2015 academic year. The award, which is given each year to no more than three of the society's 875 chapters worldwide, comes with a $500 prize and a $350 travel grant to the society's annual convention.

"Our English majors and minors have worked very hard to achieve this international recognition. Last year, our chapter started two major initiatives, a Midwestern regional fall conference that drew dozens of undergraduates from four states, and an annual department magazine, 'The Mirror and the Lamp,' said Timothy Helwig, WIU associate English professor and chapter adviser. "I believe these new efforts, along with the individual successes of our members, played an important role in winning this award."

WIU's Phi Delta Chapter, comprised of 45 members, is committed to fostering the discipline of English in all its aspects, including critical and creative writing. In addition to its new initiatives, members participated in food drives, book drives and other community events. The chapter also continued its signature event, potluck dinners held each semester at the homes of English faculty, and met to share "literary recipes" from popular novels like the "Harry Potter" series.

Helwig, who also serves as the Midwestern Regent for the international organization, added, "With 145 active chapters in the Midwest and 30 chapters in Illinois alone, I know the competition for this award is very high, and winning speaks volumes about our students' talent and hard work."

Six members presented their work at Sigma Tau Delta's juried convention last year in Albuquerque (NM), and seven members will present their work at this year's convention in Minneapolis (MN), where student president and senior English major Justin Kim, of Deerfield (IL), will receive the award.

"The members of our local chapter have shown a propensity for learning, critical thought and community involvement. I am proud of all the work they have done and undoubtedly will continue to do in the future," said Kim.

In recent years, student members of Sigma Tau Delta have gained acceptance into English graduate programs, secured competitive teaching assistantships and presented and published in peer-reviewed journals their critical essays and creative writing.

finding home English Undergraduate Haley Helgesen Wins 3rd Place in Sigma Tau Delta Midwestern Region Blog Contest.

Sigma Tau Delta's Midwestern Region put on its first blog contest in Fall 2015. WIU's English undergrad, Haley Helgesen, won third place! The theme was "Finding Home" and you can read Haley's piece and more about the blog contest on Sigma Tau Delta's official blog Wordy by Nature here:

Sigma Tau Delta Members Get Published

Amy Fogarty and Brandon Nizzio had their works published in the 2014 edition of EX MEDIO, Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society's peer-reviewed journal for the Midwestern Region. Amy published "This Old House" and "Leopard is Not a Color," and Brandon published "Chased by Loss." Amy is a Journalism major with a Creative Writing minor, and Brandon is an English major with a Creative Writing minor. Here is a link to the online journal:

English Honor Society Wins International Award, 2012

Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society, has named Western Illinois University's Phi Delta chapter one of three Outstanding Chapters worldwide for the 2010-2011 academic year.

"The award comes after a concerted effort to rejuvenate the organization," said Timothy Helwig, WIU English professor and chapter adviser.

Comprised of nine members just a year before, the WIU chapter's number has more than tripled to include 34 students, who are focused on fostering critical thought in the literary discipline and their community.

In addition to participating in food drives, book drives and other community events, the chapter has attracted annual fall speakers to Western to address both the larger student body and the community, including Cincinnati-based freelance writer Judi Ketteler, and Stephen Reichert, founding editor of the national poetry journal "Smartish Pace."

Sigma Tau Delta focuses on scholarly discussion and engagement with literary texts and practices, and has chapters throughout the country.

"With more than 800 chapters worldwide and 26 chapters in Illinois alone, the competition pool is anything but small, and our students officers have done a tremendous job revitalizing the honor society for the department, the college and the University," said Helwig.

The student members of Sigma Tau Delta have gone on to significant individual successes as well, presenting papers at various universities and securing competitive teaching assistantships in graduate school programs, in addition to composing many of their own creative works.

Chapter President Megan Grove will accept the award at the annual conference in February.

Organizations Receive Leadership Awards, 2012

Several Western Illinois University students and student organizations were honored at the recent leadership awards ceremony April 23, 2012.

Through these awards the Office of Student Activities (OSA) at Western acknowledges outstanding student leaders and organizations from across campus who have exemplified what it means to be a leader and a Leatherneck.

"The OSA is excited to honor and acknowledge the work and dedication these students have put forward for the betterment of their organizations and the entire Western Illinois University community," said Michelle L. Harvey, OSA assistant director for leadership and service.

The following groups were recognized:

Outstanding Small Student Organization: Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society

Outstanding Student Organization Faculty/Staff Adviser Award: Timothy Helwig (adviser for Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society).

Award 2011

2011 Award


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