Students Present at Honors Conference

0 Commentsby   |  04.01.10  |  Announcements, Student Spotlight

Three ACU English majors who are also Honors College students presented papers at the Great Plains Honors Council’s 2010 Conference, held March 26-27 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Great Plains Honors Council, an associate of the National Collegiate Honors Council, is the regional organization which serves Honors programs at universities in a six-state region. The annual conference was attended by over 250 students, faculty, and staff from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Students and faculty from any discipline are welcome to submit papers and panel presentations.

Josh Alkire

Joshua Alkire

Joshua Alkire, senior English and family ministries major from Abilene, received a Boe award for his paper, entitled “The Face of the Man: Fumie and Christian Art in Shusaku Endo’s Silence.” The Boe award recognizes “outstanding scholarly work” among undergraduate papers presented at the conference, according to Alkire examined portraits of Christ through the eyes of a fictional Portuguese Jesuit, Sebastião Rodrigues, the lead character in Shusaku Endo’s Silence. Alkire said Rodrigues’ perception of Christ changes as he observes persecuted Japanese Christians, who were being pressured to renounce their faith by stepping on a picture of Christ.

Alkire said he understood the novel more deeply once he researched the Japanese images of Christ, called fumie, for himself. “It’s a small piece of blackened wood, dirtied from so many people stepping on it,” Alkire said. “The face of Christ in Japanese art during the 17th century is this humiliated, worn-down Christ.”

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Megan Faver

Megan Faver Hartline examined the commercialization of weddings in her paper, “The Most Important, and Now Commercialized, Day of Your Life.” Hartline—who was married just last summer—noted how wedding planners, marketing agencies, and a consortium of service providers have “changed the wedding ceremony from a sacrament into an industry.” Her paper pointed out that bridal magazines and salespersons are quick to label practices that date back only a few years as important wedding “traditions.”

Oscar Wilde’s well known novel of corruption was the subject of Katherine Sinclair’s presentation “The Monster Within: The Role of Roman Catholic Concepts of Sin in The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Sinclair, senior English major from Abilene, said she identified with the themes in the novel. “Dorian Gray doesn’t realize the terrible things he’s doing to everyone,” Sinclair said. “That’s just human nature.”


Katherine Sinclair

Sinclair said compiling this scholarly presentation was the first time she felt her writing rose above a simple reiteration of something she had read before. She also appreciated the opportunity to present her paper through powerpoint and a concise oral summary. The ability to be able to think through and present one’s own ideas is essential to any communicator, Sinclair said. “I think presenting papers is something all English majors should do, regardless of what career they enter.”

Alkire also valued the resume-building preparation for graduate school and career that the conference afforded—even more than the $200 check he received as part of the Boe award. “I counted up the hours I spent revising it, and I think I got a little over minimum wage,” Alkire said. Still, he noted, that was “more than you get for most papers.”

The students were accompanied to Tulsa by Dr. Joe Stephenson, interim Dean of the Honors College, and Mrs. Stephanie Smith, Honors College advisor. “We are very happy these students got to present their research at the conference,” said Stephenson, who is also an Assistant Professor of English. The Honors College paid for the registration, hotel, transportation, and meals for the students. “The ACU papers were among the best at the conference,” said Stephenson, who added it was “no surprise that three of the four papers accepted to the conference were from English. The students had obviously been prepared well by their work with English faculty members.” Josh Alkire’s paper had been prepared for a class with Dr. Steven Weathers; Megan Faver Hartline’s paper for a class Dr. Laura Carrol; and Katherine Sinclair’s with Dr. Bill Carrol.

Christianna Lewis of the ACU Optimist helped prepare this press release.

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