By Daniel Morgan, Advertising Manager
West Liberty University will host the 24th Annual West Virginia Undergraduate English Symposium on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Sponsored by the Department of Humanities, College of Liberal Arts, and the Office of the Provost, the event will be held in Campbell Hall. This is the university’s first time hosting the symposium.
A total of 23 students from eight West Virginia undergraduate institutions are signed up to participate, including three from WLU. Each student will have the opportunity to present and showcase their individual work and research to the scholarly community, according to WLU Assistant Professor of English Dr. Angela Rehbein, who is a co-chairperson of the symposium. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top two student papers and top two student presentations.
WLU student presenters include Paige Creamer with AAVE and its Perceptions: Reacting to the Reactions, Hannah Mason with Not Quite so Black and White: A Deconstructive Interpretation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Rachel Wurster with Her World Her Way?: An Exploration of Racial Depictions and Stereotypes in Seventeen Magazine.
The symposium will also feature a Keynote address to students and other attendees from West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman in the Boyle Conference Center in the ASRC.
“The West Virginia Undergraduate English Symposium was founded by Dr. Paul Orr and Dr. Joe Brumble of Wheeling Jesuit University to showcase student scholarship in literature, language, and pop culture in their undergraduate work,” Rehbein said. “It was hosted at WVU for a number of years before it began to rotate to institutions around the state.”
According to Rehbein, any student enrolled in a West Virginia undergraduate institution is eligible to participate, but most of the presenters are those who have taken literature courses.
“We see a lot of literary analyses of a work(s)’cultural connection and the life and society of the literature’s time,” she said. “They’re not just traditional though; there have been analyses on film and television works as well.”
“I think it’s a formative experience for students,” Rehbein said, who participated in the symposium as an undergrad student in 2000. “Usually, a student’s work goes no farther than the professor, but this is an opportunity to present ideas to a scholarly community that truly cares about the subject. It’s a great opportunity to practice and experience professionalism and see what the conferences are like, especially for students who are preparing for grad school.”