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May 3, 2013

ULM graduate student receives national honor

The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society awarded University of Louisiana at Monroe graduate student and New Orleans native Julie Landry the prestigious Gabriela Mistral Award for her academic achievements in Spanish and her noteworthy leadership and initiative in her chapter.

"Julie's contributions to Sigma Delta Pi and the Spanish program have been consistently excellent," said Dr. Ruth Smith, ULM Director of Humanities and Head of World Languages.

"When I nominated her, the Executive Director notified me within half an hour that she had the award. There was absolutely no doubt that she deserved it."

The Gabriela Mistral Award is granted by Sigma Delta Pi's national Executive Committee and may be presented to only one person per chapter; the honor is reserved for outstanding graduate or undergraduate students of Spanish who are active members of Sigma Delta Pi.

"I have been secretary of Sigma Delta Pi since Spring 2011," said Landry.

"I always look forward to participating in Sigma Delta Pi's biannual initiations and the Festival of World Languages. The most fun was last year, when I presented alongside the professors I've always admired."

Established in 1919 at the University of California, Berkeley, Sigma Delta Pi honors those who have completed three years of study of college-level Spanish, including at least three semester hours of a course in Hispanic literature or Hispanic culture and civilization with a minimal grade point average of 3.0 in all Spanish courses taken.

Candidates must also rank in the upper 35 percent of their class—sophomore, junior, or senior—and must have completed at least three semesters or five quarters of college work.

Graduate students may also be elected to membership upon completion of two graduate courses in Spanish with an average which, if continued, will make them eligible for a graduate degree.

"Sigma Delta Pi and the ULM Spanish Department have been a significant influence in my life for six years now," Landry said.

"From my first Spanish class as a freshman to graduating with a double major in English and Spanish in 2011, Dr. Smith, Dr. Holloway, and the other professors have supported and encouraged me in ways I cannot express. Though she may not remember, Dr. Smith was the first ULM professor I ever encountered when I came to ULM's campus during PREP.

"She made me feel comfortable despite my anxieties and has continued to do so throughout my time at this university. Dr. Holloway's classes were always my favorites, particularly Phonetics and Second Language Acquisition, which introduced me to what has become my favorite academic field -- Linguistics. Both professors make it clear how much they care about their students, and they always made me feel welcome on the third floor of Brown Hall."

With 593 chapters nationwide and its national office at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, Sigma Delta Pi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, the nation's only certifying agency for college and university honor societies.

Landry continued, "I never expected to win this award, but I am touched and honored that my professors thought to nominate me. It's a wonderful way to end my time as a student at ULM before graduating with my master's degree on May 11."

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