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UW-Eau Claire English honor society chapter stands out at national convention

RELEASED: April 15, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student will serve on the board of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.

During the 2011 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention in Pittsburgh, Pa., in March, senior Ashlyn Wells, Mondovi, was elected as the Midwestern student representative, one of six positions nationwide available for Sigma Tau Delta students.

Wells said she is looking forward to connecting with other Sigma Tau Delta members and chapters in the region and serving as a leader in an organization that has shaped her college experience in a vital way.

"My experiences as a member and officer in our local chapter have not only given me the confidence to pursue a national position, they have become the beloved epicenter of my transformation from student to leader," Wells said. "I have no doubt that this position will become just as dear to me."

Several other UW-Eau Claire students, an alumna and the university's Sigma Tau Delta chapter received awards during the convention:

  • Senior Melissa Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, received the $1,000 Midwestern Regional Scholarship.

  • Senior Amanda Hendricks, De Pere, received the $1,500 Junior Scholarship.

  • Senior Tania Richter, Chippewa Falls, received the $250 Individual Website Award.

  • Seniors Andrew Storsveen, Winona, Minn., and Amanda Lonsdorf, Chippewa Falls, received convention awards of $200 each for their works (a critical essay and collection of poems) reflecting themes from the convention's common reader, "Black Ice."

  • UW-Eau Claire alumna Stephanie Schiefelbein, Hastings, Minn., received the $250 Alumni Convention Award for her creative nonfiction essay.

  • UW-Eau Claire's Sigma Tau Delta chapter, Theta Zeta, received the $250 Chapter Blog Award and a special invitation to present a chapter display — an honor extended only to select chapters recognized by Sigma Tau Delta as outstanding.

The Theta Zeta chapter also had more papers accepted for presentation at the convention than any other chapter in the nation: 24 critical papers and creative works, said Traci Thomas-Card, UW-Eau Claire lecturer of English. UW-Eau Claire students presented papers and panels, chaired sessions, participated in the business meeting and regional caucus, worked at the registration desk, attended the display table, sold T-shirts, and actively participated in the student leadership workshop.

"We are extremely proud of the leadership our students showed," Thomas-Card said. "We heard many compliments about our students; our chapter was acknowledged at the awards ceremony for being the one (out of almost 200 chapters represented) to contribute the most to the convention."

In addition, Gloria Hochstein, UW-Eau Claire assistant professor emeritus of English, was appointed chair of the Sigma Tau Delta Leadership Committee, overseeing regents and faculty advisers of the society's nearly 800 chapters. The position, Thomas-Card said, was created because of Hochstein's outstanding work leading regents on the board of directors. Hochstein has advised Theta Zeta since 1998 and now serves as an official volunteer to the organization. She was appointed Midwestern regent in 2006 and had been lead regent since 2009.

"I most look forward to communicating with faculty and students from all over the nation and even internationally," Hochstein said. "I look forward to continuing to be able to put my abilities to use in the service of the English honor society."

Next year's convention will be held in New Orleans, La. For more information about the convention, contact Thomas-Card at thomastl@uwec.edu or 715-836-2323.

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BS/JP/DW

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