Student essay to be published in international literary journal

Mar 1st, 2023

A short essay titled, “Pitiful in Pink” by Jackson State Community College (JSCC) Sophomore Elaine Mooney is set to be published in the 28th Edition of the highly selective Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society literary journal Nota Bene. The essay was selected out of more than 800 submissions and will appear alongside 23 other student submissions from around the globe.

Mooney’s essay is a humorous personal narrative regarding the cultural phenomenon known as “Mary Kay parties” and in the essay, details what could be argued the worst one of all time. The prompt provided as part of an English Composition 1 class asked writers to submit a survivor story, and Mooney did, but with a twist. She took a light-hearted approach to an otherwise difficult and personal topic for many. She brought humor to an experience that many readers can relate to, especially to those who have ever been pulled into the world of product-based sales parties.

“When I wrote this essay, I had no idea I would be sharing this outside of my class,” said Mooney. “For me, this was an academic fork in the road, and it was the first moment where I could choose the person that I wanted to become through my education. I didn't want to be defined in some of the ways I could as a ‘survivor.’ In my first real college paper, I wanted to embrace my humor and creativity in this essay, and it's one I'm glad to share now with others.”

“Pitiful in Pink” was Mooney’s first major academic paper as a freshman that was written for an assignment in her English Composition 1 class with Professor Dr. Liz Mayo.

“Elaine submitted this essay as part of a prompt I provided for my class,” said Dr. Mayo. “I’m extremely proud of her earning a spot in Nota Bene and equally pleased to see the scholar she has become while at our institution.”

The Nota Bene literary journal is Phi Theta Kappa’s honors anthology. For nearly 30 years, the journal has annually recognized outstanding writing of members within the society, especially those demonstrating to the literary public the academic excellence and commitment to scholarship found at colleges. Over 800 short stories, manuscripts, research papers, and poems were submitted to the publication with only 24 students selected to be featured in the 28th edition set to release this spring.

“I am humbled by this honor and delighted that my selection represents, on a national level, the transformative work being done by the dedicated faculty and staff here at Jackson State and through our PTK Chi Omicron chapter,” said Mooney. “It's one that I achieved with the support and guidance of my English Composition professor, Dr. Mayo. She and everyone I've had the pleasure to work with here have been indispensable in my academic success. I look forward to reading all the selections and sharing this honor with them in such a prestigious publication.”

If you are interested in joining the PTK chapter at JSCC, contact Professor David Hart for more information at or learn more about the organization at


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