The 2nd biennial Daniel Diephouse Graduate Student Conference gave many Trinity students the opportunity to engage with current graduate students, as well as receive feedback on their own writings. The conference was held Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20.
The conference opened with presentations by Trinity alumni Elyse Lamszus ’08, Jana Tigchelaar ’00, and Allison Backous ’07, who are current graduate students. Lamszus and Tigchelaar offered academic papers while Backous read a creative non-fiction piece. Bill Boerman-Cornell, assistant professor of education, also presented “Graphic Novels in the Discipline of History.”
“It was good to hear a paper written by someone who is accomplished in English and delving into their career or in grad school,” said Alberto LaRosa ’13 of Glendale Heights, Illinois, as he reflected on the event. “They were well written and nothing short of inspiring.”
Following the presentations, students participating in the upcoming regional undergraduate English conference at St. Francis University in Joliet, Illinois, gathered for a luncheon and writing workshop with the speakers, who offered affirmation and advice as the students read portions of their papers.
“They had good feedback, and they made me feel like my paper was worth something more than just a simple school assignment, almost like it was a masterpiece in progress,” LaRosa said.
The evening portion included readings from Dr. Dan Diephouse, English professor emeritus, who read his poem “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and Jeff Tigchelaar ’99, winner of the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award.
The Saturday brunch was open to all students interested in graduate school. This time provided an opportunity for the guest speakers to share their experiences at Trinity and emphasize its importance. The message: Don’t underestimate the excellent education you’re getting at Trinity.
“The information I acquired from that brunch was invaluable as I heard the testimonies of current graduate school students and was able to ask them anything I need clarification on,” said Brooke Bozarth ’13, of Owensboro, Kentucky. “They shared the story of their journey to grad school and walked us through the process, letting us know what we should look for in a school and what schools look for in us.”
Students reflected positively on the event noting the importance of the information received.
“The Diephouse conference was very enlightening,” said Bozarth. “It laid out what I could expect from graduate school applications and actual graduate programs.”
“The Daniel Diephouse Graduate Conference is an important extension of a Trinity education in English and literature,” said Dr. Mike Vander Weele ’73, professor of English. “Faculty members in the English department hope funding can be raised to ensure that this valuable experience continues to be offered to students.”