First Board of Trustees Writing Award recipients named

In a special ceremony during Union College’s first academic convocation of the year on August 30, the school named the first recipients of the Union College Board of Trustees Writing Awards for four students.

Introduced during the spring semester of 2010, the writing awards are intended to “recognize the abilities of our Union College students,” said Tanya Cochran, an associate professor of English who helped establish the award.

The board and the college wanted to find a way to encourage students to further develop communication skills while at Union. “Writing is the foundation for most careers,” explained Michelle Mesnard, chair of the Division of Humanities. “We needed to make it a more important part of the curriculum.”

The writing instructors presented a proposal to the Board of Trustees, which provided a cash award for the best writers in each of four categories: First-Year Research Writing, Upper-Division Research Writing, Expository Writing, and Creative Writing. Winners of each category, decided by a panel of judges comprised of Union faculty, staff and alumni, received $1000.

“The Effects of Brand Name on Quality Perception and Preference” earned 2011 graduate Serena Stevens the award from the category of upper-division research writing, while sophomore business administration major Cassie Johnson received the award for her first-year research paper “Foreseeing the Silent Killer: Development of Eating Disorders.”

“I’ve always been fascinated with the topic of eating disorders,” says Johnson, who took Research and Composition from Dr. Cochran last spring. “It just seemed natural to write about it.”  While the research paper was a required assignment for class, Cochran encouraged Johnson to submit her final draft for the writing awards. 

“This experience has definitely piqued my interest in academic writing,” said Johnson regarding her success.

In the category of creative writing, junior communication and English major Addi Hudgins claimed the award for her story, “Peach Pie and Turtle Fudge Sundaes,” while sophomore psychology major Laura Selivanoff won the expository writing award with her essay, “What Does He Mean? An Examination of Paul’s Discussion of the Law in Romans.”

The Division of Humanities will release details for the 2011-12 writing awards soon. For assistance with writing projects, consultants in The Studio for Writing and Speaking (library room 116), are available to help with ideas, editing and revisions. The Studio is open Monday through Thursday from 6-10 p.m. and Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

Click here to read essays written by the award recipients.