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English students present papers at conference
Cassie Wells
Photo by Justin Gilson
Award winners from the 2011 Language and Literature Conference include, Front: Martin Rodriguez, Kevanie Damit-og, Brittany Seawell, and Laura Furrow. Back: Sada Hovoty, Jason Willard, Sarah Hoefler, Mckenzie Wiese, and Eliot Wondercheck.
Photo by Justin Gilson
Eliot Wondercheck, a senior philosophy and English major recites a poem inspired by the Homeric epic of Odysseus during the Language and Literature Conference on Friday, April 1.

The 50 students who read papers at the Student Conference in Language and Literature were all winners. They were first selected to submit by professors from their classes and then reviewed before earning a place for the event on April 1. 

Each presentation was divided into one of the 16 topical areas. The areas ranged greatly: the styles of Shakespeare, the Holocaust, comic and cartoon icons in the U.S. and even an area including poetry readings.  

Junior journalism and English major, Ashley Leever was recommended by two of her English professors, Rebecca Umland and Dr. Marguerite Tassi.

“To have esteemed professors pick your work to be a part of this event is a huge accomplishment,” Leever said.  

Leever’s two essays were written for two of her English classes. “The Disease of Ennui: A Perpetual State of Boredom and Loss of Desire in the Works of Baudeelair, Flaubert, and Huysmans,” was written for her European Literature in Translation English class.  

“In a nutshell this one was about the disease of ennui in Charles Baudelaire’s ‘Flowers of Evil,’ Gustave Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary‘ and Joris-Karl Huysman’s  ‘Against Nature.’ Ennui have lost an appetite for life, and no matter what circumstances they are in, no matter rich or poor, they are never happy,” Leever explained.

The second essay she shared was written for her Ancient Literature class. In her paper entitled “The Glory and Fame of Achilles and Odysseus in ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘The Iliad’” she chose to evaluate the glory and honor of two Greek heroes.

Leever said glory and what warriors did to achieve glory were very prominent themes in these works. “The whole aspect of doing whatever you could to achieve glory and fame was fascinating to me,” Leever said, “I also really enjoyed the characters of Achilles and Odysseus. I wanted to take the topic of glory and apply it to the characters who were two of the most glorified warriors from the Trojan War.”

The Thomas Hall conference included over 50 other English students reading their opinions and evaluating issues in literature discussed in class. In the Holocaust section, three students shared takes on parts of the Holocaust that are often overlooked.  

After a day of honoring these English students’ writing, a board of judges who critiqued the essays, conducted an awards ceremony.

Leever says students should get involved, “I definitely would recommend it. Not only does it look good on a resume for future references but it is also a great honor.


I also think everyone should take opportunities involved with public speaking. It can be intimidating but it is also very gratifying to let others know how hard you have worked.


To me, being a part of the conference is a reward for the effort I put into my studies all year.”


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