Drew University students present their work at the International English Honor Society convention

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Drew University students present their work at the International English Honor Society convention

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

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

Both left with more than they expected: one with an internship and the other with an award.


Paczkowski, left, and Downer, right.

Downer’s story, “I’ve Been Lied To,” was written in a short story studio in Drew and explores lesser-known identities in the LGBTQ+ community, particularly aromantism and asexuality.

Hoping to work in the publishing industry, Downer also applied to intern at both honor society journals, the Rectanglewhich includes creative works, and the Reviewwhich publishes critical articles.

Downer, a double major in English and Philosophy and a double minor in Creative Writing and Media and Communications, was one of three students to be accepted as an intern from a pool of 150 applicants. She was the only undergraduate selected .

Downer will work with the journals’ editor to prepare them for publication, a process that will involve reading all submissions and narrowing the list of faculty reviews. She and the other interns will then edit accepted submissions, including creative online editing work, and ensure that critical articles are properly cited.

Paczkowski, a double major in English and Biology and a minor in Literature, not only presented his 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 congress website.

“It’s a creative non-fiction piece about growing up queer in a Catholic school,” Paczkowski said. “It was amazing to receive the award as it was the first time I had won something for my writing. It was especially flattering considering it is a non-fiction work.

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



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

Downer and Paczkowski were quick to recognize Zoffness and Sandra Jamieson, English teacher and writing director for the entire program.

“They’ve both been great and supportive through this process,” Paczkowski said.

“If it hadn’t been for Professor Jamieson’s ongoing help, support and dedication to his students, I might not have attended the convention, but more importantly, she helped me helped me tremendously to grow as a student, writer, editor, tutor, and as a person during my time here at Drew,” Downer said.

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

Downer also noted Erik Anderson, professor of philosophy and environmental and sustainability studies 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 and media; and Chris Carbone and Gwen DeBenedetto of the Center for Career Development for their continued support of his professional development.

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