The Hobart and William Smith Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Writing Colleagues Program presented the seventh annual First Year Writing Prize in the Blackwell Room on April 5. After a rigorous nomination and application cycle, the ceremony honored 38 nominees and this year’s three winners – Sarim Karim ’22, Camille McGriff ’22 and Casey Pupek ’22.
With a record breaking number of works submitted, this year’s winners represent the diversity in the types of writing and academic inquiries at the Colleges. This year’s winners include Karim’s essay, “On Ye Olde Drag Queens: The Subversion of Gender in Renaissance English Theatre,” McGriff’s poem to explore trauma in the Gulf Coast Region after Hurricane Katrina, “Après moi, le déluge,” and Pupek’s open letter to the Supreme Court on an upcoming case, “Amicus Curiae: The Dilemma of Dementia — The Legality of the Death Sentence.”
“The First Year Writing Prize is designed to celebrate outstanding student writing. In particular, we want all members of the HWS community to understand the great breadth of writing that happens here: from research essays to lab reports, blogs to poems, position papers to personal essays,” says CTL Assistant Director Ingrid Keenan, who organized the contest with Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Maggie Werner.
The contest invites faculty members to nominate pieces written by first-year students that are considered exceptional. The nominees are invited to revise their texts by engaging with faculty, Writing Colleagues and Writing Fellows. By inviting students to revisit work from a previous semester the contest hopes to demonstrate writing as a process and a collaborative endeavor.
“I used my piece to connect with multiple professors, Writing Colleagues and Writing Fellows as I received their feedback to perfect my work. I have stayed in touch with all of these professors who now know me and my writing,” says McGriff. “It’ll be exciting to work with them throughout my time at HWS.”
For Pupek, winning the competition helped him realize that, “while I am at HWS, my writing abilities are my most valuable assets. It’s a skill important for any person in any field of study.”
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers a broad range of academic support including Study Mentors and Writing Fellows.