“The Liminal Gutter: The Literary Impact of the Memoir Graphic Novel” by Dixie State University’s own Kelsey Jetter won her a $600 check and a moment of fame at the recent Sigma Tau Delta convention in Minneapolis.
Jetter, a senior English major from St. George, is a member of Sigma Tau Delta — an English honors society designed to recognize students of high academic achievement in the field of English and language study. Jetter was one of the 10 members who were invited to the convention this year where she was awarded the Best Paper Presentation for Media and Popular Studies.
“[Jetter] did a great paper about the liminal gutters — the space in between the pictures in comic books,” said Kim New, a senior English major from La Verkin and the president of the club. “When they started to announce the name of her paper, our whole table jumped up in cheer, and you couldn’t even hear the rest of the announcement.”
Jetter’s victory was announced in a room of 1,200 best and brightest Sigma Tau Delta members from across the United States and Middle East, said Ami Comeford, an associate English professor and Sigma Tau Delta adviser.
“It’s so great for [DSU],” Comeford said. “They know us as a very high-achieving group.”
Though the society was nationally founded in 1924, DSU’s chapter did not begin until April 2008. Since then, the club has won the Outstanding Chapter Award multiple times at the international convention, New said. Sigma Tau Delta was also recognized as the Club of the Year at the Dixie Awards in 2014.
“Our motto … is sincerity, truth and design,” Comeford said. “We like to foster appreciation and understanding of literature and value that it has for all of us in helping to create more civic-minded, empathetic individuals.”
Sigma Tau Delta awards a lot of money in scholarships and motivates its introverted members to be involved in the larger campus community, Comeford said.
Aside from their annual Rummage Sale in October and a trip to the international Sigma Tau Delta convention in March, the club members host a plethora of literature-inspired activities for its members and the community.
“I really like our rummage sale,” Jetter said. “That’s our biggest fundraiser (for) the convention. We always [raise] about $1,000.”
Literary analyses of films such as “The Great Gatsby,” bimonthly TED Talk discussions, frequent celebrations of distinguished English authors’ birthdays, and the celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the first publication of the Southern Quill are some of the most notable events Sigma Tau Delta has held in the past.
Similarly, the club remains incredibly active as a member of the Inter Club Council by participating in campus events.
“As a club, we volunteered to help with the special needs carnival,” New said. “That’s probably one of my best memories at [DSU] overall. It was a lot of fun.”
With over 80 alumni and 30 active members, DSU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta is a great place to network, Jetter said.
“[You get] an opportunity to get the whole English community to see your work,” she said. “English isn’t a major that’s taken very seriously, (but) meeting the people in the club and our awesome professors in our department … (has) really shown me that anything is possible with an English degree.”
Twenty of the club’s members are graduating this year and will be leaving DSU, New said. The club will be recruiting new members in the fall.