UMO Students Present at PCAS ACAS Conference

UMO Students Present at PCAS ACAS Conference

MOUNT OLIVE- Four students and one alumna from the University of Mount Olive (UMO) recently presented works at the Popular Culture Association in the South (PCAS) and the American Culture Association in the South (ACAS) regional conference in Wilmington. The students were accompanied by professor of language and literature Dr. Linda Holland-Toll and recently retired professor of literature Dr. Dee Clere.

The conference was held at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside Hotel and consisted of critical thinking seminars and activities, research presentations, and poster viewings. The presentations focused on topics such as literature, film, television, radio history, ethnic studies, American studies, and modern media journalism.

Holland-Toll served as the chair for the students’ presentation panel entitled “What does Aristotle Know? Contemporary Student Views on The Tragedy of Romeo and


The panel consisted of papers written by Jessica Kennedy of Youngsville, NC; Emily Shaw of Gilbert, AZ; Richard Ward of Smithfield, NC; and recent UMO graduate Kierston Matheson of Boone, NC. Cameron Sutton of Clinton, NC also attended the conference and presented her original poem, “Daily Special,” during the poetry open-mic presentation.

Holland-Toll saw the potential in the students’ work during a History of Drama course that she taught last spring. “I saw and seized an opportunity for out students to see what a professional academic does,” said Holland-Toll. “Basically, it occurred to me once I saw the students’ papers last spring and got a call for papers for the PCAS ACAS Conference. Once I realized that the conference was within driving distance, I started considering the benefits of students going to an academic conference and getting presentation experience.”

“The conference gave me the opportunity to listen to scholars talk about relevant topics in today’s society and learn about a multitude of ideas,” said Kennedy. “Being able to present was a great experience that is going to help me prepare for future opportunities.”

Shaw added, “It was a great experience to be able to present alongside my classmates. I am thankful that D. Holland-Toll saw the potential in our work and provided us with the experience that will benefit our academic and professional futures.”

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit

Left to right : Cameron Sutton, Kierston Matheson, Emily Shaw, Dr. Holland-Toll, Jessica Kennedy, Richard Ward, and Dr. Clere.