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English students present their work at the national convention

ISSUED: 29 April 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Two Shepherd University students presented their scholarly work in early April at a convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Clara Monson, an English major from Martinsburg, West Virginia, and Taylor Beam, an English and global studies major from Jane Lew, West Virginia, each made presentations at the centennial convention of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, April 3-6.

Monson presented her paper “Defining Femininity in the Victorian Era,” originally written for a Victorian Literature class taught by Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, professor of English. Beam presented her paper “Aristotle and Dante: Cheesy Queer Romance of Today,” which she wrote during her Young Adult Literature class, also taught by Hanrahan.

Selfie photo of Taylor Beam and Clara Monson.
Clara Monson (front) takes a selfie with Taylor Beam at the Sigma Tau Delta convention.

Beam received a Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Award, earning an honorable mention and a $100 prize. This award recognizes outstanding convention work representing or celebrating the LGBT community and its literary contributions.

“Attending the Sigma Tau Delta Centennial Convention allowed me to get a glimpse into the work that other scholars my age are producing,” Beam said. “I enjoyed hearing new takes on material we have covered at Shepherd.”

Both Beam and Monson noted how valuable the convention’s professional development workshops were. Since Monson has already been accepted to several graduate programs, she found one workshop particularly helpful because it “brought a new perspective” on her decision.

“I already have decided to attend [graduate school],” she said. “But getting to listen to and later speak with current Ph.D. students enforced my confidence in my decision. They were all well-spoken, capable, and open about the intricacies and challenges they have faced in their journeys.”

Beam and Monson’s trip was funded by the English and modern languages program and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, as well as fundraising efforts through Shepherd’s Alpha Gamma Kappa chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.

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