Celtic Country English Students Participate in 2018 International Convention

Angel Barker and Anna Havrilla -

Literature, authorship, and an appreciation for the written word could not be more alive on Carlow University's campus.

 

Sigma Tau Delta logo

This past March two students from Carlow's Alpha Nu Theta chapter of the International English Honors Society participated in the annual convention in Cincinnati, OH. Karlee Arendt and Alese Gwinn represented Celtic Country at the 2018 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention and it is safe to say nerves may have filled the ride across state lines, but success and literary love overflowed on the way home.

Carlow Students Attend International Convention

Carlow University students attending Sigma Tau Delta's 2018 International Convention in Cincinnati, OH just may be some of the most excited readers and writers around. It would be easy to assess their trip by saying the delegation had a swell time, but in truth, the group experienced more than they expected. For Karlee Arendt it was more than just finally having her presentation behind her. Not only was her paper well received, but the initial question and answer section was directed immediately her way; "the first 3 questions were directly at me about the thoughts on my paper, which was awesome. It reassured me that they really liked my paper, and the other panelists said they really liked it too, which was also cool." Evidently, despite the pre-convention anxiety, Arendt was well prepared, showing that hours of revisions on a paper once believed to be just an assignment can turn into the opportunity of a lifetime.

Karlee was not the only student from Carlow that participated in the convention in Cincinnati, though. Senior English major Alese Gwinn also applied to be a chair of a session and went for it with little hesitation. It was an experience that may have also been nerve-wracking going into, but ultimately one that Gwinn feels, if given the chance, she would participate in all over again.

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(from left to right, Dr. Anne Rashid (Sigma Tau Delta faculty advisor), Taylore Nacey (English/Psychology major), Alese Gwinn (English major and panel chair at the conference), Karlee Arendt (English/History major and conference presenter), Anna Havrilla (English major and social media intern), Dr. Sigrid King) 

There seems little need to decipher each of the attendees' answers to what their favorite part of the experience turned out to be, however. All four students, Karlee Arendt, Alese Gwinn, Taylore Nacey, and Anna Havrilla were all abundantly clear that the late night "Bad Poetry"  contest was the event they fell in love with. Students participating read either poems they had written or poems they had found and knew needed to be shared with the Sigma Tau Delta community, in what has turned into a traditional event of the worst poetry imaginable. Current members of chapters participated as well as members of the Alumni Epsilon Chapter and even some advisors. According to the students, the peanut gallery-the entire reading was constantly flooded with the world's best worst literary puns of the 21st Century-was the best part.

Carlow University's English Honors Society Alpha Nu Theta

The active chapter of Sigma Tau Delta on Carlow University's campus is Alpha Nu Theta. Carlow's chapter has been a part of the International organization for 13 years, starting in 2005. Membership of Alpha Nu Theta and its parent organization, Sigma Tau Delta, is a lifelong opportunity open to students from all majors and interests.

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Anna Havrilla in the audience waiting to hear Karlee's paper 

Although current student membership has fluctuated throughout those 13 years, the consistent desire to continue spreading literature appreciation has never faltered. Whether it is through attending annual conferences available regionally, nationally, or internationally, members have been actively advocating for the veneration of literature in all capacities. At the

campus level, Alpha Nu Theta has participated in hosting the English and Theatre Department's annual Halloween costume party, where attendees dress as their favorite literary characters, as well as hosted film viewings, sponsored readings, and speakers of all backgrounds.

Alpha Nu Theta has given students numerous opportunities to give back to the Carlow community and its neighbors, by hosting activities throughout the years on campus. Activities including raising funds for the Edgar Allen Poe House in Baltimore, Maryland, (by organizing and participating in a Game Night in Frances Warde Hall) as well as benefit poetry readings raising funds for organizations like MercyCorps and their efforts in Haiti and Japan. Student members are always seeking new and inventive ways to give back and provide learning opportunities for their peers both involved with English and those unaware of their hidden love of literature.

Going beyond members' communities and participating in Sigma Tau Delta sponsored conventions has been an honor for many of the members of Alpha Nu Theta, including this year's first-time presenter Karlee Arendt and chair Alese Gwinn. A 2011 convention in Pittsburgh featured ten presenters covering works both in creative and critical writing. While attending these conventions, students have an opportunity to hear from featured authors such as Cristina Henrìquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans, and have conversations with the authors as well as participate in discussions about literature and their writing process. The convention has allowed students to see cities across the United States and meet fellow Sigma Tau Delta members active in their communities. Experiences and opportunities such as these are what makes being a member of Sigma Tau Delta so remarkable.

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Group stop at English major Nirvana: the Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio.

Funding for the Convention

For the students attending the convention, funding was made possible through Carlow's  Student Government Association. Taylore Nacey, President of SGA throughout the '17-'18  school year, made it a fairly easy process in ensuring that all students' applications and hotel reservations would be covered. The SGA is the primary benefactor for most clubs on Carlow's  campus, and acquiring funding throughout semesters is a painless experience, according to Nacey.

Funding can be obtained from the SGA through any member of a student organizations submitting " Funding for conferences from SGA can cover hotel costs, limited travel expenses, and registration fees. Sometimes these costs can be fully covered and other times the costs can be partially or mostly covered and would only require some additional funding from the student [organization] typically in the form of fundraising."

Sigma Tau Delta: International English Honors Society

Sigma Tau Delta was originally founded in 1924 as the English Honors Society of Dakota Wesleyan University and is now the International English Honors Society. The club has over 900 active chapters internationally and inducts over 9,000 students annually according to English.org, the official website for Sigma Tau Delta. 

To become a member, a prospective student must have at least a 3.0 grade point average and have taken two English courses outside of the general education requirements. Members of Sigma Tau Delta can receive exclusive scholarships, some of which are valued at $5,000, this includes a merit-based scholarship valued at $1,000. The Honors Society also has many internship opportunities for its members and additional scholarships to help fund the internships themselves. Whether it be through internship or fellowship, the International English Honors Society is a great source for professional connections and opportunity.

If you would like to know more about Sigma Tau Delta, visit http://www.english.org/sigmatd/  

What Is on the Horizon for the English and Theatre Department

This past semester, like so many semesters of college life, has been a vibrant and exciting one with new student experiences as well as countless opportunities. The English and Theatre Department encourage students of all majors and minor interest fields to seek means of which to expand and broaden your scope of knowledge-perhaps even with a membership in Alpha Nu Theta.

 

Carlow University's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta: http://www.carlow.edu/Sigma_Tau_Delta_Honor_Society.aspx

 

 

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