Student Writing Awards

The First-year Seminar Writing Awards

Outstanding writing done by students in WCAS first-year seminars is honored annually. The papers are nominated by the first-year seminar faculty. The winners and honorable mentions are then selected by Charles Yarnoff and peer consultants from the Writing Place.

The 2014-15 award winners are listed below, along with the paper title, instructor, and course:

  • Cameron Averill, "Modern Anti-Federalists: How State Governments Deprive Undocumented Children of Education" (Prof. Penny Hirsch, "Reading and Writing Stories from the Margin")
  • Zachary Balder, "Logic, Computation, and Understanding: The Three Roads to an Expanding Reality" (Prof. Theo Johnson-Freyd, "Theories of Mind and Mathematics")
  • Pauline Esman, "Encountering America: A First Generation Kid Meets Capitalism" (Prof. Ben Gorvine, "Consumerism: A Psychological Perspective")
  • Michael Miller, "Adam Smith, Kim Kardashian, and the Escape from Free Market  Fundamentalism" (Prof. Daniel Immerwahr, "Capitalism and Its Opponents in History")

These students received honorable mentions:

  • Paige Andresen, "Obama Literature Review: The Affordable Care Act's Effect on America" (Prof. Mary Patillo, "The Obama Effect")
  • Lauren Duquette, "Corruption and Exploitation in Dominican Baseball Recruitment" (Prof. Barbara Shwom, "How to Become an Expert in Roughly 10 Weeks")
  • Adina Goldman, "From Caloric Fuel to Probiotic Yogurt: 150 Years of Nutritional Reductionism" (Prof. Wendy Espeland, "The Measure of All Things")
  • Michael Novakovich, "'The Jazz Lady Sings, I'll Get By': Bough Down as Hybrid Postmodern Elegy" (Prof. Alanna Hickey, "Good Grief: The Literature of Death and Mourning")

The Writing Program Essay Awards

Students from English 105 (Expository Writing), English 205 (Intermediate Composition), and English 305 (Advanced Composition) are eligible for prizes for outstanding essays in those courses. Nominations for prizes are made by faculty. A First Prize and Honorable Mention are awarded in each category. One student each year receives the Jean Reeder Smith Award. Names of winners, along with the titles of the winning essays, are published in the Daily Northwestern.

Writing Program faculty, under the leadership of Charles Yarnoff, administer the First-year Seminar Writing Award for the most outstanding papers written in WCAS first-year seminars. Judging for these awards is done by Writing Program faculty and Writing Place peer consultants. Criteria for judging include a clearly articulated thesis; cogent development with well-chosen specific details; clear, thoughtful analysis; logical organization; and polished style. Winning papers are published on the Writing Place website.

DTC Essay Awards

Writing awards are given on occasion for outstanding papers from English 106, Design Thinking and Communication (DTC). Papers are submitted at the end of the academic year by instructors (with permission of the student). Judging is done by faculty members and specially trained Writing Place peer consultants. Criteria for judging include insightful analysis, understanding of user-centered design, cogent presentation of ideas, clear expression, and appropriate documentation.