Royal makes history at International English Honor Convention

By Julia Gavigan | Copy Editor

A senior University of Scranton student won an award for their original work at the International English Honor Society Convention.

Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, hosted The Sigma Tau Delta 2022 International Convention which was held March 30 to April 2 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel.

Senior occupational therapy major E Kerr is the first inaugural winner of the Stemmler/Dennis LGBTQ& Award.

“I didn’t expect to win honestly, because there were so many amazing lgbt poets and writers that I got to watch, who inspired me,” said Kerr.

Kerr presented their work, “Queering trauma: trans poetics by a trans poet,” at the Outing Poetry panel on Thursday.

Members of Sigma Tau Delta were allowed to submit one of their works that if accepted, would be presented at the convention.

There are two categories for submissions, the critical essay that includes eighteen different categories, some of which include British literature, American literature, world literature and multicultural American literature. The second category is creative writing that includes original prose, original poetry or creative non-fiction.

Five other University students presented their work at the convention that includes senior Samuel Marranca, senior Alex Sophabmixay, senior Oak O’Connor, junior Joshua Vituszynski and me, junior Julia Gavigan.

Marranca presented his work, “Daylight,” at the Creative Nonfiction: LGBTQ+ Voices panel.

Sophabmixay presented his work, “The Inarticulable Nature of Grieving” at the Grief and Identity panel.

O’Connor presented their work, “Hrosvitha’s Dulcitius Celebrating Female Virginity” at the Considering Female Experiences and Female Voices over the Ages panel.

Vituszynski presented his work, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: Bullshit’s Truth,” at the Meditations on Identity in Modern American Literature panel.

And I presented “The Ambiguity of Maggie,” at the Diagnosing the Patient: Psychology and 19th-Century American Literature panel.

Billie Tadros, Ph. D., an English professor at the U and one of the chaperons for the trip, said that these presentations emphasize the importance of the work students do in the classroom.

“Being able to present gives you a sense of the relevance of the work you are doing and how it extends outside the classroom. The relevance in the classroom is good in and of itself, and now you’ve taken it to do something else,” said Tadros.

Presentations consisted of four participants on a panel, each having 15 minutes to read their work to an audience of supporters or avid enthusiasts of the category they were presenting in.

The reading of each work was followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience.

“I like the q and a portion because I liked having the chance to expand on my work and to be able to say things that were outside of having what I wrote down and submitted. It was cool to hear the other panelists responses to some of the questions that were posed,” said O’Connor.

The ability to share and enjoy other works of literature from peers around the country was one of the most appreciated aspects of the convention.

“It’s been really fun, watching all of you as a group build community with each other, it’s a special thing a convention provides, building a sense of community with each other and with the other folks here,” said Tadros.

Kerr agrees that sharing their work was a great experience.

“I’m excited that I got a chance to share my work and my story with a large audience, as well as be a representative of the queer community within the English realm,” said Kerr.

Madeline Ganges, Ph.D., another chaperon on the trip, said that these types of interactions build community among the student participants.

“Because of COVID, we have had two years of not having anything beyond our institution, and I think it’s been really valuable to work with each other,” said Ganges. “It’s a great way to be in dialogue with a larger community with young scholars and creators, which also I think gives you a new perspective of what you are doing back at home.”

The Sigma Tau Delta 2022 International Convention was a large success for Kerr and the other participants as they all made their mark representing the University of Scranton.