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News Release

April 18, 2023

English, writing students present papers at national convention, Cox awarded best essay

By Kayla Holman, communication assistant

Two Northwest Missouri State University students recently presented their scholarly work at the 2023 Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society convention where one student earned an award for best presentation.

Lauren Cox, a senior English major from Smithville, Missouri, presented her paper, titled “Queer Theory in The Outsiders,” which received the Isabel Sparks President’s Award in the critical essays category for American, world and other critical topics. Cox’s paper analyzed the book “The Outsiders” and used subtext to uncover queer themes to allow a wider range of readers to relate to the classic story.

Members from throughout the country attended and presented writing at the convention March 30 through April 1 in Denver.

“It was such a huge honor,” Cox said. “The fact that people cared about my topic enough to award it with something and that I wrote about it in such a successful way really made me feel so proud and really grateful that I was given the opportunity.”

Additionally, Kourtnie Stenwall, a senior from Lincoln, Nebraska, who is majoring in writing with an emphasis in creative writing, presented her paper, “Christianization and Latin significance to English.” The paper reviewed the history of the English language through Christianity and detailed its spread throughout Europe and Latin areas, resulting with the words people use today.

“Going to the conference was a big thing for me and presenting was super huge,” Stenwall said. “It was a topic that I was really passionate about.”

Both Stenwall and Cox appreciated the networking opportunities and connections the conference and Sigma Tau Delta offered them.

“Northwest is such a great resource to getting there,” Cox said. “I never would’ve been able to meet any of those people if I hadn’t been part of the organization.”

Stenwall, who graduates from Northwest in May, has begun working remotely as a part-time program assistant for a Christian non-profit, A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, and will move to Denver later this spring. Cox will return to Northwest for graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in English and hopes to become a book publisher.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215