Joyner Library announced the winners of its annual W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award for student research during an Aug. 23 ceremony held in the Janice L. Faulkner Gallery, located on the second floor of the library.
Sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library, the W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award was named in honor of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, professor emeritus of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes excellence in research and writing by students enrolled in English 1100 and 2201 composition classes during the summer and fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 semesters.
“Every August as the fall semester begins, we have the pleasure of recognizing three students whose English composition papers were selected for the W. Keats Sparrow Award,” said Jan Lewis, director for Joyner Library. “It is a wonderful way to start the new academic year and reaffirm the close connections between Joyner Library and the Department of English.”
Eligibility criteria required students’ papers to include a research component using Joyner Library’s resources.
Entries were judged on the quality of the research as well as the quality of the writing by a panel comprised of faculty from the Department of English and Joyner Library. Members of this year’s panel included: Dr. Tracy Ann Morse, director of composition/writing foundations; Grace Horne, teaching instructor, Department of English; and Meghan Wanucha, coordinator of instructional assessment, Joyner Library.
Winning the award for first place — and a $500 prize — was Jasmine M. Perry, in the department of Psychology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, for “Homophobic Attitudes in Men.”
“This award means a lot to me,” said Perry. “In my life I have never been first place at anything, so winning this award shows how I have grown as a person, and it shows how dedicated I am to my area of study.”
Perry said the inspiration behind her winning paper came from personal experiences with friends and family members that are homosexual.
“I know that ‘coming out’ is a hard thing to do, and it requires a lot of confidence and a strong support system,” she said. “If people around you are homophobic it can lead to emotional turmoil and possibly suicide. I am so empathetic when I hear or read stories about people being bullied or abused due to their sexuality.”
Two additional award winners were:
- Jenna M. Murdock, majoring in elementary education in the College of Education, in second place — a $300 prize — for “Motivating Students to Read.”
- Carly E. Shomsky, in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance, in third place — a $150 prize — for “Sensory Processing Disorder.”
Second-place winner Jenna Murdock said the competition was the perfect opportunity for her to do more research on how to motivate students to read required texts. “I really enjoyed putting this paper together and it was more than just an assignment I completed for a grade,” she said. “I was able to learn so much new and valuable information that will help me become a better teacher in the future.”
“I think it’s wonderful that Joyner Library offers awards and competitions for students,” she said. “It helps further our writing skills and allows us to explore the many resources offered by the library.”
Carly Shomsky, the third-place winner, believes students really benefit from the opportunity to participate in Joyner Libraries awards and competitions. “It not only encourages students to receive good grades, but it also offers them the feeling of accomplishment,” she said.
“This award showed me how far I have come within my writing and as a person. Hard work and determination really do pay off.”
Also deserving recognition are the instructors of the English 2201 sections that produced the winners. Dr. Tracy Ann Morse was Jasmine Perry’s and Jenna Murdock’s instructor, and Marc Petersen was Carly Shomsky’s instructor.
“This year’s award recipients clearly selected topics relevant to their lives and majors and used the assignment to improve their discipline-based research and writing skills,” said Lewis. “Congratulations to each of them for their outstanding work.”
For more information on how to participate in next year’s awards, contact David Hisle at 328-4978 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications