Winning an Internship with About.com

Kelsey PotterKelsey Potter
2015 Sigma Tau Delta Summer Internship Stipend Recipient
Delta Epsilon Upsilon Chapter
The University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

About.com is a website you probably frequent. With over 3.5 million credible articles from knowledgeable experts, About.com often is one of the first websites to populate with a Google search. This summer, I had the fantastic opportunity to work as a public relations intern with About.com, and it was a life-changing experience. Because of Sigma Tau Delta’s Summer Internship Stipend, I was able to afford the costly move north to New York City, and I am so grateful to have spent my summer there.

One awesome thing about my internship was the location. Every morning I rode the 6 and S trains down to the About.com office in the center of Times Square along Broadway, right beside the Good Morning America studio. My desk was by the window where throughout the day I could peek outside to see the excited crowds gathered below. Once I saw a performance with dogs jumping into giant pools of water, and the next day, a live airing of a cooking competition—all from my window!

about.comI am an English and Integrated Strategic Communication double major, and my internship was a perfect blend of what I’ve learned at the University of Kentucky. The company was not advertising for interns on their website, so I submitted my resume through the “If you don’t see a position that interests you, click here to let us know how you can make a difference at About.com” section. My initiative was successful and I was off to New York.

At About.com, I flexed my writing skills by creating blog posts and researching the field to create an internal newsletter. I aided in event planning and working with clients, and offered my input on future projects. Working for such a large company was daunting, but I always felt my opinion was valued, and my two supervisors were great about keeping me involved and informed. Working at About.com gave me a perfect view into what I could do once I graduate, and without Sigma Tau Delta’s stipend, I never would have been able to afford the cost of living in the city to participate in the internship.

Playbill CollageAfter work, most of my free time was spent trying to obtain discounted tickets for plays. During my first weekend in the city, I won lottery tickets to see The Tempest, put on by Shakespeare in the Park, and it took me by storm. I also student rushed for tickets to see Finding Neverland, and scored inexpensive second row seats! I was so excited to see my namesake, Kelsey Grammar, preform live. I also explored the city, finding so many interesting parades and festivals, such as the Museum Mile Festival.

Tea and EBookNow that I’m back home in Kentucky it’s strange I don’t have to take a train to get to class or work. While I can’t say I miss the lack of personal space or the sweltering heat, I know on my morning stroll I will yearn for pancakes from Timmy’s Diner on York Avenue. I will wish I could swing by Central Park to sit and drink my coffee. I had to say goodbye to the Big Apple, but after Sigma Tau Delta’s generosity allowed me to experience it, I know I’ll be seeing New York City again soon.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the About.com office with CEO, Neil Vogel.

When has a bold move worked in your favor to offer you a once-in-a-lifetime experience to advance your career and education?

Sigma Tau Delta Summer Internship Stipend

Application Period: February 1 – March 21
Sigma Tau Delta offers funding for current undergraduate and graduate student members accepting non- or low-paying summer internships. The Summer Internship Stipend is a competitive program providing a limited number of stipends of up to $1,500 each.

The internship must involve working for an “organization” while being directed by a supervisor/mentor within that organization, and the internship’s duties must be consistent with the applicant’s level of education, area of study, and career goals. Financial need will be taken into consideration. Applicants are responsible for obtaining and providing verification of the internship. Decisions will be made by May 2.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating with Literature

Amber JurgensenAmber Jurgensen
Southern Region Student Representative
Rho Gamma Chapter
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA

As another school year begins and students file into classrooms, many instructors look forward to using classic and modern literature to educate, entertain, and foster discussion. After all, the English classroom is where most people encounter and discover a love for the written word; however, an unexpected enemy thwarts teachers and librarians in educational facilities across the nation. Even in today’s more enlightened and tolerant society, banning and censoring books is a serious issue.

Banned Books WeekBanned Books Week (BBW) was created in 1982 to raise awareness of this important area of literary contention. Sponsored by such organizations as the American Library Association (ALA), Association of American Publishers, and the National Council of Teachers of English, the event celebrates the written word and the freedom to enjoy it, while highlighting the very real problems posed by challenging the availability of certain books in our schools. Many colleges and universities contribute to BBW by hosting read-outs of popular and beloved books that have fallen prey to censorship. This year, BBW takes place from September 27 to October 3, and focuses on young adult books.

So, why do parents and schools attempt to challenge and suppress certain books? According to the ALA, the answer usually is “to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information…‘inappropriate’ sexual content or ‘offensive’ language.” Last year’s most attacked books include Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. These novels and others like them are faced with a barrage of requests for removal from school curriculums because of language or content. In some cases, these books’ opponents succeed in preventing important thematic discussions because of personal bias.

If you or your Sigma Tau Delta chapter wishes to contribute to the BBW celebration, a good place to start is the official website. You also can participate in this year’s Virtual Read-Out by creating and submitting a video, which could be featured on the official Banned Books Week YouTube channel. When you plan your event, consider sharing your ideas with your Sigma Tau Delta regional Facebook page for feedback and support. As members of Sigma Tau Delta, let’s work together to speak out against the censorship of literature and celebrate the written word.

Hot Damn and Academic Accolades

Micah Dean HicksMicah Dean Hicks
Rho Epsilon Chapter
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

Winning a Sigma Tau Delta scholarship felt amazing. It also felt surreal. I remember hearing my name announced, and people clapped, and people looked at me, and I sort of felt like I was watching it happen to some other guy, squinting at him in the distance and thinking, “Hey, he sort of looks like me. Good for him.”

It’s hard to measure all the small ways the award, the money, and the recognition helped me arrive here, at the end of a Ph.D. program.

Part of what it gave me was validation. I’ve always been pretty confident about my fiction writing, but less so about my critical work. The academic essay is a form I struggle with. It always demands more. Whatever you think you have to say, it’s never enough. You have to say more, to make it matter, to convince people (and yourself) that what you’re saying is important. I found it exhausting, like clawing a tunnel through stone with my fingernails and just burying myself in a rockslide. When I teach critical essay writing, I see my students confused and frustrated like I was. I know how they feel.

So I worked pretty hard on this essay, for the class where I wrote it (thank you, Dr. Tucker). And then I worked on it again, hours or days or forever, for the scholarship competition. Winning wasn’t just the prize or the money, it was assurance that I could beat this form if I clawed at it long enough.

scholarship-picNot to say the money wasn’t appreciated. For one thing, it was something my extended family could understand. Dollar amounts translate in ways that other kinds of academic accolades just don’t. The difference between an “Oh, that’s nice” and a “Hot damn, son.”

And at the time, I needed it. I’d applied to seven graduate schools, at a cost of around $100 each. The place I ended up, a master’s program in teaching, was great in a lot of ways and I still draw on those tools (thank you, Dr. Dee), but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. So a few months later, I applied to schools again, twice as many this time, to finally end up in a master’s program in creative writing in Mississippi.

Having worked on the essay for the award helped me later, in a way I wouldn’t have expected. When it was time to apply to Ph.D. programs and I needed a good critical sample to send with my fiction, I looked at the work I had done as a master’s student and wasn’t happy with any of it. I’d learned enough to be frustrated with what I had produced. So I broke out my essay from a couple of years ago, the one that at least had been vetted by the award, and sent it to one of my graduate professors for feedback. She went back and forth with me on it for a week (thank you, Dr. Gehlawat). And now I’m here, finishing my dissertation, having relied on that essay all along the way.

Which reminds me. Thank you, Sigma Tau Delta.


Start your scholarship essay now. The Sigma Tau Delta deadline for the following scholarships is November 10. 

Scholarships Open to Undergraduate Students
Junior Scholarships
Senior Scholarships
William C. Johnson Distinguished Scholarship
Part-Time Undergraduate Scholarship
P.C. Somerville Awards for Future Teachers
Study Abroad Scholarships

Scholarships Open to Graduate Students
Graduate Scholarships
William C. Johnson Distinguished Scholarship

Scholarships Open to Alumni Epsilon Chapter Members
Alumni Epsilon Scholarship