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Southern Miss School of Humanities Alumna Earns Prestigious Internship

Fri, 06/21/2024 - 10:38am | By: David Tisdale


Raisa Harris, a 2024 summa cum laude graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Humanities’ English program, is enhancing her skill set and vita through a competitive internship with Sigma Tau Delta Review and Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, two journals produced by Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.

A native of Pascagoula, Miss., Harris majored in English and minored in strategic communication at USM. Through August 15, she is remotely interning at the journals. With an internship candidate pool of 146, she was selected as one of only four editing interns to review more than 100 submissions consisting of creative and scholarly works. In this role, along with other interns, Harris vets and edits the selected submissions for publication under the supervision of managing editor Dr. Carie King.

“I love writing and editing, the meticulous yet necessary process that makes great work even more so and knew an opportunity like this would mesh well with my strengths and aid in my professional growth,” Harris said. “I was honored to be selected, because my appreciation for Sigma Tau Delta from when I was just a member in its chapter [at USM] to then chapter president is quite profound. 

​*The competition was incredibly steep, so when Dr. King called me to offer the position, I was speechless. My heart was pounding vigorously, and I immediately called everyone I knew to tell them the news. I'm still at a loss for words months later and feel so blessed.”

“The pool of applicants this year was outstanding,” said Dr. King. “Each year, the applications improve, so being selected for this highly competitive internship is quite an honor. Raisa was evaluated as a strong candidate for the internship, and one of the reviewers chose to advocate for her after reviewing her application.

“Once I saw her cover letter, I knew she would be an outstanding fit for the Sigma Tau Delta editorial team.”

Harris said that Sigma Tau Delta’s prominence as a reputable, well-respected organization makes interning for them “life changing.” The honor society, which has 780 active chapters at universities around the world, is celebrating its centennial this year.

“It's my goal to establish a career in publishing, and with Sigma Tau Delta's pairing with some of the top publishing companies like Penguin Random House and W.W. Norton, I'm placed in a much better position for reaching that goal,” she explained. “Furthermore, the applicable skills and experience I gain from editing for acclaimed journals is invaluable.”

At Southern Miss, Harris was also vice president of the Creative Writing Club and social media committee member for the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation (LSMAMP). She also worked as a copy editor for USM’s award-winning student newspaper, The Student Printz. For two years, during the graduate intersession Introduction to Publishing course, she was a fiction editor for USM's student-run literary journal, Product Magazine, and Mississippi's literary journal, Mississippi Review, a highly selective experience as only two undergraduates were offered to take the course in the spring semester. Harris’ short story "True Crime" was selected for the 2024 Undergraduate Symposium Arts Showcase, where she presented an excerpt.

Harris received the Shannon O'Hara and Henry Mackaman English Endowment for fiction writing in 2022, as well as an honorable mention in 2024, and earned the Florence Burrow Pope English Scholarship in 2023. Under her leadership, the USM Sigma Tau Delta chapter has received the Common Read Regents Award for two years in a row for its commitment to the organization's book club element.

Harris is grateful for the guidance of faculty in the English program and in the Center for STEM Education, the latter where she worked as a social media assistant. “I appreciated every single one of my English professors, including all of my advisors and administrators and my boss at The Center for STEM Education,” she said. “Their combined generosity and support propelled me to this point and continue to motivate me.”

Learn more about USM’s English program in its School of Humanities.