First-Year Writing Contest

The winning author earns academic distinction recognized at Matriculation in the Fall. The winning essay is published in Lake Forest Papers, and the winner receives a prize.

The contest is open to all Lake Forest first-year students. Submissions must be papers written for classes at the College.

The first-year writing contest is not being held in 2023-2024. 

First-Year Writing Prize 2019

Rachel Peterson ’22
“This is Beyond Your Experiences.” A paper written for Professor of Music Don Meyer’s Music and the Mind course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2018

Zachary Klein ’21
“The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again.” A paper written for Associate Professor of Politics Siobhan Moroney’s Great Political Ideas course.

Honorable Mention:
Anna Fifhause ’21
”Rebel with a Pause: Emily Dickinson and the Making of a Personal Doctrine.” A paper written for Associate Professor of English Benjamin Goluboff’s Nineteenth Century American Literature course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2017

Rebecca Rabizadeh ’20
“Sex, Drugs, and Rock Hard Mattresses.” A paper written for Lecturer in Politics Stephanie Caparelli. 

First Year Writing Prize 2016

Kristin Rawlings ’19
“Logotherapy and the Logical Trilemma.” A paper written for Associate Professor of English Carla Arnell. 

First-Year Writing Prize 2015

Michael Janeček ’18
“Primordia Coenobii Gandeshemensis:  Hrotsvit of Gandersheim as a Political Actor and Secular and Religious Power in Ottonian Saxony.” A paper written for Associate Professor of History Anna Trumbore Jones.

First-Year Writing Prize 2014

Allegra Wozniak ’17
“Setting as Character in Dickens and Dostoevsky.” A paper written for Associate Professor of English Carla Arnell.

First-Year Writing Prize 2013

Katie Bridget Wright ’16
“Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice: Understanding the Egyptian Revolution.” A paper written for Associate Professor of Politics Siobhan Moroney.

First-Year Writing Prize 2012

Nikolai Leffner ’15
“The Grapes of Dionysus’s Wrath:  An Analysis of the Principal Characters and Themes in Euripides’s Tragedy, The Bacchae.” A paper written for Associate Professor Rui Zhu’s First Year Studies Course, Civilization and Barbarism.

First-Year Writing Prize 2012 (Honorable Mention)

 Elizabeth Bulley ’15
“When Shakespeare’s “Women” Wear the Pants: An Examination of Rosalind and the Trouser Role in As You Like It.“  A paper written for Professor Ann Roberts’ First Year Studies Course, Renaissance Women.

First-Year Writing Prize 2011

Candice Kosanke ’14
“‘Useless Objects’: Kipple and What It Represents.” A paper written for Assistant Professor Josh Corey’s First-Year Studies course, Frankenstein: Myth of the Monstrous.

First-Year Writing Prize 2010

Maya Beckles ’13
“The Winter’s Tale: The Relief of Tragicomedy through Leontes and Autolycus.” A paper written for Associate Professor Richard Pettengill’s Shakespeare and Theater course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2010

Emily Thomas ’13
“Oda: An Extraordinary Example of a Medieval Woman’s Religious Authority and Economic Power.” A paper written for Associate Professor Anna Jones’ Women in Medieval Christianity First-Year Studies course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2009

Maria Zawadowicz
“Scientific Method in Medicine: Bringing Unity to Research and Clinical Decision-Making.” A paper written in Associate Professor Lori Del Negro’s Chemistry and Medicine First-Year Studies course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2009 (Honorable Mention)

Ellen Shipitalo
“Power and the Causes of Unequal Distribution in The Tempest and Twelfth Night.” A paper written for Professor Richard Mallette’s Shakespeare course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2008

Kathryn Duncan
“Isabella d’Este: Woman in Charge.” A paper written for Professor Roberts’ Women in Art History First-Year Studies course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2007

Ashlee Norton
“Analysis of Acting and Design Elements in Chicago Opera Theater Performance of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria.” A paper written for Associate Professor of Politics Siobhan Moroney’s Ways of Knowing course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2006

Melissa Schramm
“Sibling Aggression and Siblicidal Tendencies in Birds.” A paper written for Professor Caleb Gordon’s Biology of Birds course. 

First-Year Writing Prize 2006

Kalani Man
“Questioning Truth from within the Austro-Hungarian Empire: A Functional Analysis of the Ideas of Mach and Freud.” A paper written for Professor Edward Jurkowitz’s Western Thought Since the Renaissance course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2005

Sara Woodbury
“Christ Carrying the Cross: A Power Statement for the Institution.” A paper written for Professor Ann Roberts Introduction to Visual Arts course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2004

Chris Shirley
“Minimalism, Pop, and the True Avant-Garde.” A paper written for Professor David Schneiderman and Professor Christopher Reed’s American Avant-Garde course. 

First-Year Writing Prize 2003

Kaloian Petkov
“Hazard: The Scientist’s Analysis of the Game.” A paper written  for Professor Edward Packel’s Mathematics of Gaming and Gambling course. 

First-Year Writing Prize 2002

Maren Pedersen
“Provoking Judgment.” A paper written for Associate Professor of Politics Siobhan Moroney’s Freshman Studies course.

First-Year Writing Prize 2001

Erin Lynch
“Daddy’s Girl: Sylvia Plath, Freud, and the Uncanny.” A paper written for Professor Tom Balazs’ Literature and Psychoanalysis course. 

First-Year Writing Prize 2000

Trina Bannick
“A Comparison of the Heroes of Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist.” A paper written for Professor Jacqueline Perret’s Nonfiction Writing course.

First-Year Writing Prize 1999

Jenna Hammerich
“Social Contact versus Isolation in ‘Song of Myself’ and ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider.’” A paper written for Professor Janet McCracken’s Aesthetics course. 

First-Year Writing Contest Rules

1. All Lake Forest College first-year students may participate.

2. Only one entry per student will be accepted.

3. Submit a composition or essay from any Lake Forest College course or tutorial (No fiction or poetry).

4. Entries should be submitted as a Word document by sending an email to Professor Tracy McCabe.

5. Please follow these guidelines:

a. Title page should include the paper’s title, your name (your name should appear only on the title page), and the course and professor for whom the paper was written.

b. The full title should appear on the first page of text; a partial title should appear on all other pages of text.

c. Number all text pages.

d. Double space all text.

6. A jury of faculty will judge entries.

7. Winner(s) will receive a prize and recognition at Matriculation in the Fall. The winning essay(s) will be published in Lake Forest Papers.