2020 English Undergraduate Awards

  • Outstanding First-Year Students

    Regan Covert
    Leslie Folino
    Paige Force
    Julie Kopp
    Jessica Morse
    Alayna Pesce

    Wendy Carse Sophomore Scholars

    Leah Bogert
    Emily Buseck
    Gabriella Byrne
    Jared Burkhardt
    Haley Cook
    Samuel Cunningham
    Sydney Edwards
    Kevin Figueroa
    Annalise Haines
    Morgan Heinbaugh
    Jacie Martin
    Bryce McElhinny
    Kaycee Reesman
    Delaney Stitt
    Isis Truxon
    Olivia Winters

    T. Kenneth Wilson Junior Scholars

    Cassidy Black
    Triona Fant
    Elizabeth Heller
    Tessa Letso
    Tyler Nunez
    Tristan Pfeiffer
    John Phillips
    Nicole Pomazanski
    Asher Rehn
    Shania Turner

    William Betts Senior Scholars

    Amiranda Adams
    Gabrielle Barton
    Sydney Elslager
    Toni Juart
    Taylor Juszynski
    Marissa Greenblatt
    Karen Mack
    Katharine McLaughlin
    Margaret Olin
    Jessica Radcliffe
    Kerry Reed
    Wyatt Shank
    Michael Shuss
    Sasha Slater
    Jessica Smith
    Quinn Smith
    Jared Swansboro
    Olivia Tarman
    Hollie Williams

    First-Year Student of the Year – English Education

    Alayna Pesce

    Second-Year Student of the Year – English Education

    Jacie Martin

    Third-Year Student of the Year – English Education

    Cassidy Black

    Valedictorian – English Education

    Karen A. Mack

    First-Year Student of the Year – BA English

    Leslie Folino

    Second-Year Student of the Year – BA English

    Gabriella Byrne

    Third-Year Student of the Year – BA English

    Tyler Nunez

    Valedictorian – BA English

    Margaret Olin


    Wendy Carse Scholarship

    Gabrielle Byrne

    Betty Ann Moore Wallwork Scholarship

    Cassidy Black

    Outstanding English Intern

    Tyler Nunez

    Writing Awards

    Creative Nonfiction

    First prize: Layne Sheldon, “Finding God”
    In prose at once unassuming and relatable, “Finding God” tells the story of the author's coming to faith—the story of how, in his teenage years, his skepticism toward Christianity gave way to revelation as, little by little, and with the help of several influential guides, he shed his theological reservations and experienced religious communion for the first time.

    Critical Essay

    First prize: Asher Rehn, “Law and Literature: A Critical Analysis”
    The essay performs some intricate close readings of two texts with a nice focus on the tone and rhetorical strategies it uses to move and persuade its readers, and uses ample textual evidence in support of a clear argument.

    Short Fiction

    First Prize: Maren Krizner, “The Observer Effect”
    If we suspect that all-powerful being(s) were watching us, would it inevitably change our behavior, even if the observation were not “proven” or even discussed? This question, one found in the discipline of quantum mechanics, is the intriguing premise of “The Observer Effect.” The question is not overtly explicated in the story; rather, it unfolds itself through the sustained forward motion of the characters experiencing a rather ordinary day. A sense of unease in the reader is managed through the author’s deft use of narrative between the likable characters, sudden change of scenes, and abrupt, intrusive authorial narration. This work leaves the reader something to ponder in its ending: Is it possible that we ARE an experiment under the Eyes, as this well-told story suggests, of the Watchers?

    Second Prize: Katie McLaughlin, “The Skin I Knew You In”
    The short story “The Skin I Knew You In” asks the question: “Who is more susceptible to possession than teenage girls?” The question is answered in this story, which the author describes as the “demon baby” of the film Heathers and Stephen King’s IT, this darkly apt question is answered in an exploration of the dynamics of love, anger, and power between six girls. Each teen faces the overwhelming force that eventually pulls each of them under, destroying the innocent as well as the lost. This story shows no triumph of the human spirit. Instead, it is an unflinching look at the forces that can pull teenage girls under. Readers will recognize the dangers of growing up depicted in this story, even if they have never faced an implacable evil.

    Third Prize: Asher Rehn, “A Time Travel Guide for Tourists”
    “A Time Travel Guide” is a brief, artfully-written piece of self-aware science fiction in the vein of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Committee members noted the satire directed at “how-to” guides and the multiple levels of irony at work in this short piece. “A Time Travel Guide” pokes fun at science fiction. The fantasy of time travel, on which the so much of the genre is based, is rendered mundane by the “practical” advice offered in the Guide. The committee agreed that this work is well-deserving of recognition.

    Pedagogical Writing

    First prize: Karen Mack, “451 Unit”
    A clear and timely focused unit. The unit is dense with thinking and work for students and comes at a critical time for educators as we battle how to work through anti-intellectualism as a rising specter in education and beyond. The unit shows a wide range of purposeful interactions around a highly valued text. The writer is clear about her goals and constructs classroom choices that are intended to create interactions and places for articulation with students and the text.

    Second prize: Cassidy Black, “Pioneering Women”
    A strong piece of valued academic writing that demonstrates the writer’s skills at providing claims and using evidence to support those claims. This piece was informative and easy to read. The content is important for faculty and students alike to consider as we work to realize a more balanced, nuanced, and accurate view of how we arrived at our understanding of education and educators.

    Play- and Screenwriting

    First Prize: Maren Krizner, “Blackout”
    The playwright skillfully takes us into what feels like a dream, but also depicts reality as investigator and suspect switch roles. The detective becomes the murderer, and we become challenged to recognize the interchangeable nature of criminals and law enforcers.

    Second Prize: Layne Sheldon, “It’s All Relative”
    Two teen-age best friends have to suddenly deal with their actual kinship and the choices made by their parents that have shaped their lives. The play deals concisely and powerfully with class differences and adult irresponsibility that leaves their sons floundering and angry.


    First Prize: Maren Krizner, “Four Love Songs Addressed to You (Yes, You): An Incomplete Collection”
    The judges were particularly impressed by “Love Song #2” (From the Tree in the Backyard of Your Childhood Home), admiring the range and power of the imagery, the unconventional perspective and voice, and the movement of the poem. Taken as a whole, this collection presented judges with work from a writer of great promise.

    A special thank you: The faculty organizers and judges of the writing contests would like to extend their appreciation to all English majors who submitted entries and through their writing help keep literature alive.