Winning a Scholarship Allows You to Engage in Scholarship

Shannin Schroederby Shannin Schroeder
Chair, Scholarships and Academic Awards Committee
Southern Arkansas University

Scholarship. For professionals in academia, the word conjures concentrated study and writing, the serious work that defines us as scholars in our fields.

For you as a student, at least during your college career, the term “scholarship” most likely references money. As a member of the English Honor Society, no wonder your thoughts might turn to funding! The amount of scholarships and awards for Sigma Tau Delta members and chapters is approaching $100,000, so there has never been a better time for Sigma Tau Delta members to apply for any and all award amounts for which they are eligible. Even a brief perusal of the organization’s website should leave you feeling excited about the possibilities, from the smallest and easiest to apply for, to the prestigious William C. Johnson $5,000 scholarship, whose application process will ask you to flex your scholarly muscles by submitting a critical essay alongside your carefully-planned application. And the odds are in your favor for winning one of the awards or scholarships up for grabs, since the number of applicants each year is relatively low.

Scholarships allow students to practice the work of our discipline. In other words, such funding supports your efforts in the courses where you learn—in additional to the content itself—how to define yourself as a scholar. Your Sponsors and other professors watch your personal journeys of discovery, and we are reminded of ourselves. We watch as you light up describing the thesis for an upcoming paper. We nod in sympathy as you rail against the critic who clearly has it all wrong and whose article will be the jumping off point for your own defense of your claims. We thrill at the experience of seeing you present those ideas to others, whether in the classroom or at a convention…or in your applications for scholarships.

Ouroboros Dragon

Ouroboros Dragon

Winning a scholarship allows you to engage in scholarship. It is a recursive exercise, an ouroboros bringing you back full circle into the professional life of academia.

Scholarship and Academic Award Applications are currently being accepted through Monday, November 10.

 

“That’s What She Read”: My Summer Internship with Better World Books

Kaitlynn Helmby Kaitlynn Helm
Chi Theta Chapter
West Texas A&M University
Canyon, Texas

I truly encourage all Society members to apply for the summer internship with Better World Books (BWB)! Since BWB adapts projects to you, this internship allows you to bring your strengths and your skill set, at whatever stage you are, to a real world professional environment and lets you see what you are capable of and what you need to work on (and six weeks gives you plenty of time to grow and strengthen current and newly acquired skills).

I first learned about BWB and their internship after my induction into Sigma Tau Delta. Once I knew there was an opportunity to apply for an internship I immediately began working on becoming eligible—which meant hosting a book drive for BWB. My Sponsor was one hundred percent supportive of my goal and of running a book drive and so we made 250 bookmarks that advertised our book drive, set up booths to spread awareness about our partnership with Better World Books, made a video that compiled many different students’ and professors’ feelings about illiteracy and the book drive we were hosting, collected just under 1,000 books, and, finally, organized all of our hard work into an online presentation that became part of my internship application.

Welcome to the office!

Welcome to the Office Package

As my first day approached I was as excited as I was nervous. One of my first favorite experiences that helped calm those nerves was my welcome to the office package—a tote bag, stickers, bookmarks, magnets, a mini drop box, flowers for my desk, and a “That’s what she read” T-shirt. My time at BWB was spent with their Acquisitions Department. I provided research for many projects, proofread and edited miscellaneous documents, redesigned/reformatted documents and presentations, and created documents from scratch to aid the Acquisitions team in the office and at conferences. What I loved most about this internship is that from the beginning BWB stressed that the internship was not just about what I could do for them, but what they could do for me.

Office Picnic at Stone Mountain Park

Office Picnic at Stone Mountain Park

Nearly every week of my stay I had a meeting set up with a different employee who had a lot of experience, a lot of advice, and a lot of insight to share with me. The fact that everyone, from Account Executives to the CEO, made time to sit down with me showed me how much I was valued. Outside of my projects and meetings with employees I attended weekly meetings with the entire Acquisitions team, providing me an understanding of how people communicate within collaborative work settings. To top it all off I was invited to their office picnic at Stone Mountain Park. Not only did I get to interact with my coworkers in a fun, casual setting, but at the raffle they put on I won tickets to a Braves game!

Braves Game - My First Pro Baseball Game!

Braves Game
My First Pro Baseball Game!

Going away party

Going Away Party Cake

In six weeks I learned what I was capable of, saw how to interact and communicate with coworkers in a professional environment, developed skills in research, document design, and proofreading, received valuable advice, and made some great connections and friends. I cannot say thank you enough to BWB and Sigma Tau Delta for offering this opportunity and to my chapter and Sponsors for both helping and supporting me in pursuing this internship. On my last day I was surprised with a going away office party. Over delicious cookie cake we reconnected on how my time at BWB went. I will be taking everything I learned and experienced with me as I continue to grow and pursue my career as well as bringing it all back to my chapter. I hope to show them that we should all be proud of what a degree in English can do and that its worth in the ‘real’ world has no limits. Again, I have to say thank you Sigma Tau Delta and BWB for making this possible for me.

Additional Resources:

Embracing Mistakes: Daniel Mendelsohn and Storytelling

Amy Pollard2014 Convention Story
by Amy Pollard
Vice President, Kappa Upsilon Chapter
Saint Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

I traveled 3,000 miles to Savannah, Georgia . . . to learn that I’d made a mistake.

It was Friday night. I’d just returned from dinner at a South African restaurant with some new friends. The convention program informed me that the guest speaker was widely published and held a Ph.D. in Classics, so I decided to swing by the lecture room and hear what he had to say. Little did I know that the first thing I’d learn was that I’d made a mistake.

Savannah, GeorgiaDaniel Mendelsohn had a clear, eloquent voice that resonated throughout the room. He commanded our attention as he spoke, leaning slightly over the podium and making eye contact. He told us that, as a college student, he made a mistake: he changed his major from Economics to Classics. His parents were confused at the time. Even he was uncertain. There was simply no way of knowing that this “mistake” would lead to a Ph.D. from Princeton and a successful career as an author, essayist, critic, and translator.

As I sat and listened, I realized that I could identify with this mistake. In my freshman year, I switched my major from Criminal Justice to English. Although my friends and family have always been supportive, others questioned this decision—why not criminal justice and law school, as I had originally planned? Why English?

Savannah, Georgia picture 2Coming to Savannah helped me answer that question. As I listened to papers on Dante, Shakespeare, and Ancient Greek literature, I was captivated by the ideas presented and the questions they sparked. Overall, I was energized by the space for creative expression and public discourse that literature seemed to create. The convention reminded me that books are so much more than paper and ink—they are ideas that spark debate, challenge norms, and inspire us to imagine our full potential as human beings.

In fact, what grabbed me about Mendelsohn’s talk—besides the self-deprecating humor and references to Battlestar Galactica—was the storytelling. His retelling of key moments in The Odyssey and Antigone reminded me of the most important reason I decided to study English: I love stories. I love reading, writing, listening, reflecting. Stories have always been a window to the world and to my view of it. That night, Mendelsohn invited me to reconnect with storytelling. He invited me to embrace my “mistake.” He invited me to keep reading, writing, and following my dreams.

Sigma Tau Delta 2015 Convention

Plan now to join over 1,000 Sigma Tau Deltans at our 2015 International Convention, March 18-21 in Albuquerque, NM. Over $10,000 will be awarded for student works presented at the convention. Featured speakers for the 2015 Convention include: Gary Soto, Simon Ortiz, and Leslie Marmon Silko.

Convention Submissions

Paper submissions open on September 29 and close on October 27.
View: Guidelines for Paper Presentations and Roundtable Proposals