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Ouachita Stories


Four English majors to present work at national conference

March 16, 2009 - Katie Steele

Four students will represent Ouachita Baptist University at the Sigma Tau Delta national conference this month. The International English honor society holds the conference annually to showcase students’ essays and creative fiction and non-fiction pieces. 

This year’s honored Sigma Tau Delta students from Ouachita are Ariel Bealer, Rachel Dunnahoe, Hannah Holmes and Sarah Stark.

The conference, to be held March 25-28 in Minneapolis, is an opportunity “for the students to meet and talk with English majors from around the world, to hear and meet prominent authors and to look at career options,” said Dr. Doug Sonheim, OBU’s English department chair.

Faculty members who contributed to the planning and financing of the trip include Sonheim, Dr. Stan Poole, Dr. Jeff Root, Dr. Johnny Wink and Dr. Jay Curlin. The English Department is also supporting the trip.

In preparation for the conference, Stark, a junior English major, wrote a creative non-fiction essay about a mission trip she went on last summer to Zimbabwe.

“My paper is about the people I met at a soup kitchen in Zimbabwe,” Stark said. “I was very impressed with the faith they had considering all of the trials they have to go through day to day.”

Since being inducted into Sigma Tau Delta in the fall, Stark said she has enjoyed every moment of being a part of the organization and is looking forward to the spring break trip.

“I really like the people in Sigma Tau Delta,” Stark said. “They seem really enthusiastic about what they’re doing, and it will be neat to get to know the girls I’m going to Minneapolis with especially.”

Bealer, a senior, is another student attending the conference. After she submitted an essay once before that was not accepted, Dr. Amy Sonheim convinced her to submit another piece.

This year, she entered a collection of six poems titled “Living the Life of a Soldier’s Wife.”

“I’m looking forward to the chance to meet other English majors from around the world and hear their work,” Bealer said. “I also can’t wait to tour Minneapolis. It’s unfortunate that I will be spending spring break shivering instead of tanning at the beach, but I’ve accepted the idea.”

Holmes, a junior Sigma Tau Delta member, said she is “absolutely thrilled” to attend the conference. She will be presenting two pieces—a short story titled “Toby” and a creative non-fiction piece titled “How Not to Get Famous on YouTube.”

“I just can’t wait to get there and read my papers, to get my work out there for other people to hear,” Holmes said. “Maybe, depending on how the conference goes, I can discern whether or not writing is in fact what I want to do with my life. It might suddenly occur to me: would I love to share my work, or do I only love the idea of being a writer? I’m anxious to find out.”

For the students going on the trip, however, it’s not all business.

“I’ve never been to Minnesota,” Holmes said. “But the other girls and I are planning to go to the Mall of America, so that will be awesome.”

“I’m definitely thrilled about going to Minneapolis,” said senior Dunnahoe, who will be presenting a short story titled “God Bless America.” “I’m always up for traveling somewhere I’ve never been before, and I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the Twin Cities area.”


by Katie Steele