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UWFox Students Qualify for Annual Event in Utah

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Seven students from the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley have qualified for the prestigious National Undergraduate Literature Conference (NULC). The NULC was held on April 5, 6, and 7 at Weber State University in Ogden, UT.

UWFox students qualifying for the NULC include Amanda Relien, Jennifer Springhetti, Stacey Beyer, Bob Hensley, Richard Ostrom, Fred Asman, and Sadie Schultz. Of the seven who have qualified, four will be attending: Relien, Beyer, Schultz, and Hensley.

Qualifying students raised their own funds to pay for the cost of the trip, according to UWFox's Darren DeFrain, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of English). "The Conference accepts only 400 students, despite the fact that they get two to three times that number in submissions every year."

Students seeking to qualify for the NULC submit their writing to judges affiliated with the Conference. The judges then select those works - and their authors - to have representation at the Conference. "There's a creative division and a critical division, and the creative writing tends to be more competitive because of the popularity of those classes at the undergraduate level," DeFrain explained.

"The Conference has been running for 13 years. Once upon a time, it was strictly a Utah-only conference. Then, it became a regional conference. After that, it became national, and now it's an international conference," according to DeFrain. He's personally been involved in the Conference's activities as a faculty member at other campuses prior to joining the UWFox faculty in the Fall 2000.

Each student entering the competition needs a sponsoring professor when submitting his or her work, DeFrain related. In his first year at UWFox, he's coached and mentored the student writers in his classes interested in entering the NULC competition. After the seven qualified, he has been helping them in their fund-raising efforts to pay for their trip.

"For the students going to the Conference, they will literally be ambassadors for the UW-Fox Valley campus and for the Fox Cities," DeFrain emphasized. "They'll have a chance to meet other students, and consider writing programs at undergraduate and graduate programs."

"It's a learning experience beyond just the workshop," DeFrain continued. "Utah, for example, presents a different culture from the one that our students are used to having in Wisconsin. One of the big draws for the students will be the opportunity to meet commercially successful writers, like keynote speaker Richard Ford."

A variety of activities were woven into the Conference, and that gave students time to interact with their peers socially and to meet a wide cross-section of people in a down-to-earth setting," DeFrain expanded.

DeFrain believes that, "The actual Conference presents a range of scenarios for 'question and answer sessions,' and interaction with the panelists. There are structured sessions, besides the panels, that include authors and students reading from various works, especially stories. For many students, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Posted 4/11/2001