University News

Dixie State University

DSU English Department Students Shine at National Conferences

April 1, 2015


Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

The Dixie State University English department and its Alpha Pi Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta International Honor Society were presented with a pair of prestigious awards at the annual Sigma Tau Delta National Conference held earlier this semester in Albuquerque, NM.

At the conference, 12 DSU students and one alumnus were accepted to present their original research and creative work for review by professors and peers from across the country. Melissa Jessop, who is an English Literary Studies major, was awarded third place at the conference in the category of Popular Culture, Film and Media Studies, for her paper entitled “Sexual Symbolism in Joss Whedon’s Firefly,” a paper written under the direction of DSU Associate Professor of English Dr. Ami Comeford.

“Our continued success at the national level is due to the support for undergraduate research by our student government leaders and the DSU administration, which all provide significant funding for students to attend these events,” said Dr. Comeford, who also serves as DSU’s Alpha Pi Epsilon chapter advisor. “Additionally, President [Richard B.] Williams has been a supporter of student academic success since the beginning of his administration last year.”

In addition, the DSU chapter was awarded first place and a $100 stipend at the conference for its “Outstanding Chapter Display,” which showcased the efforts and activities of Dixie State English students over the past year. This was the third-straight year DSU was invited to enter a display into competition, having won top honors in 2013, and placed second overall in 2014. In all, only 15 schools nationwide are invited annually to present a chapter display.

Along with Jessop, DSU was represented by students Aspen Stoddard, Kelsey Robertson, Jordan Kearns, Polly Bringhurst, Kimberly New, Kelsey Jetter, Olivia Hutchinson, Payton Davis, Aaron Palmer, Kayley Hopster and Kelton Crooks, along with DSU alumnus Bronson Beatty.

“Our high acceptance numbers speak to the quality and successful academic performance of our students as well as the rigor and professionalization of DSU’s English program,” Comeford noted. “Our students are consistently some of the strongest presenters at the conference, in both critical scholarship and creative genres. That speaks to the exceptional dedication of our faculty in mentoring and academically preparing students for this experience, under the current leadership of [DSU English Department Chair] Dr. Randy Jasmine.”

Along with the honors garnered last month, Jessop and fellow DSU student Keiran Presland presented creative and critical presentations at the National Undergraduate Literature Conference held at Weber State University last week. Jessop presented her creative non-fiction work, while Presland presented his paper entitled “The Categorization of the Erotic: John Donne’s Love Poetry.”

Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honor Society founded at Dakota Wesleyan University in 1924. Sigma Tau Delta’s central purpose is to confer distinction upon 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.

For more information on DSU’s Alpha Pi Epsilon chapter, please email Dr. Comeford at