Essays on motherhood, women in STEM and politics were among the winners of this year's 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 for short reflective essay and long essay.
Short/reflective essay winners
First: "Gender and Sexuality Portfolio: Introduction to the Special Interest Topic of Motherhood" by Valeria Melo. (Instructor: Dr. Jessica Nodulman). Melo is a senior from Lisle, Ill., majoring in public health and biology.
Second: "A Transformative Tragedy" by Cassandra Karn (Instructor: Dr. Meg Gillette). Karn is a first-year student from Brimfield, Ill., majoring in English and theatre arts.
Long essay winners
First: "Female Underrepresentation in STEM" by Erin Cygan (Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Heacock-Renaud). Cygan is a junior from Orland Park, Ill., majoring in biochemistry and environmental studies.
Second: "The Power of Queer Representation in the Media" by Jack Harris. (Instructor: Dr. Jennier Heacock-Renaud). Harris is a sophomore from Mazomanie, Wis., majoring in creative writing and graphic design.
Honorable mention: "Dolores Huerta: Forming Political Solidarity Through Mestiza Consciousness" by Sasha Naomi Castro. (Instructor: Dr. Robert Wengronowitz)
Honorable mention: "Medicalization of Morals — Should Religion Have a Place in Medicine?" by Madison Blair Kinder. (Instructor: Dr. Dan Lee). Kinder is a senior from Hidalgo, Ill., majoring in pre-medicine and religion.
The department seeks entries that display excellent liberal arts scholarship and creativity at the undergraduate level. Any course offered in the college could be the basis for written work addressing questions relevant to the Wollstonecraft Award.
Winners receive a small monetary award and a certificate of recognition.