By Trevor Piccone, Contributing Writer
West Liberty has several opportunities for students that enables them to showcase their many talents and projects. One of such opportunities is the upcoming English Symposium, which is an annual event that is being held on campus this year on March 25 in Campbell Hall.
This English Symposium is an event led by WLU Associate English Professors Dr. Angela Rehbein and Dr. Steve Criniti in which students from any institution around the area of West Virginia are able to submit their works of literary scholarship. Upon entering, a group of faculty from around the state read all the submissions and select a number of applicants to attend the symposium to display and present their essays. Dr. Rehbein described the process in order to give a better idea of how specific pieces are chosen.
“We do what is called a blind review process, so we don’t know who the students are that wrote the papers or where they’re coming from,” Rehbein said. She said that this process involving anonymity enables the faculty to pick based on unbiased standards. Rehbein said that the whole event is more of an “academic conference or symposium” for works of literature.
During the conference, after the best pieces have been picked, four awards are given to students. There is a first and second place prize for best essay based on the quality of writing and ideas, as well as presentation awards for best oral presentations. First place winners in both categories receive a cash prize of $100 and second place winners receive $75.
Four students from West Liberty have been selected already for this opportunity: Paige Creamer, Hannah Hlad, Natasha Muhametzyanova and Abigail Reeves.
Rehbein described this event as “a really good opportunity for students to have professional experience as they stand in front of an audience in a professional environment.” She said it is a day to celebrate literary scholarship with the students’ families and mentors as they are brought together with other students from the state. Rehbein wanted to state that she hopes the students will have fun and embrace the opportunity to learn and grow through this experience.
Creamer and Hlad, two of the aforementioned students involved, were kind enough to give some insight into their projects.
“I am presenting a research paper discussing gender equality (or lack thereof) and profanity usage,” Creamer said. She noted that she attended last year and it was an amazing experience as she got to hear new ideas, learn from experience, and make a few new friends.
Hlad said, “My paper explores the religious inspiration behind the poetic works of Emily Dickinson. I wanted to question her intent for writing about the afterlife.” Both students seem incredibly excited for the opportunity to come together and present their works at the symposium.
Photo credit: Jalyn Bolyard