Senior English major Heather Williams recently presented a paper titled “Heavenly Words” at the Sigma Tau Delta conference, an international Honors Society for English majors and minors. Williams said of the conference, “There are panels, discussions; authors are there. It is a gathering place for English majors. It is a wonderful place to meet people and network.” Heather, who is the Student Leader for the Southern Region, is from Cordova, Alabama and graduated and from Bevill Community College in 2014. Although Heather was an English major at Bevill, after coming to Ole Miss she decided to pursue a degree in secondary English education.
Heather’s experience as an English major at Ole Miss has been splendid. “It was a struggle at first to get involved. After getting involved with Sigma Tau Delta and the professors at the university English department, I was more comfortable, and I adjusted here. They helped me with my writing and my pursuit of English. They were the reason why I was able to present a paper at the Sigma Tau Delta conference. [But] I have to give a lot of credit to my [Bevill] roots. Without them I would not have made it here.” While Heather gives credit to each of her English professors for their outstanding work and help, she says that Dr. Ben McClelland, in particular, really encouraged her, critiqued her, and pushed her to be a better writer.
Currently, she is student teaching at Pontotoc High where she teaches 12th grade English. Heather says her goal as an English educator is to teach at a community college. Explaining her desire to teach literature Heather explained, “Literature in general connects everybody, the human condition. As an educator it is important to convey to my students empathy and, through literature, humanity as a whole can connect. For people who do not have many world experiences, we can learn vicariously through the characters that we read about. On a writing level, it is the basic form of communication. To function in society, we have to learn how to communicate effectively.”