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Theta Zeta sends largest student contingent to English conference

RELEASED: Feb. 24, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — The largest number of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students to date will present their scholarly and creative work March 17-20 at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention in St. Louis, Mo.

Fifteen students and three English department faculty will participate in the event. The students are members of Theta Zeta, the UW-Eau Claire chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Society. Staff advisers are Traci Thomas-Card, director of the University Writing Center; Dr. Cathy Rex, assistant professor of English; and Gloria Hochstein, senior lecturer emerita of English.

Students are eligible for membership based on grade-point average and their course work in English. All Theta Zeta members are English majors or minors or have a major in a related field, Hochstein said.

Hochstein, who has been the Theta Zeta faculty adviser since 1998, said the UW-Eau Claire affiliate is a very distinguished chapter. Sigma Tau Delta has named Theta Zeta as Outstanding Chapter three times in the past 12 years, mainly due to its dedication to community service activities.

"Our chapter has gained a reputation as being one of the most dynamic nationwide," she said. "I am immensely proud of our students."

Students from across the nation will present their work in sessions of three to four people sharing a common topic, such as an author, genre or literary period. Themes can focus on anything from loss of innocence to facing your own death. Categories are critical essays, scholarly research, fiction, drama and creative nonfiction.

"From a student's perspective, it's an amazing and empowering experience to have your work accepted and evaluated by such a smart and well-read audience," Hochstein said. "Students come back so revitalized in their academic careers."

Hochstein has been the Sigma Tau Delta Midwestern regent on the International Board of Directors since 2006. The six regents, along with student advisers and board officers, make decisions about the future of the organization, venues for the international convention, scholarships and internships. Hochstein said the organization gives more than $65,000 in scholarships each year.

In 2008 UW-Eau Claire fifth-year senior Stephanie Schiefelbein, Hastings, Minn., was named to a two-year term to the board as a student adviser. She is one of two students nationwide to hold voting positions.

Sigma Tau Delta holds its international convention every spring. Students discuss English language and literature, present their work, participate in workshops and enjoy the host area. Hundreds of members from around the world come to share experiences and ideas. They also have the opportunity to listen to many distinguished guest speakers.

There are more than 750 active chapters worldwide. More than 1,000 faculty sponsors and nearly 8,500 members are inducted each year.

For more information about Theta Zeta or the international organization, contact advisers Dr. Cathy Rex, Traci Thomas-Card or Gloria Hochstein at 715-836-2639 or ENGL56@uwec.edu. Additional information can be found on the Theta Zeta and Sigma Tau Delta Web sites.

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LA/RD/DW

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