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Idaho State Announces Annual English Composition Essay Award Winners

April 29, 2021

Winners of Department of English's annual contest

The Department of English and Philosophy is pleased to announce that three undergraduate students have been named as winners of the annual Student Composition Contest. Elizabeth Gilbertson, Teo Hanson, and Trinity Taylor have been recognized for excellence in writing in their first-year writing courses.

Gilbertson’s essay “Psychological Therapies in Pain Management,” has been recognized for achievement in ENGL 1101/1101P. In a class taught by Graduate Teaching Assistant Heather Summers, Gilbertson wrote an informational essay in which she explored treatments to chronic pain and focuses specifically on alternatives to the use of pharmaceuticals. After discussing physical therapy and bodywork practices such as massage, she offers an in-depth presentation of psychological treatments. Elizabeth draws on a strong collection of secondary sources as she presents a balanced explanation of treatments and recovery. Gilbertson is pursuing a major in Nursing. 

For an ENGL 1102 class taught by Professor Curtis Whitaker, Hanson wrote the essay “Looming Concerns of Technological Overreach in the Realm of ‘Big Data.’” This essay explains the ways in which data is collected through online interactions and how this “Big Data” is used by individuals, companies, and governments. Hanson discusses the benefits that Big Data bring to society, such as advancements in medicine due to the availability of collective data, as well as how information is used to influence or control members of society in more oppressive ways. Hanson lays out a well-organized and fully developed essay, incorporating strong secondary sources and numerous examples to support his position, and he closes with a caution to attend more closely to the ethical dimensions of Big Data. Hanson is pursuing a B.A. in Communication with a concentration in multiplatform journalism.

Taylor wrote the essay, “A Change in Our Electoral System: Remove or Reform?” for a section of ENGL 1102 taught by Professor Brent Wolter. In the essay, Taylor discusses the common criticisms of the Electoral College and addresses two proposed alternatives: the abolition of the Electoral College and the adoption of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Through a well-balanced and well-researched essay, Taylor explains both the arguments in favor of and in opposition to each option, discussing how each leaves open the potential for bias and discrimination, ultimately arguing that there is room for reform, but reform that ensures fair representation for all Americans. Taylor is pursuing a B.B.A. in Business.

Each year, the Composition Committee in the Department of English and Philosophy solicits faculty and graduate students teaching the first-year general education writing courses to nominate the best of the essays submitted in their classes for the Student Composition Contest. Winners are selected by the Composition Committee and recognized for excellence in writing.


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