Hey, You! Graduate Student! Do You Want Some Scholarship Money?

Scholarship Cat NapAh, graduate school—that magical time in your life when you devote so much of yourself to scholarship that rather than sleeping in your bed you tend to fall asleep on your keyboard instead (if, of course, your cat doesn’t get to the keyboard first). If, like me, you are a graduate student, you are probably very tired. I can empathize! Whether you’re at the beginning of your graduate school journey, nearing the end of it, or somewhere in the middle, your to-do list for this week is probably overwhelming. Technically you don’t even have time to read this blog post (but please do so anyway!). The last thing you need right now is another task added to your plate.

Stop right there and take a deep breath. I know finding the time is difficult, but I’m going to tell you right now that carving out a couple of hours to apply for a Sigma Tau Delta Graduate Scholarship is worth it. Here’s why:

1. You Deserve It!

You work very hard as a graduate student and you deserve to be rewarded for your hard work! Scholarships like this one allow you to show off who you are and what you have accomplished in your graduate school career; winning an award means a committee saw your work and believed your future work was worth funding—and it is! If you don’t apply, you don’t have the chance to show them that.

2. It Won’t Take as Much Time as You Think

Applying for scholarships may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. You are a graduate student; you’ve written essays before, and because you love English as much as the rest of us you probably know how to write a really good one by now! Spend an evening crafting your essay and your personal statement. I know you don’t want to skip out on taking your evening nap (again), but you’ll survive without one nap. Skipping that one nap can be worth up to $4,000. That’s worth the trade-off.

3. If You Don’t Win a Graduate Scholarship, You Can Still Receive a Regents’ Scholarship

Graduate Scholarship MoneyDid you know that even if you don’t win a Graduate Scholarship, you still have a chance at a Regents’ Scholarship? According to the scholarship guidelines, “The highest scoring full-time status scholarship applicant in each region who does not receive another scholarship is automatically considered for a Regents’ Scholarship.” These awards are smaller than the Graduate Scholarship awards, but wouldn’t you still like to have $1,000? I know I would!

4. No Sigma Tau Delta Chapter? No Problem!

It’s a blow to any active Sigma Tau Delta member to arrive at your new graduate program only to learn your university doesn’t have an active Sigma Tau Delta chapter. If your graduate institution doesn’t have a chapter but you were a member of the Society at your undergraduate school you are still eligible for an Alumni Epsilon scholarship! You must be an Alumni Epsilon member in good standing at the time of your application and if you are awarded this scholarship you could receive up to $2,500! And why haven’t you gotten the ball rolling yet on starting a charter for your new school?

5. More Scholarship Money = Less Time Spent Paying Off Loans

You’ve been in school for quite some time now. Unless you’re really lucky, you’ve more than likely taken out loans at some point in your career to help pay for your tuition. Depending on how quickly you find a job after graduation, what kind of job you get, what your living situation is, and other factors that impact your financial situation, it can take quite a long time just to pay off a few thousand dollars. If you won up to $4,000, though, that could take months or even years off of the amount of time you spend paying off loans. A few hours of your time for that much extra peace of mind? Yes, please!Graduate Scholarship

6. Worst-Case Scenario, You’ve Only Lost a Few Hours of Your Time

Part of the reason you’re probably hesitant to apply for scholarships is because you don’t feel you have a great chance of winning. It’s true that not everyone will win a scholarship. The thing is, though, if you don’t apply, then you definitely won’t win a scholarship. Toss your hat in the ring! Any chance is better than no chance!

As a graduate student, you have a lot on your plate. I know you’re tired, but this is a chance you can take that can truly pay out in the end. And then, once you’re done with your application, you can still take that nap of your dreams. Why not give it a try?

Resources

Scholarship Eligibility Criteria
Graduate Scholarship
Alumni Epsilon Scholarship
Scholarship Application
Application Essay Prompt

Sigma Tau Delta’s Featured Graduate Programs

Department of English at Northern Illinois University
Master of Arts in English at Fort Hayes State University
Master of Arts in English at Azusa Pacific University
Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at The University of Alabama
Master of Arts in English at The University of North Carolina Wilmington
Department of English at The University of Kentucky
Master of Liberal Arts / Master of Teaching Writing at Auburn University at Montgomery
Master of Arts in English at Western Illinois University
Master of Arts in English at University of Southern Indiana2017 Sigma Tau Delta Convention Sponsors


Amber M. Rose
Student Representative, Far Western Region, 2016-2017
Alpha Nu Beta Chapter
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning Chapter Events

Sometimes planning chapter events can be a daunting task. There are so many possibilities! How do you narrow them down? How do you know that people are actually going to enjoy the activities you plan? What if you pick the wrong ones? What do you do?

Not to worry! Take some time to analyze your wants, your needs, and your chapter’s past activities, and you’ll be on the right track! When brainstorming, ask yourself these five questions:

1. What Do You Want to Do?

This is your chapter. If something sounds fun to you, give it a try! Have you always wanted to participate in a book exchange? Throw one around the holidays! Is there a book you really want to read and talk about with others? Hold a reading group! Use your imagination; the possibilities are endless!

2. What Has the Chapter Done in the Past?

Sometimes you can gain a lot of inspiration from those who led the chapter before you arrived. If there are chapter traditions that everyone loves, go ahead and keep them up! You can also improve upon old traditions: if that Tuesday evening meeting time hasn’t been working for a lot of people, you can always move it to Wednesday if that works better for everyone.

3. What Can You Do to Get Faculty Involved?

Planning Chapter EventsYou don’t have to restrict your events to students; getting the faculty to join in on the fun can be great, too! For instance, Alpha Tau Phi (U. of Oregon, Eugene), often holds multiple Faculty Firesides per term, which are events where students spend an hour talking with a featured faculty member about their research, teaching, their life, their favorite TV shows, and whatever else happens to come up. This is a great way for students to get to know their professors outside of class, and it can also build professional relationships with people who can become influential to a student’s future. Faculty love to interact with their students, and if you ask nicely they’d probably love to participate in your events!

4. What Nearby Locations Would Be Great Event Spots?

Why keep all of your events on-campus? If there’s a great literary spot nearby, you can take the opportunity to make a chapter event around that location. For instance, Alpha Tau Phi, in conjunction with the University of Oregon English Undergraduate Organization (EUO), organizes an annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR, every year to see a play together. This partnership has allowed dozens of chapter members to attend wonderful plays such as The Tempest, Pericles, and Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, at no cost. You can also ask your Faculty Sponsor to help you navigate university transportation options—maybe you’ll be able to use the university carpool at a very small cost!Planning Chapter Events

5. Are You Still Having Fun?

Once again, this is YOUR chapter. If that monthly meetup to talk about what everyone has read this month that everyone loved three years ago feels like it has run its course, you can cut it. Traditions can change; the longevity of a once-beloved activity does not justify keeping it on the schedule once it has become more of a chore than a fun event. Ultimately, these events are supposed to be enjoyable for you and your fellow chapter members.

Keep these five steps in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to planning great events throughout the year!

What fun activities has your chapter done?

Resources for Planning Chapter Events


Amber RoseAmber M. Rose
Far Western Associate Student Representative, 2015-2017
Alpha Tau Phi Chapter
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

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