This year's submission deadline (Jan. 25) has now passed. Winners will be announced by early April.  Thank you for your submissions!


The Writing Excellence prizes are awarded annually to encourage and reward good writing in all disciplines. For the 2023 competition, a total of ten prizes ($250 each) will be awarded for papers written in the 2022 calendar year:  

  • Two prizes in each category: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • One prize each for First-year Seminars, Connections, and Graduate Programs
  • One prize for a paper written on a topic related to race and pedagogy, regardless of the course in which it was written.

Submission category details

Rules for the Contest

Papers written as part of the requirement for courses taken at the University of Puget Sound during Spring, Summer, or Fall 2022 are eligible for this round of the competition. Papers of any length may be submitted; short papers are as likely to win as long ones.

Students may submit no more than one paper in each category. The same paper may be submitted to two categories only if one of the categories is the Race and Pedagogy category. 

See detailed instructions here.


If you have any questions about the process or the prizes, please contact Professor Amy Spivey ( 

Award announcements

Results of the competition are announced the first week of April, and award winners in each category will be honored at an academic celebration toward the end of the spring semester.

The award-winning papers from 2022 (written in 2021) are as follows:

 Arts and Humanities​

Matthew Babor, "'Devil's Claws': Phallic and Other Symbolisms of Poulaine Shoes, 12th-15th Centuries," written for HIST 305, Professor Katherine Smith

Jess Cooper, "Die Idee der Gerechtigkeit in Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis: Brecht's Erfahrungen mit Justiz während und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg," written for GERM 480, Professor Kris Imbrigotta

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Elizabeth Olpin, "Examining the effect of soil potassium level on sugar content in radishes (Raphanus Sativus)," written for BIOL 211, Professor Stacey Weiss

Haley Reed, "Actuarial Ruin Theory," written for MATH 375, Professor James Bernhard

Social Sciences

Anna Galbraith, "The Global Gag Rule: An Ideological Policy’s Consequences for Reproductive and Global Health," written for IPE 401, Professor Pierre Ly

Hannah Williams, "Identifying the Threat to Museveni’s Manufactured Legitimacy: The Puzzle of Uganda’s 2021 Elections," written for PG 322, Professor Patrick O’Neil


Hannah Williams, "Magic, Mysticism, and Race in Toni Morrison’s Beloved," written for CONN 344, Professor Greta Austin

First-year Seminars

Maia Nilsson, "Stone Butch Blues and Transmedicalism," written for SSI2 148, Professor Darcy Irvin 

Graduate Programs

Kayla Thaller, "Direct Access in Washington State," written for PT 644, Prof. Holly Roberts

Race and Pedagogy

Sowmya Kannan, "Diving Into the Deep: Exploring the Liberatory and Healing Potential in Afrofuturistic Fantasy," written for ENGL 247, Professor Jordan Carroll

Viewing winning papers 

Winning papers from the most recent contest and prior years can be viewed in Sound Ideas, Puget Sound's site for sharing the intellectual and artistic work of Puget Sound students and faculty.

Departmental writing awards

In addition to the university-wide Writing Excellence Awards, many departments also have departmental writing awards. Students are welcome and encouraged to submit papers to both university-wide and department-specific writing competitions.