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SVC English Major Takes Home International English Conference Award

by Public Relations | May 05, 2023

LATROBE, PA – Sophie Neubert, a junior English and Digital Humanities double major of St. Marys, was presented with an honorable mention for the Beth DeMeo Poetry Award at the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society conference in Denver, Colorado on April 1, 2023 for her work “Femininity and the Virgin Mary in DiPrima’s Loba.”

The Beth DeMeo Poetry Award is presented at the conference yearly “to honor excellence in convention presentations for ‘Critical Work on Poetry or a Poet.’” The award was made in memory of Beth DeMeo, a longtime professor at Alvernia University and member of Sigma Tau Delta, who passed away in August of 2020.

Within her essay, Neubert explores how the understudied beat poet of the 1950s Diane DiPrima dramatizes the Virgin Mary in her 16-part poem, specifically in the section titled “The Seven Joys of the Virgin.” Therein, Neubert shows how DiPrima dramatizes Mary’s motherhood to empower everyday women with sacred stature through illustrating how Mary owns her individual experiences, extends them to all women and then uses them as a creative force in the universe. 


“Sophie’s project fearlessly dove into the representation of the Virgin Mary in an understudied woman beat poet, dilating on the contradictions and nuance, and finding a throughfare of women’s strength,” Dr. Sara Lindey, English Department Chair and faculty advisor for SVC’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, explained.

Only three other students from Saint Vincent have either published with or won an award from Sigma Tau Delta, making Neubert the fourth in Saint Vincent College history. Upon hearing that Neubert had won the award, Dr. Lindey stated that she was thrilled to learn the news.

“But, upon reflection, I am not utterly surprised,” she continued. “When Saint Vincent Students take on challenging topics, they have the depth of intellect and drive toward working hard that meets with reward. It is truly an honor for Sophie and a tribute to the kind of work possible in our English Department.”

When asked for her initial thoughts on receiving the award, Neubert admitted that she couldn’t have been more surprised.

“I kind of initially thought that that it was an April Fool’s joke since the awards lunch was on April 1,” described Neubert. “It just seemed so unlikely and there are so many Sophies that it seemed like it wasn’t actually me who won an award.”

Neubert thanked the Saint Vincent English Department for leading her to this point.

“The guidance of the English faculty definitely helped me improve a great deal in my writing since coming to Saint Vincent,” she said. “In particular, Dr. McDaniel and Dr. Lindey have helped me grow a lot as a writer and critical thinker, and I’m so grateful for their instruction in their classes.” 

Four other English majors presented their work at the conference, including Kyra Lipetzky, a senior from Mount Airy, MD; Madison Kozera, a junior from Abingdon, MD; David Collins, a junior from Oakmont; and Tanner Wilkinson, a sophomore from Armbrust.

Sigma Tau Delta is an International English Honors Society that was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University. With more than 9,000 members inducted into the society annually alongside roughly 1,000 faculty advisors, the society currently has over 900 active chapters located in the United States and abroad. The society works to “serve society by fostering literacy…promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities…” and “foster all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing.”

To learn more about Sigma Tau Delta and their annual conference, visit


-Madison Kozera, English major, of Abingdon, MD