Purple Reign

Ohio Wesleyan Student Recognized in National Paper-Writing Competition

By Cole Hatcher

My Ta ’21

Name: My Ta ’21
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam
Major: Mathematics
Minor: Communication
OWU Connection Experience: ASIANetwork’s Marianna McJimsey Student Paper Competition

My Ta ’21 is named first runner-up in ASIANetwork’s 2021 Marianna McJimsey Student Paper Competition, recognizing undergraduate student research dealing with Asia. As the national runner-up, Ta will present her work during ASIANetwork’s 28th annual conference, scheduled to be held virtually April 16-18.

Ta’s award-winning paper is titled “The Tale of Genji and the Purple Floral Metaphors.” It was inspired in the classroom of Anne Sokolsky, Ph.D., professor of Comparative Literature.

Of the paper’s content, Ta said: “In The Tale of Genji, there are several female characters, and each of them leaves an imprint on the main character’s life.

“In Japan, the color purple represents power, importance, and royalty, and, coincidentally, the most important women in the novel have their names attached to certain purple flowers,” she continued. “The paper analyzes the purple floral metaphors and draws a correlation between the lives of the selected female characters and the meaning of their purple flowers.”

A Capital Experience

Although Ta isn’t able to travel for the ASIANetwork conference, she previously spent a semester in Washington, D.C., participating in the university’s Wesleyan in Washington program.

“The program allowed me to have an internship in D.C. while pursuing two independent study projects online,” she said. “I enjoyed living in the heart of D.C., polishing my data and communication skills while working for a nonprofit organization, and spending my free time researching Norse Mythology and Visual Communication. The program urged me to balance my work, education, and personal life, which will become crucial after graduation.”

Inspiring OWU Professors

In addition to the inspiration Ta found in Sokolsky’s classroom, she said, “I am truly fortunate to have three faculty members who have been mentoring me since my freshman year.”

“My academic advisor, Dr. (Patricia) DeMarco, has helped me tremendously with my graduation and career preparation. My math mentor, Dr. (Craig) Jackson, was the one encouraging me to pursue a major in mathematics, and I have had the chance to participate in on- and off-campus programs and events related to the mathematical field thanks to his referrals.

“Additionally, I receive mentorship from Dr. (Kyle) McDaniel, who has been my communication instructor since sophomore year. It was thanks to his visual communication course that my writing skill is greatly improved. During the past three years, I have completed two communication research papers under Dr. McDaniel’s supervisor, and I am working on another one on the application of geometry in game design.

“I would never have accomplished such great success in academics without my mentors’ guidance and support.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose to attend Ohio Wesleyan because of the friendly environment the university offers. The director of admission traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, and she personally visited me at the time. Her dedication, along with OWU’s generous scholarship, encouraged me to pursue my studies here at Ohio Wesleyan.”

My Plans After Graduation

“To be honest, I am still uncertain about my plans after graduation. I have prepared at least three plans after graduation, and they are all in positive progress. My ideal goal is to finalize the decision by the end of April. My education at OWU has opened so many doors to several fields, inspiring me to become a well-rounded person.”