To Facebook, or Not To Facebook…

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

The Chi Theta Chapter at West Texas A&M University has adopted social media as our primary means of communication among members. However, we have also begun to utilize our Facebook page in ways that are mutually beneficial to active members and those outside the chapter. Our page facilitates event information, important chapter and international announcements/reminders, and serves as a space to share photos from events, volunteer projects, and socials. We also use the ‘Notes’ function, which allows easy access to the Constitution and other relevant information.

English Department Forecast for the Week

English Department Forecast for the Week

Our page posts English related articles and engaging memes for the enjoyment of members and fellow English lovers alike. My favorite function of our page is the “English Department Forecast for the Week.” This weekly forecast is a hub of information for the entire English Department—times, dates, and locations for all department related events in one place. This function also increases our chapter’s positive image in the English Department and around campus and illustrates our steadfast dedication and support for all things English on campus and in the community.

All Sigma Tau Delta officers are admins (with the President as chief admin) and all are expected to contribute when they can. I absolutely prefer a Facebook Page to a Facebook Group or Profile because of how much more accessible and inclusive it is. Making our page helpful, engaging, and relevant to a wide audience has been a learning process. Increasing our audience to those outside our chapter has also increased our visibility on campus and in the community. For example: When we go out into the community to volunteer we help raise awareness for a cause, simultaneously promoting our own chapter’s dedication to community service.

wtamublog1Some key factors in running a successful page are: posting frequently, sharing the page and inviting others to like the page to increase visibility, and keeping the language lively and semi-formal. Keeping the page active and current can be time consuming, but is a wonderful way to keep members and the community up to date with chapter activities. There are many little things we do to make our page more effective: manage tabs, customize the URL, schedule posts, create photo albums, assign category and subcategory tags, and update general and page information settings. We are still learning what’s effective and what’s not—but Facebook has great tools to calculate that too. The “Insights” tab provides excellent feedback. I highly recommend navigating carefully through this feature to get the most out of your page.

wtamublog3

Facebook Insights

We haven’t looked into any other social media outlets yet, but it’s something to consider down the road… For now, Facebook’s fast, free, and easy to manage medium serves us well, and we hope to continue the momentum our page has gained.

We invite you to check out our Facebook page (or even to message us with some tips of your own). You can find us by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/WTAMUSigmaTauDelta

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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.

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