Two English Majors Awarded Prestigious Dean’s Award

November 15, 2013

The English Department is proud to announce that two English majors, Megan Cooley-Klein and Tajah Ebram, have been awarded the prestigious 2013 Arts and Humanities Dean’s Senior Scholar Award for academic excellence in undergraduate studies, dedication to lifelong learning, exemplary leadership and commitment to community involvement.

Megan Cooley-Klein is in her fourth year here at Maryland, which has culminated in what she says is an “amalgamation of great experiences.” From her first simple step of joining the English Undergraduate Association’s Book Club, to joining their executive board and planning events such as the Writers Dead and Gone Series, the EUA has been the main influence on Megan’s extra-curricular activities. Through the EUA, Megan says that she has “met many great friends who share [her] passion for reading, writing, and appreciating the great authors of the English Language.” Beyond the EUA, Megan is also involved in Sigma Tau Delta, the Golden Key Honor Society, the Primannum Honor Society, and she is the Editor-in-Chief of the Paper Shell Review.

After graduation Megan plans to move forward and translate her passion for English into teaching at a secondary school in Maryland. Being a part of the College of Arts and Humanities has given Megan the “opportunity to improve [her] mind,” as well as appreciate the ways in which her current professors teach the concepts of the humanities. As a student teacher, she has taken note of these effective strategies and hopes to apply them in her own teaching.

Tajah Ebram, an English major with a Black Women’s Studies minor, is also in her fourth year at Maryland. As a member of the English Honors Program and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Tajah has been working on researching 21st Century African American literature, and the notion of “authentic” black identity. She offers much gratitude to her mentor, Dr. Mary Helen Washington, whom Tajah said has been “amazing” throughout her research work.

Like Megan, Tajah has also worked on the Editorial Board of the Paper Shell Review, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Sigma Tau Delta. She is also the recording secretary and Program Planning and Development Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated – a service organization within the National Pan-Hellenic council.

Tajah plans to pursue a PhD in English Language and Literature and hopes to produce scholarly research in the area of African American literature. After receiving her PhD, she hopes to continue into academia through researching and teaching in the field of African American literature.

Academic success and leadership are only the beginning of what has made Megan and Tajah the 2013 recipients for the ARHU Dean’s Senior Scholar Award. Beyond their involvement in the University of Maryland, both Megan and Tajah are incredibly involved in the community. Megan was an 826DC intern, which allowed her to work with local high school students to improve their writing skills and work with elementary school children in after-school tutoring. She was also a member of Circle K International, which is the premier university service organization around the world. As the Program Planning and Development Chair of Delta Sigma Theta, Tajah is involved with organizing on-campus community events as well as service events including monthly volunteering at A Wider Circle in Silver Spring, AIDS, Breast Cancer and St. Jude Walks, and the Clothing and Food drive. As a member of her sorority, Tajah has begun a “lifelong commitment to serving others, particularly women of color and black communities overall, empowering them educationally, politically, economically and in terms of healthy lifestyles/social welfare.”

Whether participating in English extra-curricular activities or growing to appreciate volunteering and teaching for local organizations, both Megan and Tajah have applied their knowledge of the humanities through their leadership and community involvement. The English Department would like to wish them luck in their future endeavors and hope that they will use their passion for English to achieve success in life.