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Apr 1

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Lindenwood Student Achieves Gold-Level Success

Lindenwood Student Achieves Gold-Level Success

By Hazel Denother

Abigail Manis, a former Lindenwood undergraduate student and current MFA candidate, has accomplished a great deal in her short time at Lindenwood University. She’s a bright, ambitious, and exceptionally talented young woman with a staggering number of achievements to her name, and her story is a prime example of the real academic success achieved by Lindenwood students.

Manis transferred to Lindenwood in 2018 and graduated with a B.A. in English Literature this past spring. She loved her undergraduate experience with the university, and when it came time to make graduate school decisions last year, she knew that Lindenwood was the place she wanted to be. “I always wished that I could go to graduate school here because I love the faculty and I love the feeling of Lindenwood, especially the School of Humanities. It just feels like home, but also like academic excellence.” She started the MFA in Writing program this fall, and she explained that it has been a wonderful experience so far: “I love it; I’ve been really thriving. It’s a great program!”

Manis’ years at Lindenwood have been brimming with academic achievement. In 2019, she placed third in the Collegiate Leadership Competition, and she claimed that the experience helped build her confidence and increase her leadership skills. She has reaped similar benefits from her involvement with Lindenwood’s chapter of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. Her first experience with the organization was in the fall of 2019, when she had an academic essay published in Aletheia, the national peer-reviewed journal of Alpha Chi.

Peer-reviewed journals are highly selective, and it can be a long, challenging process to get a paper into their esteemed print. Manis stated, “You have to not only have a good paper and a watertight argument that pleases two separate people from two separate academic tracks, but you also have to write content that is completely original and make an argument that hasn’t been made yet, ever.” Nonetheless, she achieved publication of her essay “Save a Cow, Eat a Pedophile: Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita,” a piece in which she argued that the novel “can be interpreted as a dark and amoral American fairytale.” After her publication in Aletheia, she received an invitation to join the honor society last spring.

Manis said that she’s been deeply inspired by her time in Alpha Chi. “There’s almost this spark of a ‘call to action’ which I didn’t expect. There’s a huge amount of passion for helping the community, for community service, and for asking and talking about the hard questions.” She has also been energized by the commitment of the students she’s met through the organization. She explained, “It’s been eye-opening. [The members] are not just smart; they have this will to use their intelligence, their voice, and their passion for knowledge to take a step further. They say, ‘Now that I’ve educated myself, how can I educate others? What can I use this education for?’” Though this is only her second semester with the organization, she has already thrown herself into the experience, taking on leadership roles. She said, “I had the immense honor of becoming a student representative for this region of Alpha Chi, and then very recently I was elected secretary for the Lindenwood branch as well.” As a student representative, Manis acts as a liaison between the students and the rest of the council. She votes on issues, attends meetings, plans for upcoming events, and serves on the publication committee, which hosts Aletheia.

During her time with the organization, Manis also became an alternate for the prestigious Alpha Chi Honor Society H.Y. Benedict Fellowship and presented at the 2020 Alpha Chi national convention, which was virtual this year due to the pandemic. For her presentation, she expanded upon her research that was published in Aletheia. She stated, “It was a continuation of my Nabokov’s Lolita essay, but in this [version], I tied in the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. I called it ‘Soundless Sirens: Lolita as Myth.’ I revised my thesis to claim that it is not necessarily a fairytale, (because fairytales, in the end, have a denouncement of death, generally speaking) but that it is more closely aligned to a myth.” Manis also presented at the 2020 Lindenwood Student Research Conference in the spring, this time discussing her research paper “And Then There Were Nun: The Gothic Prominence of our Celibate Sisters.”

Even in her free time, Manis partakes in ambitious intellectual pursuits. She has been a member of Mensa since age twelve, and this month, she had her short story “Transmogrify” published in the Mensa bulletin. It has been made a permanent feature on the organization’s website so even non-members can see it, and the editor of the Mensa bulletin nominated the piece for the PEN America/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Manis also recently started a subjective opinion podcast called Dissecting the Mouse. For this project, she and her friend Nate will watch and analyze all of the feature films by Disney Animations Studios, studying the production process and story behind each one.

Manis has a diverse range of passions, and these inspire her to start exciting projects and achieve impressive feats. “I have a lot of interests, and I don’t want to compromise on them,” she remarked simply, explaining that she is unafraid to be a Renaissance woman. Manis loves stories, seeking knowledge, and sharing ideas: “That’s what motivates me: establishing that conversation and sharing your knowledge—acquiring that knowledge, learning something new, and then being able to turn it into something you can show to other people.” Her undergraduate experience at Lindenwood helped nurture these passions, and she appreciated the care with which professors taught their classes, stating, “I like that it felt like the teachers completely backed what they were teaching, and their classes were not an obligation to them. They were teaching what they know and what they care about. That is something really impactful.”

Manis is grateful for all the opportunities that Lindenwood has given her so far. She said, “Lindenwood has helped me in so many ways, not just in what they’ve taught but in how they’ve taught it and in the accessibility of the programs. In academics, Lindenwood has given me so much. The classes are awesome, especially in the School of Humanities. The teachers are passionate, the staff members are amazing, and I feel like I’ve learned so much in the space of two years.” Furthermore, she feels that the university has prepared her for any of her future endeavors. She explained, “My undergraduate School of Humanities education has given me a very well-rounded experience in the working world.” Manis is currently looking forward to the next few years of her creative writing program and pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer and novelist. She has spent her time at Lindenwood thus far striving for and achieving greatness, and her remaining years at the university will undoubtedly be full of her signature real academic success.

The Linden Gold

The Linden Gold

The Linden Gold is a student operated organization focusing on promoting the academic success and achievements of Lindenwood. Through stories about alumni, current students, and faculty alike, The Linden Gold strives to engage with the St. Charles Community and showcase the unique greatness of Lindenwood.

The Linden Gold

Lindenwood University
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