WCU student, grads excel at English society convention

Western Carolina University students Jill West and Chelsea Lantz-Cashman were among top honorees recently at the 2014 convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, in Savannah, Ga.

West, a senior from Andrews, received the P.C. Somerville Award for Future Teachers, which includes a monetary prize to be used for outfitting her classroom next year. She is majoring in secondary English education with a minor in Spanish, and is currently student teaching. West has previously presented papers at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and at the 2013 Gender Research Conference at WCU.

Lantz-Cashman’s work “That Old Story: Rewriting a Grimm Reality” won first place and received a monetary award in the Isabel Sparks President’s Awards writing competition category Critical Essays: Theory, Education, Linguistics, Rhetoric, and Young Adult Literature. The Sylva resident graduated from Western Carolina in December, and plans to study literature and literary theory this fall at the University of Kansas.

A third student, December graduate Amelia Holmes, presented a paper titled “The Crooked Room Made Straight.” Holmes, a resident of Elon, will be starting graduate school in the fall as a Carolina Academic Library Associate at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science.

“It was a very competitive process to have your paper accepted,” said Mae Claxton, professor of English at WCU, who accompanied the presenters to the convention. “So our students made us proud.”

The convention, celebrating the honor society’s 90th year, conducted competitions in more than a dozen categories of writing and awarded first-, second- and third-place recognitions.

“These student awards are a huge accomplishment, particularly given that this conference is international in scope,” said Laura Wright, head of the WCU English department.

For more information about studying English at WCU’s English department, visit the website English.wcu.edu.