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English Symposium Builds Students’ Skills and Professionalism

Photograph of the creative panel
Professor Hannah Baggott Anderson (far left) introduces creative panel participants Sydney Blake (middle) and Anthony Mungo, Jr. (far right).

The ETFL Student Engagement and Recruitment Committee and the English Program hosted an English Symposium on April 1, 2019.  This event allowed students to present their research and creative works to a larger community of students and scholars.

Several students participated including Jordan Williams, Alisabeth Limon, Déja Duff, Sydney Blake, and Anthony Mungo, Jr.  ETFL Faculty members were instrumental in mentoring their students and encouraging them to present their work.  

Anthony Mungo, Jr., a junior English major with a minor in African American Studies said, “I wanted to utilize the symposium as a way to allow for other students of color to become encouraged and empowered to present one of their works or scholarship that they might have been working on and researching.”

The event also included keynote speaker Judge Angelica Chavis McIntyre, who spoke about how majoring in English helped her in law school, in her position as an assistant district attorney in Robeson County from 2012-2018, and in her position as newly-elected District Court Judge in Robeson County. 

Dr. Nikki Agee, who coordinated the event noted, “We are extremely proud of the students who presented their work. We are also deeply grateful to the ETFL faculty, who encouraged their students to submit papers, who promoted the event, and who attended the presentations.”   

The English Symposium was valuable for both students and faculty members.  As Dr. Mike Berntsen, Chair of the Student Engagement and Recruitment Committee, noted, “The event succeeded for two reasons.  First, our students stepped out of their comfort zones by standing in front of their peers and mentors to present their hard work and unique visions.  Second, our faculty embraced this event since so many faculty members attended one or all of the sessions.  I am grateful for our talented students and our exceptional colleagues.”   

Sydney Blake, a senior English major with two minors, one in creative writing and one in legal studies, highlighted how much students got out of the symposium.  “I would encourage any English student to submit a paper and participate.  The experience is so important, especially for anyone planning to pursue a career in English.  The most important part is to remember that you are in a safe place surrounded by peers and professors who love literature and want to hear what you have to say,” said Blake.