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:

Southwestern Student Leadership Candidate

TU-14-photo-Laszik-Stephanie Stephanie Laszik
Candidate for Southwestern Student Representative, 2014-2015
Graduate Student, Epsilon Omega Chapter, University of Texas at Tyler
Tyler, TX

Positions, other memberships, offices, etc., currently or recently held:

  • Sigma Tau Delta: Epsilon Omega Chapter Member since 2012
  • Publication Committee President 2012-2014
  • Vice-President Fall 2013-2014
  • Other: Phi Alpha Theta 2013
  • Sigma Alpha Pi 2012 (National Engaged Leader Award)
  • Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society 2012 (Secretary, 2013)
  • Spanish Club 2012
  • Significant Practicum Experience: Pixels, Panels, and Prose, Tyler, TX, 2013 (Presenter)
  • Student Research Conference, Tyler, TX, 2013 (Presenter)
  • Phi Alpha Theta 2014 Biennial Convention, Albuquerque, NM, 2014 (Presenter)

Explain why you are running for office and comment on any skills, experience, or personal qualities you possess that would contribute to your performing the following duties: promoting communication among chapters other than your own, producing official publications, assisting your Regent, serving on the Student Leadership Committee. Further comments or ideas are encouraged. Include your region and your first and last name at the top of the page. Please do not include sensitive personal information in your essay. Candidate essays will be displayed publicly before the election. Do not exceed 500 words:

As a seasoned representative of student interests through my contributions to various academic organizations, I would be honored to rise to the occasion and offer my dedication to the interests of my fellow Southwestern Sigma Tau Delta members. With a firm belief in the opportunities and necessity in networking, I will promote communication across the Southwestern region and further develop active participation throughout chapters. I look forward to having the opportunity to represent my chapter and region and assist the Regent and Student Leadership Committee in the following year. The ability to promote the core beliefs and goals of Sigma Tau Delta is important to the continued growth, success, and integrity of the field of English studies.

There is still time to apply for a student leadership position for any region. Simply bring your completed application form to the convention and turn it in at the convention registration desk any time before the Regional Networking meetings on Thursday afternoon.