NSU English students share work at honor society conference

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University students presented research and creative work on Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society’s Southern Regional Conference. The conference was held virtually and hosted by the society’s Alpha Upsilon Phi chapter at the University of North Georgia.

Students from over 10 universities and colleges presented their work. NSU’s participation included presentations by six current students:

  • Abbey Broussard, a Louisiana Scholars’ College student majoring in secondary education and teaching, presented “’The Truth’s superb surprise’: True Religion in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson,” originally developed in a course with Dr. Shane Rasmussen.
  • Carly Chandler, an undergraduate majoring in English and the current president of NSU’s Nu Iota chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, presented “Examining Human Exceptionalism through Poetry,” part of her senior project completed under the direction of Dr. Sarah McFarland.
  • Catelyn Errington, a student in the five-year dual degree program offered by Louisiana Scholars’ College and NSU’s English department, presented “That’s All That Love Is,” a short story developed under the mentorship of Dr. Rebecca Macijeski.
  • Holly Penta, a Louisiana Scholars’ College student majoring in child and family studies, presented “Feminist Rhetoric in Disney’s Frozen,” a selection from her senior thesis, under the direction of Dr. T. Davina McClain.
  • Meilyn Woods, a Louisiana Scholars’ College student majoring in liberal arts, presented “Father Figure,” a creative work developed in a course with Dr. J. Andrew Briseño and under the mentorship of Shea Montgomery.
  • Charles Sorce, a graduate student in the Master of Arts in English program, presented “The Continuum of Otherness: Titus Andronicus and Representations of Race,” developed in a course by Dr. Lilly Berberyan and under the mentorship of Dr. J. Ereck Jarvis.
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Louisiana Scholars’ student Meghan Quagliano was also accepted to the conference, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was unable to present her paper “Islam in the Inferno.” 

The Sigma Tau Delta Southern Regional Conference follows the model of academic conferences, which are integral to the vitality and development of scholarly research.

“The Sigma Tau Delta Southern Regional Conference continues to offer students from across the region and beyond the opportunity to share their work in a friendly environment,” said Leigh Dillard, Southern regent for Sigma Tau Delta and faculty director of the conference. “Year after year, the mix of critical and creative panels provides an engaging exchange of ideas. Although we do miss certain aspects of the face-to-face interaction, the virtual platform allows for more students, faculty and friends to participate.” Dillard is associate professor of English at the University of North Georgia.

“Even though the conference was virtual, there was a sense of community and connection between the presenters,” Penta said. “Many of the presentations had similar themes, and at least for me, listening to the others gave me some good ideas to further my own research.”

Dr. J. Ereck Jarvis, co-advisor of NSU’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter and assistant professor of English at NSU, solicited students’ participation in the event and worked with students to prepare for the conference.

“We met together on Zoom before the conference to build community and to discuss procedures,” Jarvis said. “Several of the students requested a trial run, so we met again so they could practice delivering a virtual presentation.”

Students find the experience energizing, Jarvis said.

“Listening to and presenting alongside other college students from around the South, including some of my NSU classmates, was a humbling and motivating experience,” said Broussard. “They set the bar high with their enthusiasm and dedication to English, and it was very rewarding to be a part of that.”

This is the third time Jarvis has overseen NSU’s participation in the regional conference. He and three undergraduates travelled to Gainesville, Georgia, in October 2018, when the event was held in person. The October 2020 virtual conference saw participation by five NSU students as well as one alum. The 2021 event’s schedule and abstracts of all student presentations are available online.