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English majors to present work at national convention

Feb. 21, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Ten Western Michigan University students, members of Sigma Tau Delta English honor society, have been selected to present their creative and scholarly work at the organization's national convention in Louisville, Ky., in March.

WMU's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta has also been recognized by the national organization as "one of the most active, vital chapters in the country." The chapter has been invited to participate in the Outstanding Chapter exhibition at the national convention March 5-8 to help educate and mentor other chapters.

Sigma Tau Delta has more than 700 chapters in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and inducts more than 8,000 new members each year. The WMU chapter was founded in 2005, and WMU Sigma Tau Deltas have presented at the national conventions in 2006 and 2007.

This year and for the third year in a row all of the WMU students who submitted to present at the annual convention have been accepted. According to the national convention chair, organizers received more submissions this year than in any other year in the convention's history, making it the most competitive selection process to date.

Renowned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is the convention's keynote speaker this year, and writers Naomi Shihab Nye and Kim Edwards also will speak at the convention.

WMU students presenting at national convention

Conor Burke of Fenton, Mich., is a senior majoring in English with a creative writing emphasis. He is an editorial assistant for WMU's literary magazine, Third Coast. He plans to graduate in April and then pursue a master's degree in poetry. His convention piece will be original poetry "I See You as a Wolf."

Jennifer Dempsey of Romeo, Mich., treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta's WMU chapter, plans to graduate in April with a bachelor's degree in creative writing and gender and women's studies. She is the 2008 Presidential Scholar in English and was recently named a fellow in the 2008 Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets at Bucknell University. The senior works as an assistant editor of the WMU undergraduate literary journal, The Laureate, and an editorial assistant of Third Coast literary journal. Her poems have appeared in The Laureate and Redactions Poetry and Poetics. She plans to pursue her Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry this fall. Last year, Dempsey won third place for her original poetry at Sigma Tau Delta's annual convention. This year, she will present "Bathing in Grass" from her honors thesis collection, "Soft Knees: Chapbook of Poetry."

Gregory Flynn of Kalamazoo is an English major with creative writing emphasis, and he plans to graduate in April with minors in Japanese and psychology. The senior is vice president of the WMU Japan Club. He plans to pursue international relations work for the Japanese government after graduation. He will present a short fiction piece, "Satellite Swimmer," at the convention.

Sarah Hercula of Warren, Mich., is a senior majoring in English with a mathematics minor. She serves as secretary of the WMU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and is also involved in Sigma Alpha Iota and the Bronco Marching Band. Hercula plans to graduate in April and attend graduate school or teach at the secondary level. Her choice for the convention is "Bands of White Cloth: Blindness in Ellison's Invisible Man," which explores the motif of perception in Ellison's novel as he uses instances of physical blindness to illustrate his main characters' emotional and social shortcomings.

Dan Kenzie, a senior from Plymouth, Mich., has a double major in English and German with a minor in global and international studies. He is president of WMU's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. His interests include contemporary literature, linguistics, composition and translation theory and politics. Kenzie will present "'If the Name Is Right:' Naming and Identity in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman," an essay that explores how the act of naming relates to the search for meaning and identity in one of Angela Carter's most daring novels.

Caroline Lampinen, of Novi, Mich., a third-year graphic design major is minoring in English and general business. Active in various student groups, she also has been a copy editor for the WMU literary magazine, The Laureate. After graduation, she plans to teach English in Japan before working as a designer in New York or San Francisco. She also hopes to publish a volume of nonfiction. At the convention, Lampinen will present "Alicia," a creative non-fiction piece.

Sara Long of Grand Rapids, Mich., is a senior majoring in English with a minor in communication. She is vice president of the English honor society chapter at WMU and an avid creative writer. She plans to graduate in April, and wants to travel and continue to write. At the convention, she will present "Tram Ride," an original short story she wrote last year while participating in WMU's Prague Summer Program.

Patrick Love of Royal Oak, Mich., is majoring in English for secondary education with a minor in political science. A junior, he plans to teach in the public school system after graduating from WMU and continue his studies in graduate school, specializing in literary criticism and rhetoric. At the convention he will present "Societal Norms in Apocalypse Now," which explores the inner working of society and humanity when laid bare by the conditions of war.

Jessica Rethman of Novi, Mich., is a senior majoring in English with emphasis in creative writing and minors in psychology and philosophy. She plans to graduate in April and continue her creative writing education in graduate school, with the goal of becoming a professor of creative writing. At the convention, she will present original poetry titled "Create/Destroy."

Theresa Thomas, a senior majoring in English from West Bloomfield, Mich., and a double minor in Arabic and comparative religion, is the editor-in-chief of The Laureate, WMU's literary journal, and is public relations officer for Sigma Tau Delta. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master's degree in Arabic sociolinguistics. At the convention, she will present "The Pains in My Stomach," a selection of original poetry.

The faculty advisor for WMU Sigma Tau Delta since its inception in 2005 is Dr. Lisa Minnick, assistant professor of English. She can be reached at lisa.minnick@wmich.edu.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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