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Wollstonecraft, Vázquez-Valarezo awards announced

May  19, 2014

Essays on Catholic sexual ethics, gender and gods in ancient Greece, and an exploration of the furry genre of anthropomorphic animal fiction won the the top prizes in the 2014 Wollstonecraft Essay Contest.

The award is named for Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), the English philosopher who wrote the classic text "A Vindication of the Rights of Women."  It is given annually by the women's and gender studies department to recognize excellence in women's and gender scholarship at the undergraduate level.

Awards are presented in three categories: short analytical essay, long analytical essay, and personal/reflective prose.

The department seeks entries that display excellent liberal arts scholarship and creativity at the undergraduate level. Entries should have a thesis or underlying insight that is skillfully supported and rhetorically effective. Since feminist scholars have influenced all academic fields, any course offered in the college could, potentially, be the basis for written work addressing historical, theoretical, social, psychological, artistic, and economic questions relevant to the Wollstonecraft Award.

Winners will receive a small monetary award and a certificate of recognition. Entries will be judged anonymously by professors from other colleges.

Also, the 16th annual Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award was won by Lillian Pickens, a senior from Third Lake, Ill., majoring in religion. The award is given to the best submission on a theme related to women.

The award is sponsored by Dr. Jeanneth Vázquez, professor of Spanish and department chair. Winners receive a small monetary award and a certificate of recognition. The award is named in honor of two educators, the late Honorato Vazquez and the late Angelica Valarezo, writers who worked in the field of education in Ecuador for 35 years. In addition to recognizing excellence, the award is designed to encourage student poets to submit their work for consideration.

Wollstonecraft Essay Award winners

Long analytical essay

First prize: Anissa Pemberton, a senior from Hoopeston, Ill., majoring in anthropology and political science, "Queer Catholicism: A Reexamination of Ideals."

Second prize: Ebony Allen, a junior from Florissant, Mo., majoring in philosophy, "The Reality of a Globalized Economy."

Short analytical essay

First prize: Katherine Rea, a senior from Rock Island, Ill., majoring in classics, "The Neglected Heavens."

Second prize: Sarah Baxter, a junior from Rockford, Ill., majoring in sociology-social welfare and psychology, "The Global Feminist Approach to Psychoanalysis."

Honorable mention:

Emmalynn Tully, a first-year student from Bettendorf, Iowa, majoring in vocal music education, "To Paint a Protest."

Vanessa Reyes, a junior from Toluca, Ill., majoring in political science, "Gendered Violence, Poverty, and Service Work."

Personal/reflective essay

First place: Evan Henkel, a first-year student from Davenport, Iowa, majoring in computer science, "A Furry Tale."

Second place: Elizabeth Jakaitis, a senior from Grayslake, Ill., majoring in art history and English," With the Beatles."

Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award

First place: Lillian Pickens, a senior from Third Lake, Ill., majoring in religion.