By Kevin Saxe
On Wednesday afternoon, the newly created Department of Language, Writing, and Journalism (LWJ) hosted a student colloquium in the forum on the second floor of the Learning Commons. Students at the colloquium spoke on their experiences at internships, conferences, and various other activities in the fields of journalism and English.
LWJ Professor of English and Honors Program Director Becky Lartigue feels it’s important to recognize students’ experiences.
“We really value the work that students do and we’re really proud of it. We wanted to have an opportunity to showcase it not just to faculty and administrators, but to underclassmen so they can see the opportunities open for them,” she said.
The first of the five groups that presented included senior Gabby Guerard (Editor in Chief of The Springfield Student) and Jack Margaros (Sports Editor for The Springfield Student). Guerard, Margaros and other members of The Student editorial staff attended an annual journalism convention that was held in La Jolla, California last year.
They were able to see the other ways colleges do things with their student newspapers and bring some of those ideas back to Springfield. While at the conference, the group attended workshops on breaking news coverage, feature writing, layout tips, and much more.
The second group to present was the internship group. This group featured Guerard and Margaros, as well as Springfield College senior Cam Smith and juniors Danny Priest and Kris Rhim. The students in the group talked about their experiences and big takeaways from their various internships. The group also spoke on how they would encourage underclassmen to pursue internships and gain valuable experience from them.
The third group included Rhim and senior Nick Perenick talking about their experience on the St. Augustine, Florida trip that occured last year over spring break. The focus of the trip was civil justice, in part how Dr. Martin Luther King was jailed in St. Augustine in 1964 just days before he was set to give the commencement here at Springfield. Both Rhim and Perenick talked about the interesting past of St. Augustine as well as how some of the people in St. Augustine still twist the history of the city. They talked about the different locations they went to, as well as the people they met including Janie Price, a 93-year-old retired nurse who once housed Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964.
“I think with this experience, you kind of learn the importance of speaking up. All of these things fuel me to speak about my passions and be passionate about something,” Rhim said.
The fourth group to speak included senior Emily Van Horn and recent graduate Lakeisha Reed. Reed and Van Horn talked about their experience attending the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Pittsburgh, PA. One takeaway for both Reed and Van Horn was being able to share their work and be around like-minded people in that environment. They presented on an undergraduate panel and also attended various other panels throughout the event. Van Horn explained how a professor from a different school took a picture of their poster and tagged them and tweeted it out. “It was really cool to see the way it spread to others and that a bunch of people were commenting on it as well,” she said.
The final person who presented was Reed, who talked about the group that went to the Sigma Tau Delta convention in St. Louis, MO. She explained how they had the opportunity to explore the city while also preparing for their presentation. Reed, who graduated in May and is now a second-grade teacher, felt the experience was extremely valuable.
“It was great, I met a lot of people and was able to network with other undergraduate students. It drew me closer to my peers as well and it made us closer on a different level than just being in the same class as each other,” she said. “Being able to read my work and people were interested in what I had to say was great. I don’t say much, but I guess when I do I have an impact.”
As the event wrapped up, Lartigue was satisfied with how things went.
“I was very pleased. I always want more underclassmen to come and to think about this and see themselves in the presenters, but if even just a few get some ideas and start to get ideas that’s great. The faculty are always delighted with these things and love seeing you all do great things.”
Photo Courtesy Springfield College Marketing & Communications