Honor society chapter shines spotlight on English majors

Posted on April 24, 2013

Sigma Tau Delta members pose with English professors Dr. Joan Little, front row, far left; Dr. Christine Schott, front row, far right; and Dr. Amanda Sigler, second row, far left.

The Erskine College Xi Phi Chapter of the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta, installed at Erskine in 1987, has been especially active this spring. Three of its members made presentations at the society’s 2013 International Convention in Portland, Oregon, March 20-23, and 10 new members were honored at an induction ceremony and dinner April 23.

Professor of English Dr. Joan Little, longtime faculty sponsor of the Xi Phi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, was delighted that three members presented their work at the Portland meeting. “This was a very special occasion for English majors at Erskine,” she said.

Tillary Blackman, a senior who is double majoring in English and psychology and completing a double minor in biology and theater, presented his paper, called “Coloring Outside the Lines,” at the convention.

“The experience was wonderful,” he said. “Portland, Oregon, was really beautiful, but it was even more exciting to have the opportunity to spend time with peers who cared just as much about literature.”

Blackman, from Charlotte, N.C., said he is applying to graduate programs in clinical psychology.

From left, Sarah LaCourse, Tillary Blackman, and Victoria Unthank

Sarah LaCourse is a senior English major. She presented “Red Braille,” a fictional piece, at the conference.

“It was broken into five parts which examined the various reactions of five separate people who each lost a different sense—hearing, sight, taste, etc., representing the five stages of grief,” she said.

As the last of a panel of four presenters, LaCourse was not nervous, she said, until she got up to the podium.

“God brought me through the entire paper without any blunders,” she said. “I was happy to get some feedback and praise from a fellow panelist, an older man who has been writing fiction for years.”

Her immediate plans include an internship in publishing just outside Washington, D.C., “to get some experience in editing.” She hopes eventually to find an editing job in her hometown of Greenville, S.C.

Victoria Unthank, a senior who is double majoring in English and Spanish, presented “Hierarchy and Power: Symbolic Significance of Clothing in Pamela.”

She especially enjoyed hearing featured author Anne Fadiman at the conference. “It was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to meet lots of English enthusiasts,” she said. “Exploring Portland’s huge Powell’s Bookstore was also great fun, as was the gala at the end of the weekend.”

Unthank, who is from West Columbia, S.C., said she is planning to take a gap year following graduation to teach English, Latin, and Spanish at Covenant Classical Christian School in Columbia.

Blackman, LaCourse, and Unthank attended the Sigma Tau Delta chapter’s induction ceremony and dinner April 23 in the Bell Conference Room of Watkins Student Center.

2013 Sigma Tau Delta inductees

This year’s inductees include seniors Larz Chabra of Waterloo, S.C., and Ellis Evans of Liberty, S.C.; juniors Rebecca Pearson of Laurens, S.C., Hannah Timms of Belton, S.C., and Laura Walenceus of Greenwood, S.C.; and sophomores Rebekah Bowen of Columbia, S.C., Caitlin Lejeune of White Stone, S.C., Kyle Ritland of Honea Path, S.C., Trevor Ritland of Honea Path, S.C., and Caroline Thomas of Raleigh, N.C.

Other members, in addition to Unthank, LaCourse, and Blackman, include Shannon Field of Sumter, S.C., a senior, and Lisa Jones of Gastonia, N.C., who completed her graduation requirements in December 2012.