It’s that time of year again: the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature is this Saturday, April 13th at the University of Portland. The Welcome Ceremony begins at 9:00am and sessions continue until the Closing Reception at 4:00pm. For a full list of times, locations, sessions, and panels, visit the NUCL homepage. For a further description of NUCL, see NUCL intern Cerice Keller’s report below:
Each year the English Department holds its largest event: the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature, popularly known as NUCL (like on your finger). Although the English Department’s own Dr. Cara Hersh and Dr. Sarah Weiger spearhead the event, NUCL depends annually on student interns who help make this day happen. This year, the NUCL interns are Tom Bluth (you may have seen him in UP Senate), JoAnna Langberg (the tech-savvy one of the group), and Cerice Keller (me, your reporter).
What exactly is this event, some of you may ask? It provides undergraduate students throughout the Northwest with an opportunity to present their personal essays, poetry, or critical essays at conference sessions in front of their peers. This year, NUCL’s tenth since it began as the brain-child of Dr. Herman Asarnow, we received a record-breaking 123 submissions, from as far away as Colorado and a few from local high-school students.
NUCL provides a unique opportunity for undergrads, considering that academic conferences are typically reserved for graduate students and beyond (think about your professors and the scholars whose essays you have to read for your research papers). Students who are selected for the conference come, read their written pieces during their designated time (one of three sessions: morning, midmorning, and afternoon), and are free the rest of the day to attend other sessions. Each session features six to seven panels broken up by topic (like “Poetry” or “Gender Norms in Literature”). After each student in the panel has read his or her paper, the audience is free to ask questions and, ideally, start a rousing discussion on the panel’s topic. So, while NUCL allows students to share their work, it also allows them to engage in critical conversations provoked by their work. Experience in a pre-professional conference, another accomplishment to highlight on a resume, and general appreciation for students’ written work? Why yes, all is included in a student’s participation in NUCL.