For English majors, an invitation to read original works at the annual Sigma Tau Delta International Convention is an incredible achievement. Earlier this month, three Missouri Southern students were invited to Savannah, Ga., to present their respective work.
Seniors Ruth Stamper, Kristine Steddum and Madison Pollock attended the 2014 conference. This year’s event marked the English honor society’s 90th anniversary.
Stamper – who wrote a critical essay analyzing the differences between the 1962 and 2004 versions of Edward Albee’s play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” – won first prize in her category and was awarded $600.
“It basically blew me away,” Stamper said. “I was just floored.”
Steddum was invited to read a collection of her original poetry, titled “The Human Animal,” which focuses on ecology and its role in human life and animal nature. She also won second prize for her poetic responses to the novel “We the Animals.” As well as being invited to present two separate pieces of work, she was awarded the only Part-Time Undergraduate Scholarship for $2,500.
Pollock wrote a short-story entitled “The Trumpet” about an old man and his trumpet, which unfurled as she worked at the YMCA and overheard a man playing the instrument down the street. The finished piece imagined several days in the man’s life.
The convention receives an average of 20,000 entries each year, but only 500 to 600 are invited to present. Missouri Southern has consistently sent at least two individuals to the convention every year.
The 2014 conference was especially important for Missouri Southern, as it also marked the 35th anniversary of the Joplin Sigma Tau Delta chapter.
“I think we represented the school really well,” said Stamper. “It was a great experience.”