10/29/2009

Whitesell Prize Competition Spurs Student Writers

The seventh annual Phyllis C. Whitesell Prize competition is now under way at the Writing Center. This year's contest will award three $200 prizes: two for writing in a course that fulfills the first-year writing requirement, and a third prize for an essay written in a Foundations course. Prizes of $75 will be awarded to the honorable mention essays in each category.

Entrants to the contest must visit the Writing Center at least once to work on their essays. Deadlines and eligibility vary between the first-year writing and Foundations tracks; the deadline for the first-year writing submission is Dec. 15.

For Sara Alessi '10, whose essay Nixon and "The Child" won a Whitesell Prize for first-year writing in 2006-07, the contest provided "a wonderful opportunity to work closely on a piece I composed for a class assignment and improve it outside of the classroom."

Two-time Whitesell winner Sara Lupolt '11 agrees. "I was able to perfect those subtle and creative aspects of my essay writing that I usually neglect due to deadlines and time constraints," Lupolt says. "Entering this contest challenged me as a writer and elevated my writing to a more creative and sophisticated level."

The contest benefits students by allowing them to work in a peer-to-peer environment.

"The support and validation that I received from the tutors at the Writing Center during the various stages of the competition was a huge part of this," says Chad Wright '11, who won the first-year writing prize in 2007-08.

For further details on the Whitesell Prize Competition—including eligibility requirements, information on the submission process, deadlines and examples of previous winners' essays—students and faculty may contact the Writing Center at 717-291-3866 or visit the Whitesell Prize Web page.

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