The Monmouth University Department of English extends its deepest thanks and appreciation to Associate Professor Emerita of English Caryl Sills for her ongoing generosity. Dr. Sills, donor for the teaching award that bears her name, joined Monmouth’s Department of English in 1986, serving as chair from 1996 through 2006, the year of her retirement.
We also extend our sincere gratitude to Monmouth University’s First-Year Advising; in addition to the hard work they do all year around, they generously contributed to tonight’s awards for First- Year Composition.
Patricia Banfitch is the recipient of the Undergraduate Creative Writing award for her short story “Confessions.” The story follows a complex protagonist, Gabriel, on what turns out to be his last day at work before being fired. Gabriel is as keen an observer of others as he is myopic about his own motives. Prone to psychological projection, quick to react with disgust, smart but fairly un-self-aware, he makes for a compelling and mysterious main character. Banfitch’s narration is confident, her character interiority illuminating, and her sentences are scintillating: surprising, funny, and moving.
The Caryl Sills Teaching Award, generously sponsored by English Department Professor Emerita and former Department Chair Dr. Caryl Sills, honors seniors double-majoring in English and Education who, in addition to academic excellence, exhibit great promise as teachers. This year, the award goes to Kristina Bonadonna, who has distinguished herself by demonstrating an uncommon drive to broaden her horizons, pursue her intellectual interests, and draw on these interests to inform and energize her passion for teaching. Over her four years at Mon- mouth, Kristina has somehow carved out the time to not only earn a 3.9 cumulative GPA in the English major and her Education courses, but also to complete an elective minor in Art History, to enroll and succeed as an undergraduate student in a challenging graduate-level Rhetoric of Science course, and to develop and articulate a compelling and coherent philosophy of rhetorical, critical, and community-engaged literacy education that contributed to her being selected as part of the 2021 Teach for America Corps. Kristina will spend the next two years helping to expand access and opportunity for low-income children by teaching at an urban public school in Connecticut, an experience we are confident will help orient and motivate her to remain committed to and excited about teaching as a means of empowering others, strengthening communities, and changing the world.
The Academic Merit Award, which recognizes the distinguished academic career, university and departmental service of a graduating English major, goes this year to Melissa Lauria. Lauria, an English Secondary Education major (with a Creative Writing minor), is the author of two honors theses: a scholarly thesis on Jack Kerouac, which she completed for Monmouth’s Honors School, and a creative thesis, for which she will receive English departmental honors upon graduation. Moreover, Lauria has long helped to cultivate the creative talents of other Monmouth students through her work as editor of The Monmouth Review, which she helmed through the pandemic. The President of Sigma Tau Delta, Lauria has also spent the past two years as a writing assistant at Writing Services. Her contributions to the department and to Monmouth have been considerable and varied.
David Tietge Memorial First Year Composition Essay Award Winners
Sigma Tau Delta is the International Honor Society. Its Monmouth University Chapter, known officially as the Delta Sigma Chapter, was founded in 1983. It seeks to confer distinction, to promote interest in literature and the English language, to foster the discipline of literary studies, to promote good citizenship, and to exhibit high standards of academic excellence. Through its activities on and off campus, it encourages camaraderie and professional development among its members as well as service to the university and local communities.
Although membership in Sigma Tau Delta is offered annually to English majors who have demonstrated superior achievement in both general academics and in literary studies, the society’ s activities are open to all university students, faculty, and local communities.
Delta Sigma Chapter Executive Board
SIGMA TAU DELTA OATH
I shall endeavor to advance the study of literature, to encourage worthwhile reading, to promote the mastery of written expression, and to foster a spirit of community among those who specialize in the study of the English language and of literature, ever keeping in mind our international motto: Sincerity, Truth, Design.
Shannon M. Johnstone
Mikayla J. Tranberg
“We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.”
— Emily Dickinson