Drew University Students Present Their Work at International English Honor Society Convention

Emma-Li Downer C’23 will intern with Sigma Tau Delta and Hannah Paczkowski C’22’s work won an award

April 2022 – Drew University students Emma-Li Downer C’23 and Hannah Paczkowski C’22 recently presented their written works at the International English Honor Society—Sigma Tau Delta—annual convention in Atlanta.

Both came away with more than they’d expected—one with an internship and one with an award.

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Paczkowski, left, and Downer, right.
Downer’s story, “I’ve Been Lied To,” was written in a short story workshop at Drew and explores lesser-known identities in the LGBTQ+ community, specifically aromanticism and asexuality.

With hopes of working in the publishing industry, Downer also applied to intern with the honor society’s two journals, the Rectangle, which includes creative works, and the Review, which publishes critical papers.

Downer, an English and philosophy double major and creative writing and media and communications double minor, was one of three students to be accepted as an intern out of an applicant pool of 150. She was the only undergraduate student selected.

Downer will work with the managing editor of the journals to get them ready for publication, a process that will involve reading all submissions and narrowing the list for faculty reviews. She and the other interns will then edit the accepted submissions, including line-editing creative work and ensuring critical papers are properly cited.

Paczkowski, an English and biology double major and literature minor, not only presented their work, “Notes on Repression,” but also received second place for the Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Award, given annually for outstanding work “representing or celebrating the LGBT community and its literary contributions,” according to the convention website.

“It’s a creative nonfiction piece about growing up queer in catholic school,” said Paczkowski. “It felt amazing to receive the award as it was my first time winning something for my writing. It was especially flattering considering it’s a nonfiction piece.”

Paczkowski originally began “Notes on Repression” in a creative nonfiction course taught by Courtney Zoffness, assistant professor and director of Drew’s creative writing program.

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Downer, right, with a fellow future Sigma Tau Delta intern.

Downer and Paczkowski were both quick to recognize Zoffness and Sandra Jamieson, professor of English and director of writing across the curriculum.

“They’ve both been wonderful and supportive during this process,” said Paczkowski.

“If it were not for Professor Jamieson’s continuous help, support, and dedication to her students, I might not have gone to the convention—but, most importantly, she has helped me grow immensely as a student, writer, editor, tutor, and as a person during my time here at Drew,” said Downer.

“Professor Zoffness has been extremely helpful as I hone my skills as a creative writer and as I look to enter the publishing industry after Drew,” she added.

Downer also noted Erik Anderson, professor of philosophy and environmental studies and sustainability and chair of philosophy, for helping her develop a clear voice; Jeremy Blatter, assistant professor of media and communications, for his guidance during the New York Semester on Communications & Media; and the Center for Career Development‘s Chris Carbone and Gwen DeBenedetto for their continuous support of her professional development.

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