Student Profile - Meghan O'Dea
"Without the encouragement of my UHON professors, I would never have started presenting my work at academic conferences, nor would my writing, research, and critical thinking have been as sharply improved over the course of my college career. To be in UHON is to be surrounded by professors and peers who constantly, subtly encourage you to do your very best simply because if everyone else is doing their best, you don't want to be left out of all the discoveries, fun, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. World travel, community service, academic success, a close-knit social network, liberal arts study-- these are just the basics in the UHON package. It's a program that truly allows you to make the most of your college experience and your future."
Meghan has certainly made the most of her college experience so far. She made her first national conference presentations as a sophomore in 2007 (National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, MTSU Women's Studies Conference, and Southeastern Women's Studies Conference). Since then, she has presented papers in both literature and history at numerous regional and national conferences (in 2008 at the Southeastern Tennessee Student History Conference, the National Undergraduate Literature Conference and the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference and in 2009 at the Phi Alpha Theta History Regional Conference, the Southeastern Tennessee Historical Conference and the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference). In her role as 2008-2009 president of UTC's Sigma Tau Delta chapter, she was instrumental in organizing the first Sigma Tau Delta National English Conference on the UTC campus in March 2009. She is also an Associate Research Editor for Dante's Heart, an online journal of myth, folklore, fairytale and fantasy.
But she doesn't spend all her time writing and presenting papers--Meghan is a force to be reckoned with on campus and in the greater Chattanooga community.
Meghan taking her turn during the
UHON Program's oral reading of Homer's Odyssey
Meghan (right) with Elizabeth and Natalie, checking out the ancient latrines at Ephesus, Turkey
on the 2008 UHON trip
Her efforts for others run the gamut from helping low-income taxpayers with filing federal income tax returns to reading to children and collecting books for donation to the Chambliss Children's Home. During fall 2008, she worked diligently with other UHON students on a bi-partisan voter registration drive and a political panel to examine the important issues in the presidential election. She has been elected to the UHON Council for two years, chairing the Academic and Cultural Affairs committee in 2007-2008 and serving as UHON Council secretary for 2009-2010.
Meghan's work in UTC's Writing Center for the last two years has helped numerous students to improve their writing assignments in a wide array of academic disciplines. In Spring and Summer 2009, she assisted Dr. Fran Bender and Dr. Karen Adsit with research, writing and focus groups relating to the Quality Enhancement Plan for UTC's SACS reaccreditation. In 2008, she served as assistant to Dr. Irven Resnick, UTC's Chair of Excellence in Judaic Studies, preparing for and facilitating the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute "Holy Land and Holy City" in Oxford, England.
Her other travels as an undergraduate include, UHON cultural trips to Istanbul and Western Turkey in 2008 and Vienna, Austria in 2006. Her busy summer in 2007 included a June creative writing trip to Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland, where she worked with Dr. Richard Jackson and other UTC student poets leading poetry workshops for students at the Leysin American School, followed by a July-August stint in the UTC Oxford Summer Program, studying English literature and history.
Meghan has only one year left at UTC, but with her initiative and energy, her resume' is likely to get much longer before she moves on to a graduate program in English literature after graduation.
If you are a prospective student who would like more information from Meghan about her UHON experience, email her at Meghan-O'Dea@utc.edu.