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English Major Spotlight:
SOU English Students Present at Prestigious Conferences
By Sophia Lorusso (she/her), Junior English Major.
Pictured above: SOU English majors left to right: Blake Jordan, Curtis Tedrow-Harder and Hannah Lombard at NUCL.
English majors and minors are excellent candidates to submit their literary essays to different conferences and research symposiums. The Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature (NUCL) is open to all undergraduates for literary research essays and creative writing pieces. This year, the conference was held in person at the University of Portland. Students have 18 minutes to read their papers as part of a panel and are eligible to receive awards. This is a great opportunity for students to polish their writing skills upon submission and their presentation skills at the conference.
SOU English majors Curtis Tedrow-Harder, Blake Jordan and Hannah Lombard were encouraged by professor Dr. Alma Rosa Alvarez to submit their papers which were accepted by NUCL. Dr. Alvarez assisted the students in the revision process, helped them practice presentations, and even gave them hypothetical questions that might be asked during the Q&A session.
Curtis and Blake both presented essays that were originally crafted in ENG 301 “Intro to Lit Analysis and Theory” with Dr. Alvarez. Both of their papers analyze different aspects of the novella Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane.
Pictured Above: Curtis Tedrow-Harder.
Curtis’ paper, “The Downfall of Maggie a Girl of the Streets,” explores the intersections of class, gender roles, and the perspective of virginity in 19th century America. Curtis analyzed how these aspects contributed to the protagonist’s downfall.
Blake looked at the novella through a lens of liberal and patriarchal bargains in his essay, “Liberal and Patriarchal Bargaining in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets.” He used these two concepts to demonstrate how the protagonist is stripped of her agency and must make bargains to survive in an unbalanced society.
Hannah’s essay originated in ENG 382 “Realism” with Dr. Alvarez. Her paper, “Girl in Red: Edna Pontellier in The Awakening,” argues that the protagonist in The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a lesbian as opposed to a heterosexual woman as others have claimed. Hannah observed various gender norms that the protagonist broke in order to further prove that she is not a metaphorical lesbian, as some critics have claimed, but a true lesbian.
“…if you never put your work out there, you’ll never know how people will receive it.
— Blake Jordan
Curtis, Blake, and Hannah all faced challenges while preparing for their presentations. In the revision process, Hannah had to read through her paper multiple times and eliminate things that she would have stumbled over when reading it out-loud. While Curtis planned for his presentation, he originally wanted to do a PowerPoint, but he had to scrap the entire idea when it proved to be too complicated for the time limit.
Blake experienced confidence issues when submitting and presenting; he encourages:
“It’s super easy to get in your head about the worth of your paper in the grand scheme of things or its quality, but if you never put your work out there, you’ll never know how people will receive it.”
Although these three students were pushed out of their comfort zone, thanks to the support of Dr. Alma Rosa Alvarez they were able to confidently present their ideas at NUCL.
Another opportunity for English majors is the Johns Hopkins University Richard Macksey Undergraduate Research Symposium. This research symposium is open to humanities students who are interested in publishing their literary analysis papers. At this symposium, around 1,000 students present their papers in ten minutes on Zoom (due to the pandemic). Their papers will then be published in the next volume of The Macksey Journal.
Pictured Above: Mekenzie Brock on presentation day.
Mekenzie Brock participated in the Richard Macksey Symposium once before in 2020 and this year she returned to present her paper, “Revolution and Rebellion: Leading the Way to a Trans Utopia in Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox.” Her paper explores the novel Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg through Althusser’s concepts of ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) and repressive state apparatuses (RSAs). Mekenzie shows how the protagonists of this novel rebel against such ISAs and RSAs and ultimately lead a revolution towards a trans utopia.
Mekenzie developed this literary analysis essay in Dr. Diana Maltz’s ENG 447 Trans Literature course. Professor Maltz aided Mekenzie in revising her abstract and paper. Due to the time constraint for presentations, Mekenzie had to cut out more than half of her paper. While this was a big obstacle to overcome, she did what she needed to all while ensuring that her concepts and ideas were still connected.
Mekenzie’s paper should be published in The Macksey Journal by the fall.
The four English majors received financial support from the English Program for travel expenses and conference fees. The English Program is proud of them all, and congratulates them on their successful presentations.
If you are interested in submitting a paper for presentation at a conference or for a publication in a journal, keep an eye out for the English major/minor weekly newsletter from Margaret Perrow and check the MoodleEng site.
If you’re interested in sharing your story with the English Program blog, or if you know someone whose story we should feature, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Interested in the English program at SOU? Learn more about the programs offered below:
English Home Page | English BA/BS | English Minor | TESOL Certificate Program