For the second year in a row, West Liberty University again hosted the West Virginia Undergraduate English Symposium. The event, which invites undergraduate students to share their literature research, celebrated its 25th year this year. Students represented institutions from around the state, including West Liberty University, Wheeling Jesuit, Concord University, Davis & Elkins College, Marshall University, and Shepherd University.
The keynote address, titled “Beware the Tuna Sandwich, and Other Lessons I Learned in College,” was given by WLU alumna Meghan Fahey. You can view a video of her speech here.
Three of our English majors and one of our Writing minors represented West Liberty University very well at this year’s symposium. Hannah Hlad’s “Emily Dickinson: Theologian or Athiest?” was so good that one of the professors judging the competition stated that he was going to add some of her points to his own lecture notes. After judging the panel featuring Abigail Reeve’s “The Impossible Truth: Unhinging the Structures of Language and Storytelling in Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw,” another judge commented, “Please, tell me she is going to be a teacher.” And, finally, Paige Creamer’s “It’s Not F***ing Fair: How Women Are Fighting Gender Inequality with Words” was absolutely fantastic, according to Humanities chairperson, Dr. Jeremy Larance. Additionally, writing minor Natasha Muhametzyanova’s “Story of a Broken Egg: The Issues of Identity in Erasure,” held her own with many of West Virginia’s best and brightest English majors.
This Year’s Winners:
First Place Outstanding Student Essay: Claudia McCarron (Shepherd University), “‘The Destined Prophetess’: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Scarlet Letter, and the American Jeremiad”
Second Place Outstanding Student Essay: Megan Steele (Wheeling Jesuit University), “Dystopia is Nigh: An Evolution of the Genre Within Huxley, Atwood, and Eggers”
First Place Outstanding Student Presentation: Adam White (Concord University), “Doctor Faustus and the Covenant Concept”
Second Place Outstanding Student Presentation: Emily Coffman (Davis & Elkins College), “Reader, I Freed Them: Liberation in the Works of Charlotte Brontë”