Student winners named in inaugural university writing contest

More than $5,000 in prize money to be used at Barnes & Noble was awarded during College Coffee on March 18 as winners of the university's Human Rights and Social Justice Writing Contest were announced.

<p>Paul Anderson, with microphone, welcomes students during College Coffee as winners of the university's first writing contest were announced.</p>
Winners of Elon University’s inaugural writing contest were recognized Tuesday during College Coffee in McKinnon Hall.

The human rights and social justice-themed contest debuted last fall and accepted 138 entries in seven categories, including one for the Elon University School of Law in downtown Greensboro, N.C. Faculty and staff judged entries, and a special “People’s Choice” Award allowed one submission from each category to be honored based on the number of online votes received earlier this winter.

Each recipient received $200. One student was honored five times between her accolades from judges and her entries receiving the most number of “People’s Choice” votes.

“The faculty and staff judges were blown away by the variety, creativity, and excellence of the students’ entries. They found choosing the winners to be extremely difficult,” said Paul Anderson, director of Writing Across the University. “This is a great start on an Elon tradition that we expect will grow considerably in the years ahead.”

<p>The student-run Elon Local News interviewed some of the contest's winners.</p>
Contest sponsors include all of Elon’s academic divisions: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the School of Communications, the School of Education, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Law. Other sponsors included the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, the Honors Program, the Periclean Scholars Program, and the departments of English and music.

The list of winners:


Julia Schast: “Battle of the Sexes: Why the United States Has Not Yet Ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)”

Mary-Kathryn Smith: “Racial Inequality in the U.S. Criminal Justice System: How Does It Feel To Be A Problem?”

Kaitlin Stober: “Being Human: A Critical Reflection on Personhood, Disability, and the Role of Language”

People’s Choice Award given to Avery McGaha: “Climate Change, Human Security, and the New Landscape of Social Justice”


Brianna Duff: “Through the Glass”

Jordan Duffey: “Gimcrack National Park”

Alli Ginsburg: “My Religion is a Book Club”

Rebekah Hackney: “White Girl”

People’s Choice Award given to Katy Steele: “For Davante”


Nicole Chadwick: “Diversity at Elon”

Kathleen Harper: “Exploring the Hidden World of Human Trafficking”

Katy Steele: “James Barnett – A Man Who Gave Up Everything He Owned To Live on the Streets and Love the Poor”

Alex Ward: “Lifting the Veil”

People’s Choice Award given to Katy Steele: “James Barnett – A Man Who Gave Up Everything He Owned To Live on the Streets and Love the Poor”


Michelle Landahl: “Protests on the Ponte Santa Trinita”

Maria Riofrio: “The Invisibles”

Gloria So: “Spirit of Malawi”

People’s Choice Award given to Benjamin Lutz: “Arbeit Macht Frei”


Natalie Brown: “Slavery in the Cocoa Industry”

Matthew Eastman: “You Are What You Eat: Aramark”

Katy Steele: “Paperhand: Puppet Intervention”

People’s Choice Award given to Katy Steele: “Paperhand: Puppet Intervention”


Morgan Abate: “Los Hermanos de Tegucigalpa (Spanish)”

Samantha Burch: “La importancia de manglares y arrecifes de coral: Proteja esta vida marina. Proteja nuestros derechos humanos básicos (Spanish)”

Meg MacHonis: “L’ignorance, la mère de tous les maux (French)”

People’s Choice Award given to Sarah Colangelo: “Los hablantes de herencia en la clase de español: Los retos académicos y sus implicaciones pedagógicas (Spanish)”

LEGAL WRITING (For students in the Elon University School of Law)

Madeline Obler-Grill: “Extraordinary Rendition:  the United States’ Solution to Prevent Terrorism that Resulted in Countless Violations of the Convention Against Torture”

Michael Wynn: “Brief in Support of Applicant’s Application for Asylum”


Faculty and staff judges included the following for each category:


Frances Bottenberg (Philosophy)
Cindy Conn (Management)
Bob Frigo (Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement)
Leslie Garvin (NC Campus Compact)
Greg Hlavaty (English)
Adam Miller-Stubbendick (Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life)
Safia Swimelar (Political Science and Policy Studies)


Kevin Boyle (English)
Cassie Kircher (English)
Scott Proudfit (English)
Victoria Shropshire (English)
Janet Warman (English)
Vicki Winslow (English)


Anthony Hatcher (School of Communications)
Rich Landesberg (School of Communications)
Glenn Scott (School of Communications)


Stacy Rusterholz (Student Life)
Jodean Schmiederer (Student Life)
Eric Townsend (University Communications)


Derek Lackaff (School of Communications)
William Moner (School of Communications)
Phillip Motley (School of Communications)
Amanda Sturgill (School of Communications)
Brian Walsh (School of Communications)


Patti Burns (World Languages & Cultures)
Olivia Jones Choplin (World Languages & Cultures)
Ketevan Kupatadze (World Languages & Cultures)
David Neville (World Languages & Cultures)
Elena Schoonmaker-Gates (World Languages & Cultures)
Donna Van Bodegraven (World Languages & Cultures)


Helen Grant (School of Law)
Hannah Vaughan (School of Law)
Catherine Wasson (School of Law)