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English Student Opportunity Fund
Established by Gloria Hochstein

RELEASED: Aug. 16, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — Gloria Hochstein, who has taught in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's English department for 30 years, recently established the Gloria Hochstein English Student Opportunity Fund to encourage and help English majors and minors at the university to enrich their education with out of class activities.

"After years of working with students inside and outside of the classroom I have observed that the students who have had English related experiences outside of the classroom report that those experiences have had profound and meaningful impacts upon them," said Hochstein, adding that just recently a former student told her that the opportunity to attend and present a paper at an international convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, changed his life.

"These experiences focus students' personal goals, give them self-confidence, recharge their intellectual batteries, introduce them to people with shared creative interests, raise their expectations of themselves, clarify their career goals, and enlarge their view of what is possible and what they can accomplish," Hochstein said.

While those benefits are obvious to experienced educators like Hochstein, she said that too many English majors and minors do not recognize how important such extracurricular activities can be.

"Sometimes when I encourage students to apply for a scholarship or propose a paper for a conference or to become involved in a service or honors organization, they decline, saying they have to work and focus all their remaining time working towards their degrees," Hochstein said.

By establishing this fund with a $10,000 endowment, Hochstein hopes to make it a bit easier for students to devote more hours to participating in those extra activities that she knows can make such a difference in their futures. The fund will award $400 per year to promising English students who submit proposals for extracurricular activities, with particular emphasis on students who want to provide leadership for Sigma Tau Delta or the annual English Festival, develop special outreach programs to inspire young students to hone their writing skills, engage in an undergraduate research experience, or attend professional conferences.

"During her years as advisor to our Sigma Tau Delta chapter, I have watched Gloria turn a sleepy little organization into an energetic, nationally-recognized group of young people," said English department chair Jack Bushnell. "She has always cared deeply about her students, so Im not surprised — though I am very impressed — by her generous establishment of this fund."

To obtain a Hochstein Opportunity Grant, students must develop proposals outlining their planned activities, describe how the activities will enhance their English education, and include a budget and timeline for completion and a recommendation letter from an English faculty member. There is no deadline for applying, but early application is recommended. The grant will first be available for the 2007-08 academic year in fall 2007 through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

Depending on the quality and scope of proposals received, the $400 may go to one student or be divided among as many as four students each year. Proposals should be submitted to the chair of the English department. A committee of current and emeriti English faculty will review proposals and select recipients.

Hochstein, who teaches basic and advanced composition, English grammar and usage, women mystery writers, and a variety of science fiction classes, said that the process of thinking through, writing and submitting a proposal for project funding is a necessary skill in virtually every professional situation, so she believes even the process of applying for the grant is an opportunity for students to learn. That fits with her overall educational goal of creating an atmosphere in which students take responsibility for their own learning.

Hochstein also serves as the adviser for Sigma Tau Delta, Theta Zeta chapter, and as adviser for the English Festival, the Alpha Phi Omega service organization, and the Alpine Ski Team. In 2001 she received UW-Eau Claire's Student Organization Advisor Award, and in 2006 she received both the Outstanding Regional Sponsor Award from the national Sigma Tau Delta organization and the O.W.L. Award from the nontraditional students at UW-Eau Claire. Recently she was elected to the national board of directors of Sigma Tau Delta and will be serving as the Midwestern Regent for the next four years. She also served as the national chair of the science fiction section of the Popular Culture Association for several years, and for many years designed and directed pre-college programs for minority and first-generation students.

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NW

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