Getting to Know: Margaret Faiver

Margaret Faiver, a junior English major, became the first Shepherd student invited to attend the National Undergraduate Literature Conference (NULC) to present a paper. She was also invited to present at the West Virginia Undergraduate Literary Symposium (WVULS) in Athens, W.Va.

Harley Smith, a junior secondary education major and president of Shepherd’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (STD), the international English honors society, said, “We are very proud of Margaret for being selected to present at the NULC! STD was able to provide some funding for her to pay for expenses while she was as the conference.” Smith hopes this accomplishment by Faiver is a stepping stone for other members to submit their works.

Faiver flew out to Ogden, Utah to present her paper at the NULC over the first weekend in April. Faiver said she gained as much from the preparation to go as she did from presenting. “It was fantastic,” she stated. There were more than 50 colleges and universities represented at the event. Faiver hopes that “younger students will be inspired to submit their papers. If they don’t submit, they won’t get in.”

Kate Myles, a senior secondary education major concentrating in English, stated, “Even though I don’t know Margaret well, it’s nice to see a fellow English major at Shepherd getting such an opportunity to showcase her talents.”

Faiver took about 15 minutes to present her essay entitled “Power Controlled Is Power Possessed” on Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, arguing that Shakespeare unveils the source of Cleopatra’s power as her insecurities and the fear that she lacked the power to control the world around her.

After Faiver presented, the moderator opened the floor up for questions. Faiver was excited to share her enthusiasm for literature with others. She recalled one discussion that occurred after someone questioned the influence of Plutarch on Shakespeare’s play.

Faiver’s flight from Utah to Roanoke, Va. was cancelled and she was unable to get to her second conference of the weekend, the WVULS. “Maybe next year I can present at the West Virginia symposium. That would be nice,” Faiver stated.

Faiver said that the paper she had planned to present at the symposium was entitled “Marked at Birth: Destiny or Personal Choice?” and was based on her reading of Denise Giardina’s “Storming Heaven” and the conceptualization of fate versus choice for the three main characters.

Faiver has not always been an English essay guru. In conjunction with corporate law firms and universities, she taught piano lessons part-time and full-time for 35 years. She said that earning a non-music-related degree was on her bucket list and thus she entered Shepherd University as a sociology major and then an RBA student around four years ago.

Last year after several English classes, including two Shakespeare classes, Faiver switched her major to English. In the future, she stated that she will consider submitting papers for conferences again and perhaps go on a study abroad in Costa Rica.

Faiver does not believe her transition from the musical world to the academic world was a large leap in a different direction. “Teaching piano to students, teaching them the language of music, puts them in touch with history – composers, styles, events. Likewise, studying English places me, as a student, in touch with the language, history, and great writers of the times. It’s all about the language,” Faiver said of her transition to English academics. She said that “it is as natural to present a paper that will hopefully inspire someone to learn about Cleopatra through the language of Shakespeare as it is to teach a piano student the language of music.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.