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OC’s English Honors Chapter receives national recognition

Thursday, April 16, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katy Watson
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Whether it is topics like Machiavelli, Mansfield Park or The Maltese Falcon, English students at Oklahoma Christian University are some of the most active and informed in the country.

Last week, the Rho Mu chapter of the national English honors society was featured as one of the outstanding chapters at the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention in Minneapolis. One year after winning the top award, OC's literary journal Soundings was named first runner-up in the best literary journal category. In addition, 11 students were selected to give presentations at the conference, the most of any college in Oklahoma.

“We are extremely proud of these students because they represent the highest intellectual achievements that students can reach as undergraduates,” said Cami Agan, chair of the department of language and literature and faculty sponsor of the Rho Mu chapter.

“In fact, being recognized as one of the outstanding chapters is pretty remarkable for a school of our size.”

Students gave both creative and analytical presentations on diverse literary topics. In addition, Ashleigh Hess became the first OC student to make a bilingual presentation at the convention.

“Ashleigh's work really marries both the language and literature parts of our department,” Agan said.

The students submitted their work for acceptance before Thanksgiving. The submissions were reviewed by outside faculty who did not know the students. According to Agan, this is the seventh year in a row in which every OC student's submission was accepted.

The only drawback to having so many students accepted was the travel costs for the convention. To tackle this challenge, students developed some innovative solutions, such as having a silent auction on eBay. They solicited donations from local businesses and created an eBay business page. The auction was held the last week of February and raised over $250 for student travel.

In addition, the students created and sold recycled writing journals for OC's Craft Fair that was held in October. The students had such a strong response that they created and sold more journals in Minneapolis.

“You couldn't have found a better venue to sell recycled writing journals than this convention,” said English professor Peggy Gipson, who is the faculty sponsor of Soundings.

Each research paper developed out of classes that the students took at OC. In fact, many of the students had already presented their papers as their senior capstone projects.

“We are fortunate to have such an extremely active chapter,” Gipson said. “It really encourages other students to get involved and helps create a thriving literary community on campus.”

Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honor Society, with over 750 active chapters in Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States. There are more than 1,000 faculty sponsors, and approximately 8,500 members are inducted annually.

The 11 OC students who gave presentations included: Angela Bebb, Taylor Boston, Brandon Chism, Ashleigh Hess, Jaclyn Kaissling, Matthew Miller, Justin Neil, Ben Rawlins, Roy Rhodes, Bailey Thomas and Taylor Walling.

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