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Audre Lorde Writing Prize winners and department awards

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program has announced the winners of the 2022 Audre Lorde Writing Prize and department awards.

The writing awards are named in honor of Audre Lorde (1934-1992), an intersectional feminist writer and civil rights activist who wrote the foundational text "Sister Outsider" (1984). Awards are given annually.

The awards are designed to recognize excellence in scholarship in women, gender and sexuality studies at the undergraduate level.

The winners were selected in three categories by outside judges from the 22 submissions for this year's contest.

Long analytical essay

First place: Kara West, "Queer Even in Safe Spaces: Homelessness, Shelter Failures, and the Queer Community." West is a junior from Grinnell, Iowa, majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies, psychology and Spanish.

Second place: Maddie Schaefer, "Coming Out Culture and LGBTQ+ Teachers." Schaefer is a senior from Elgin, Ill., majoring in psychology and communication studies.

Honorable mention: Bethany Abrams, "Bisexuality in 21st Century Media." Abrams is a junior from Tinley Park, Ill., majoring in English and psychology.

Short analytical essay

First place: Giselle Barajas, "Coming Out as a Queer Latinx." Barajas is a senior from Romeoville, Ill., majoring in multimedia journalism and mass communication and political science with a minor in women, gender and sexuality studies.

Second place: Gavinya Wijesekera, "She Ain’t Sorry." Wijesekera is a junior from Sri Lanka, majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies.

Honorable mention: Sofia Rubalcava, "Eradication of the Black Identity." Rubalcava is a junior from Moline, Ill., majoring in business administration/marketing.

Personal or reflective prose

First place: Alison Lawrence, "Flippin’ Medicine: Reflection and Action in Medical Education." Lawrence is a senior from Roscoe, Ill., majoring in  in women, gender, and sexuality studies and pre-medicine.

Second place: Brie Kunstman, "At the Dinner Table." Kunstman is a junior from St. Charles, Ill., majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies and psychology.

Honorable mention: Audre Lewis, "My Intangible Orb of Dreams." Lewis is a sophomore from Denver, majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies and public health.

Nancy Huse Award for Outstanding Senior

The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program has awarded the Nancy Huse Award for Outstanding Senior to Giselle Barajas.

The award was created in honor of Dr. Nancy Huse, professor emerita, who was a co-founder of the Women's and Gender Studies program at Augustana.

This award is given each year to a senior Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major or minor who reflects the qualities and values that WGSS has embodied since its inception: the cultivation of a strong personal "voice;" active participation in the WGSS community; excellent academics and scholarly potential; and a commitment to linking personal choices with social responsibility.  

First-Year Major Declaration Scholarship Award

This Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies $500 scholarship is for first-year students who have taken at least one WGSS course this academic year, or have declared a WGSS major or minor, or intend to do so.

This year's winners are Lexi Golab and Bailey Hacker.

Golab is a women, gender, and sexuality studies, creative writing and psychology major from Chicago.

Hacker is a women, gender, and sexuality studies and psychology major from Kansas, Ill.

Exploring majors?

faces of four students

At Augustana, that's a plus, not a problem, as these students will agree.


If you have news, send it to sharenews@augustana.edu! We love hearing about the achievements of our alumni, students and faculty.