Phi Phi Chapter, Santa Clara University
Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, is dedicated to three endeavors that it symbolizes by the Greek letters of its name: Sincerity, Truth and Design.
Sigma Tau Delta's central purpose is to confer distinction upon outstanding students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature.
Established in 1987, the SCU chapter was initially rather low-key, but in the last few years, it has sent representatives to the annual international convention held in March. The first students to go to an annual convention can be credited with breathing life and encouraging activity into the Phi Phi Chapter.
A member of the Association of College Honor Societies, Sigma Tau Delta is comprised of over 560 chapters located throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean. Visit the Sigma Tau Delta International Web site.
Established in 1987, the Phi Phi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta raised the minimum requirements for membership as the Central Office permits individual chapters to do. To be eligible for membership in the Phi Phi Chapter, students must meet the following requirements:
- Have completed a minimum of 2 upper-division English courses at SCU
- Be either an English major or an English minor
- Have a 3.5 cumulative GPA
- Have a 3.5 cumulative GPA in all English courses
- Be currently enrolled at SCU
Treasurer: Alexis Miller
Secretary: Samantha Castillo
Elena Isabel Robles
In 1999-2000, the Phi Phi chapter initiated the now annual Best Papers of Literary Analysis competition. The officers judge essays that members submit, and then the chapter publishes the ones seen as exemplary.
Carrie Dodson was awarded a monetary honorarium on the basis of hers being judged the best in the inaugural year.
Melody Van Horn received both that honor and the honorarium during the second year--and the journal now has a title!
Literat now also publishes the winning essays of the Katherine Woodall and Christiaan Lievestro Competitions.
The 2002-03 winner of the chapter competition was Rachel Anne Boll, who received the honorarium and publication in Literat.
The chapter was represented by two members – seniors Helena Isabella Alfajora and Natalie Grazian – at the annual convention, held in Minneapolis, MN, March 2-6, 2016. Helena presented her paper “Ozymandias' Paradise in the Sonnets of Michelangelo” in a panel on British Lyric Poetry. You can listen to and watch her fine delivery here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bparHxZNd6k. Natalie presented her short story “Venus Reborn” on a panel of Original Fiction with the theme of Myth and Fantasy – and won second place in the category of Original Fiction (along with a monetary prize!) of those pieces read at the convention, with students who were both undergraduates and graduate students!
The chapter was represented by three members -- junior Natalie Grazian and seniors Sabine Hoskinson and Jacob Wilbers -- at the annual convention, held in Albuquerque NM March 18-22, 2015, Sabine read a piece of creative nonfiction: "Floating in the Mediterranean"; Jacob read "Colored Vision: Identity in DeLillo's White Noise"; and Natalie read "The Upside to Nightmares." They also enjoyed attending talks by convention speakers Gary Soto and Leslie Marmon Silko.
March 20-24, 2013, at the annual convention of Sigma Tau Delta, in Portland OR, senior English majors and Sigma Tau Delta officers Gabriela Solis, Lindsey Nguyen, and Joanne Santomauro represented Santa Clara well, Gaby and Joanne delivering papers at the convention (Joanne ‘s was "The Necessity of Grammar and Self-Expression" and Gaby’s was "Leave the Women Alone! Ma Joad as a Realistic Character"). Also at that conference, co-faculty moderators Simone Billings andMichael Lasley accepted a couple of plaques for our chapter: one for commemorating the 25th year anniversary of the founding of our chapter, and the other for Billings serving as a faculty moderator for 25 years.
Also at the convention we learned that three officers won for blog posts in the Far Western Region competition, which could be submitted on three different topics: region and literature, book and film review, and open topic. Lindsey Nguyen won 1st place in the category of Open Topic; Joanne Santomauro won 2nd place in the Region category; and Hallie McKnight won 3rd place in the Review category. And our good news at the convention continued: we found out at the awards ceremony that alumna Tanya Schmidt has received a monetary award for graduate school study! She will use that toward her tuition for NYU in the Fall, after she has completed playing volleyball for a Belgium team.
February 29-March 2, 2012, three seniors represented Santa Clara at the Sigma Tau Delta international convention in New Orleans: Joseph Forte presented his paper “Edgar Allen Poe: Feminist Hero or Sexist Humbert?”; Tanya Schmidt read “Hero’s Resistance Against Patriarchal Oppression in Much Ado About Nothing”; and R. Jon Teel read his short story “The Smell of Ending." Also at that conference, co-faculty sponsor Simone Billings moderated the panel that the three students and co-sponsor Michael Lasley comprised: the roundtable “Service Learning Reawakens Our Sense of Ourselves.” The panelists provided brief overviews of the kind of community service projects they had been involved with, with a lively discussion following the presentations.
In October 2011, R. Jon Teel presented two of his pieces – that is, his submissions were selected for presentation at – Pilgrimage West, the Far Western Regional Conference at Chapman University in Southern California. There Jon read “Unleashed” (creative fiction) and “Hrunting and Naegling” (an analytical essay).
Senior Hilary Titus and juniors Tanya Schmidt and Julianne Parayo presented their work at the annual convention in Pittsburgh, PA. All three presented information on the panel "Beyond Words," Hilary exploring her participation in praxis-based education in El Salvador, Tanya reflecting on the grade-school children she taught English to in Peru, and Julianne reflecting on her internship with a London-based performing arts charity. Each also had individual work to present at the convention as well. Hilary presented her creative nonfiction piece, "I Will Sing Their Song." Julianne read her critical essay "Salinger/Zooey: Nostalgia." And Tanya not only read her original poetry in a grouping called "Peru: A People I Also Call Family" but also presented an analysis of two films in a critical essay, "An Exploration of How We Create Invisible Borders."
Seniors Kate Guarente and Liza Sweeney presented papers at the annual convention in St. Louis MO. Liza presented her paper "Literal and Figurative Labyrinths in Bolaño's 2666 and del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth," and Kate presented "Keats’ view of art as seen through ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn.’"
Junior Kate Guarente attended the annual convention in Minneapolis, MN, along with sponsor Simone Billings to gather ideas for how to re-invigorate the Santa Clara chapter.
Seniors Julianne Jigour and Hilary Edwards and junior Kelsey Maher presented their analytical essays in March 2008 in Louisville, KY. The three-day conference always concludes with the Awards Banquet. There we were surprised to find that a few of us would be receiving plaques: chapter sponsor Simone Billings in honor of her 20th year of being a chapter sponsor at Santa Clara University; Julie for her service as Associate Student Representative for the Far Western region; and our chapter itself to commemorate our 20th year of having a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. These acknowledgements just add to our previous successes when we’ve attended the convention.
Juniors Julianne Jigour and Liam Satre-Meloy and senior Scott Klausner presented their analytical essays and creative nonfiction in March 2007 in Pittsburgh, PA during Spring Break. Sponsor Simone Billings received a plaque and a monetary prize as the winner of the Elaine W. Hughes Outstanding Sponsor Award for 2007 at the convention's awards banquet.
Junior Scott Klausner and seniors Christina Fialho and Heidi Williams presented their analytical essays and creative nonfiction in March 2006 in Portland OR during Spring Break. Christina Fialho and Faculty Co-Sponsor Simone Billings appeared on a panel on Faculty-Student Mentorships. Alumna Katherine Quevedo read her poetry at the convention as well.
Seniors Matt Accardo, Jen Re, Katherine Quevedo, and Olga Kuskova all presented their work at the annual convention of Sigma Tau Delta in Daytona Beach, Florida, held at a beachfront hotel—yes, during Spring Break. But they read their creative nonfiction and analytical essays dutifully—and Olga’s essay analyzing Pasternak’s translation of Hamlet into Russian was awarded First Place in the Analytical Essay category out of all the papers at the convention! As one of two Canterbury Scholars, Olga represented well the work she had been doing with Professor Judith Dunbar. Katherine Quevedo and Sponsor Simone Billings also chair or moderate several panels at the convention.
Junior Katherine Quevedo and seniors Shiaw-Ling Lai, Adam Lowry, and Geoffrey Rocca all presented papers at the annual convention of Sigma Tau Delta, held March 19-23, 2003, in Cincinnati OH, and two came home with awards. Quevedo also was a member of a panel on Student Teaching, talking about her experiences as a peer educator at Santa Clara. Both Lai and Quevedo also chaired panels of readers from other universities; Faculty Sponsor Simone J. Billings moderated a few sessions as well.
Out of the 162 critical essays presented, Lowry received 3rd place for his essay “The Dehumanizing Costs of Perfection: An Analysis of Part IV of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.” It was part of the work he was doing as a Canterbury Scholar working with Professors Rynes and Billings. Quevedo received one of the two honorable mentions in the same category for her essay “The Senses and Insensibility: An Analysis of Sensory Perceptions in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Billings received a plaque for her 15 years of service as Chapter Sponsor of the SCU chapter. Billings continued as Far West Regent on the Sigma Tau Delta’s Board of Directors for another year, and Quevedo joined the Board of Directors, having been elected Far West Student Representative at this convention. Both were responsible for maintaining communication among the 38 chapters in the 8 states and one territory in their region and encouraging interaction among these chapters.
In 2002, seniors Carrie Dodson, Joseph Caporale, and Katherine McGuire read poetry and analytic essays at the March convention in Boise ID March 13-17. Carrie's translations of poems from Spanish to English (works by Central and South American women poets) garnered her the honor of being one of the finalists for the President's Awards at the convention in the category of poetry. Katherine's essay—“Removing the Cultural Mask in Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible”—earned her the honor of being one of the finalists for the President's Awards for analytical essay.
In 2001, seniors Katie Colendich, Dana Wolfe, Daniela Gibson, and Kara Thompson read both analytical papers and poetry at the March 2001 convention. They did well despite the tornado that kept their plane from landing in Dallas for the connecting flight to Corpus—from San Jose, it took them nearly 15 hours to get to Corpus!
In 2000, Mary Nuxoll, Jim Duncan, Shannon Roth, and Katie Colendich read their papers at the convention in Savannah, GA--it was their first time in the South, and they greatly enjoyed that famed Southern hospitality!
Mary and Shannon won first and second prize in the Bad Poetry Competition, and the fact that Katie was one of the judges was not a factor, she swears!
In 1999, Mary Nuxoll and Jim Duncan went to St. Louis, their first time in that city, and marveled at the ride in the Arch! They also happily had their picture taken with the author Amy Tan--ironically, somewhat, at this convention in St. Louis since Tan is also from the SF Bay Area where Santa Clara University is located!
At this convention, the chapter also took home a plaque commending the Phi Phi Chapter with an Honorable Mention as Outstanding Chapter of the Year.
In 1998, seven members drove down from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, CA, to deliver papers at the convention. Shannon Nessier, Vice President of the chapter during her senior year, won one of the Best of Convention--Analytic Paper awards! Two others, Patricia Ball and Megan Tracy, won Best of Session for their respective sessions.
The 1997 convention in Savannah, GA, saw the first presence of Santa Clara University thanks to the work of President Michele Benedetto, Vice-President Michael Crow, and Treasurer Michael Bunn. All those officers enjoyed reading their papers, going to the various sessions, and meeting such luminaries as John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. They'll remember always renting a car to go to see the Atlantic--the first time in their lives to see the other ocean! Michele was thrilled to learn that her paper had earned a Best of Session recognition.
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As students write their papers, if they have questions about grammar, they may find the following sites useful.