Saint Martin’s student to present original poetry collection at Sigma Tau Delta International Convention

February 21, 2014

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Saint Martin’s University student Amy Pollard ’16 is traveling to Savannah, Ga., next week to present an original poetry collection at the Sigma Tau Delta 2014 International Convention.

“I’m very excited to represent Saint Martin’s University, in particular the University English department, at this event,” says Pollard, an English major. “I think that the opportunity to present at a conference is valuable for any student because it offers professional experience in areas such as public speaking, networking and representing an organization, in this case, Saint Martin’s University. I want to pave the way for more Saint Martin’s students – especially those in the humanities – to gain this professional experience.”

The convention is scheduled to be held Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Saturday, March 1 at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront Hotel.

Pollard is vice president of the University’s Kappa Upsilon chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. She will be joined at the conference by Julia Chavez, Ph.D., assistant professor of English. Chavez and Jamie Olson, Ph.D., associate professor of English, are the faculty sponsors for Sigma Tau Delta at Saint Martin’s. Kappa Upsilon is one of more than 800 active chapters of the English honor society, which was established in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University, in part, to confer distinction on students at four-year colleges and universities for high achievement in English language, literature and writing.

Pollard’s poetry collection is titled “Devolution” and consists of nine poems she authored in high school and during her time at Saint Martin’s. “I don’t think a poem is ever completely finished,” she says, “but I’m proud of how far these have come and I’m looking forward to sharing them.”

Nearly every spring, Kappa Upsilon sends one or more of its members to present their work at the society’s annual convention, which in recent years has taken place in St. Louis, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Portland.

Olson, who is Pollard’s creative writing professor, says of her work, “Amy is one of the most gifted poets I’ve encountered here, and she works harder than just about anyone else on her poetry. Her poems are beautiful, complex pieces that have obviously been shaped by a keen ear and a vivid imagination.”

Jeff Birkenstein, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Saint Martin’s Department of English, says attending conventions such as this is vital to a student’s professional development. “It is crucial that our students attend these events and share their ideas and research by presenting papers, poetry collections and other works. We have the excellent Scholars Day here on our campus every April, which is a wonderful and long-held tradition of providing a serious, conference-like experience for our students.”

“But the opportunity to take this to the next level and present their work to students and faculty from all over the globe is another big step into the ‘real world’ of serious ideas.”

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Julia Chavez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of English

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager