Kathryn DeFazio to Deliver American Literature Presentation at Prestigious Conference on June 6

PHOTO: Kathryn DeFazioMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Just three weeks removed from having accepted her associate’s degree, recent SUNY Orange graduate Kathryn DeFazio will become the first SUNY Orange student ever to deliver a presentation at the prestigious Beacon Conference, a gathering of the top scholars at two-year colleges in the northeast.

During the upcoming 2008 Beacon Conference, set for June 6 at Bergen County (New Jersey) Community College, DeFazio, from Bloomingburg,, N.Y., will present “Selected Through Transformation: The Characterization of Tennessee Williams in Three Plays” as part of the conference’s American Literature panel discussion, which will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in Room 219 of BCCC’s West Hall.

An Honors Student with a 3.94 grade point average who accepted her liberal arts (humanities and social sciences) degree on May 17, DeFazio first delivered her interpretative presentation to staff and faculty at SUNY Orange as part of her Capstone Project, a rigorous research project that serves as the final academic requirement for students intending to graduate from the College’s Honors Program. DeFazio’s presentation included a one-act play she wrote that was performed by five student actors under the direction of SUNY Orange professor Max Schaefer.

DeFazio, who hopes to transfer to Smith College (Massachusetts) this fall, will be one of three presenters in the American Literature category. Following each presentation, a faculty judge and audience members will conduct a question-and-answer session. At the conclusion of the three presentations, the judge will select one participant to receive an “Outstanding Presenter” certificate. The award is also accompanied by a $100 scholarship. Presentations will be judged on originality and quality of research, written work and the oral presentation.

Schaefer and English professor Kathy Malia mentored DeFazio throughout her Capstone work. English Professor Elaine Torda coordinates the College’s Honors Program.

“Katie’s Capstone Project was thorough, thoughtful, creative and extraordinarily well-done. Now she’ll have the chance to see how her work compares with other outstanding scholars in the region,” Torda explained. “Katie is the first student the College has ever nominated for the Beacon Conference, and to have her selected is a remarkable honor for the College, a well-deserved acknowledgement of her work in the classroom and a testament to the outstanding students we have in our Honors Program.”

“Katie has blossomed tremendously during her time at the College, and she represents the best and the brightest that SUNY Orange has to offer,” Torda added. “We could not be happier for her.”

The Beacon Conference, established in 1993, provides an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the achievements of outstanding two-year college scholars in diverse academic disciplines. Held annually in June, the conference features panels of the selected mentored papers to be judged on the conference day. SUNY Orange has submitted a proposal to host the Beacon Conference in 2010.

For more information on the Beacon Conference, visit

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940