Michigan State University’s National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) student organization is the only NCTE student affiliate in the country to receive this year’s NCTE Student Affiliate Excellence Award.
This is the seventh year in a row the MSU organization has earned this award, which recognizes student groups that meet the NCTE’s qualifications of excellence and show commitment to their development as English teachers. The MSU group is affiliated with the Department of English and the Department of Teacher Education.
“Winning this award and being able to accept it in person for the first time in years has meant so much to me and our organization,” said Katy Anderson, President of the group. “Last year was a really tough year in terms of everything that occurred at MSU as well as the struggles we faced with receiving funding for our organization and I was so proud of the work we did, despite these challenges. I am truly lucky to be able to represent such a hardworking group of future educators and cannot wait to see all this year brings for us.”
Rachel Pung, Vice President of the group, echoed this statement by saying: “NCTE at MSU is incredibly excited to be honored with the National Student Affiliate Award for another year. This award is a testament to all of the hard work we have put in as a group, both through trying times as an affiliate and as a campus community as a whole.”
<em>This award is a testament to all of the hard work we have put in as a group, both through trying times as an affiliate and as a campus community as a whole.</em>
The faculty advisors for the group are Jennifer VanDerHeide, Associate Professor of English Education in the Department of Teacher Education, and Emery Petchauer, Professor in the Department of English and Department of Teacher Education.
“We are delighted to win the Affiliate Excellence Award for so many years in a row. I’m especially proud of this group for winning this award, not only because they were the only student affiliate in the country to win the award this year, but also because last year was so very difficult,” VanDerHeide said. “Despite the challenges of a lack of funding and last February’s tragedy, the E-board planned a successful program…I’m very proud of them all!”
VanDerHeide credits the award to the hard work of the leaders on the group’s executive board.
“In order to receive the award, the student affiliate has to submit an application showing their membership numbers, minutes from meetings, and evidence of events,” VanDerHeide said. “The NCTE student affiliate at MSU keeps winning the award because of great leaders on the executive board who plan and lead meetings every other week and plan engaging programming.”
Last year’s programming included a banned books book club, a student teacher panel, several self-care and social events, and an event hosting Jessyca Mathews, an English teacher at Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint and former Michigan Regional Teacher of the Year.
The MSU organization received its award at the 2023 NCTE Convention on Nov. 18 in Columbus, Ohio.
<em>I was so proud to have such huge representation from MSU’s English Education program, likely the largest group at the NCTE national convention. It was exciting to watch the interns present and to witness the student affiliate executive board win an award…Their enthusiasm inspires me.</em>
“The conference was such a great experience and I left feeling incredibly inspired and motivated,” Anderson said. “It was truly a pleasure to be able to learn from some of the most innovative and influential teachers across the country and we all cannot wait to go back.”
Pung also expressed how she values the opportunity provided by the conference to be able to collaborate with current educators.
“This year’s NCTE conference gave us the ability to meet with so many kind and intelligent educators who have helped us to find even more passion in the work we do,” Pung said. “We are looking forward to continuing our work in the upcoming semester!”
Also at the national convention, MSU students Esmé Bailey, Peyton Rainwater, and Tiana Schneider gave a presentation, along with VanDerHeide and Steve Neal, an MSU graduate and now teacher at East Lansing High School. Their topic was “Putting Practice into Practice: Connecting Preservice Teachers, Inservice Teachers, and Teacher Educators for Authentic Learning,” which focused on a collaborative unit the group developed last year on the novel The Marrow Thieves.
Other presentations at the 2023 NCTE Convention by MSU students included:
- Jo Bruno: “The Need for Neurodiverse Literature”
- Rebecca Hallman: “Important Conversations around To Kill a Mockingbird”
- Savannah Harris: “Incorporating Linguistic Justice into A Raisin in the Sun Unit Plan”
- Sara Peeper and Dallas VanAcker: “Prioritizing Student Choice in Classrooms: Collaborative Rubric Building”
“I was so proud to have such huge representation from MSU’s English Education program, likely the largest group at the NCTE national convention,” VanDerHeide said. “It was exciting to watch the interns present and to witness the student affiliate executive board win an award and network with teachers and professors from across the country. Their enthusiasm inspires me.”
This story was written by Kim Popiolek from the College of Arts & Letters. It is reshared here with permission.