Edinboro University student Cassia Scheid recently received the university’s Outstanding English Major Award for 2015.
Scheid, who is pursuing a bachelor of arts in English writing, received her award at the association’s fall conference that was held on Oct. 9 and 10 at Slippery Rock University.
“I feel incredibly honored to have been selected by the team of people who have been my source of inspiration and have taught me to earnestly pursue knowledge and wisdom since my first semester here at Edinboro,” Scheid said.
The Outstanding English Major award is presented by the English Association of the Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU) each year at its annual fall convention by each of the 14 campuses in the PASSHE system.
The award winner is a junior major in English and attends the convention as a guest of EAPSU. The English department at each PASSHE university selects a student to represent that school at the EAPSU annual conference.
“We identify the junior English majors with the highest GPAs, and the faculty vote to establish the recipient of the award,” Dr. Mary Paniccia Carden said, chairperson of the Department of English and Philosophy.
The English faculty at Edinboro selected Scheid “because of her consistently high achievement in her English courses,” Dr. Solberg said, a professor in the department, who also had the honor of presenting the award to Scheid at the conference.
A few professors also attended the conference and presented their own work. Professor John Repp read poems from his award-winning book, “Fat Jersey Blues,” and Dr. Janet Kinch, Carden and Solberg presented scholarly articles.
“Cassia is a talented and dedicated student who clearly merits the award,” Carden said.
“Cassia’s accomplishments are a model for the academic excellence that we all strive to help students achieve at Edinboro. I commend her for her exemplary accomplishments,” added Edinboro University President Dr. Julie E. Wollman.
That talent and dedication didn’t happen overnight. Writing has always been a passion of Scheid’s.
“My parents tell me that since I was old enough to write I’ve been writing stories or greeting cards or just about anything creative. I’ve always loved writing, but it wasn’t until my first year of college that one of my English professors showed me the power of ideas: that the simplest thought can change the course of a person’s life. I find the greatest liberty to explore these ideas in the English department,” Scheid said.
That professor was Solberg.
“I have known Cassia since her first semester at Edinboro. What impressed me most about her was her willingness to accept constructive commentary about her writing and then do the hard work of serious revision — not just changing a few commas, but really thinking about what she was trying to say and then discovering the right words to say it,” he said.
Last spring, Scheid took Solberg’s essay workshop class with other English and writing majors.
“In this class, people write personal nonfiction pieces about their lives and ideas. Cassia’s essays were some of the most fearless and insightful that I’ve read in the 10 years I have taught the course. It was a pleasure for me to see how far she had come as a writer since she had taken my freshman composition course,” Solberg added.
At the EAPSU conference, Cassia also read portions of the novel she is working on. Solberg noted that the audience was held in rapt attention as Cassia presented her work, adding “As a teacher, I was proud to have played a small role in her accomplishment.”
“Cassia was an excellent representative of our department; her work is typical of the high caliber of the students who are majoring in writing and literature at this university,” Solberg concluded.
Scheid’s hard work and determination is one to be recognized.
After college, Scheid plans to find a career in editing with the possibility of a job as a copy editor for a publishing company to start out and build experience.
“My ultimate goal is to work side by side with authors from the beginning stages of their work to the end. Nothing seems more thrilling to me than to be a part of the creation of a work that contains a lifetime of the author’s wisdom and experience, no matter what form that ends up taking,” Scheid said.
Karlee Dies is the News Editor for The Specatot. She can be reached at email@example.com