2012 Writing Excellence Award Winners

2012 Writing Excellence Awards Winners

Best Personal Essays in First Year Writing

Cody Maxam

First Place

The Best Childhood

As I was getting everything ready to take out to the trash bin, I caught sight of the binder that held all of my stories and drawings. It took me a few seconds to recognize what it was, for I hadn’t seen it in years. I walked over to it, took it off the shelf, and sneezed when the dust filled my nose. After I had recovered, I stared at the mahogany-colored binder for several seconds. Not a thought passed through my head as I continued to stare.  Before I knew what I was doing, I shoved the binder into my bag of trash, tying it tight, and proceeded to take it out to the garbage bin.  

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Hannah Bossner

Second Place

Ex-Homeschooler: Writer Extraordinaire

Before leaving for school I decided to take one last look of myself in the mirror. The  12-year-old girl staring back at me was the epitome of an awkward junior higher. She was tall for her age, and her atrocious school uniform (that was bought purposely larger, to “grow into”) hung off of her body. Dark eyeliner rimmed her eyes, because after all, why shouldn’t she wear makeup now that she was 12? Her pulled back hair further accentuated the wonderful combination of a blemished and fevered complexion. I wasn’t so positive that that girl was going to be a success. 

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Jennifer Scott

Third Place

Making the Personal . . . Personal

The way she looked will never leave my mind. Her eyes were sunken in, her skin looked like it was about to fall off her bones, and her hair hadn’t been brushed in days. To this day, I still wonder if she had been planning it all along. I wonder if I ever crossed her mind during the process.

A few hours passed and Libby still hadn’t progressed. Every time my mom or I checked on her, she would still be in the same position. I wanted to know what was wrong. Read more
Best Analytical Essays in First Year Writing

Tyler Drabek

First Place

To Drill or Not: The Great Lakes

In the year 2002, directional drilling (drilling a slant well to reach a target not directly beneath the drill site) for oil and natural gas under the Great Lakes was banned by state law and in 2005 by federal law (Sheikh, Humphries, Ramseur, and Vann, 2008). The fact that this is not a constitutional ban, however, means that it can be repealed at any time, raising the question of whether directional drilling in the Great Lakes should be allowed or not. 

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Michelle Walters

Second Place

Usage of the Term 'Sketchy'

The most common discovery of this research suggests that “sketchy” is used mainly by young adult females to express a strong negative feeling about someone or something.  The study also suggests that, when used by males in relation to a physical action, “sketchy” can contain a different meaning, and when used by aging adults it may be used with involvement of the original meaning and be in no way related to the slang definition. 

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James Gillen III

Third  Place

Research and Analysis of the Slang Term ‘Homie’

A survey was conducted in order to gain a more definitive understanding of the slang term “homie.”  Following the survey, significant findings were produced that revealed that the term “homie” is a word used by individuals to express friendship between two people.  Furthermore, “homie” was found to be a word people associate with a positive connotation that individuals use as a noun to describe their friends. 

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Best Research Essay in WRT 160

James Hamzey

First Place Ignis Ardens: A Partial Exoneration of the Bosnian Church  Anthropological evidence is used to suggest that Catholic officials may have mistaken some Bosnians who absorbed pagan or magical practices as heretics. This study concludes that the Bosnian Church became partially heretical around the fifteenth century because of its autonomy and the tendency of Bosnians to absorb aspects of other religions.  Read more

Stephanie Jacks

Second Place

Male Breast Cancer Awareness: Showing an Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Although the incidence of breast cancer in males occurs much less frequently than in females, the general public should not have the distorted idea that it does not occur at all. More people could be educated by means of public service announcements or a new breast cancer commercial that involves both genders. These efforts could provide a stepping stone for increasing the understanding and prevention of male breast cancer. 

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Hanna Trzeciakiewicz

Third Place

How Barbie was Too Cool and Got Expelled from Pre-School

Research from the 1980s suggests Barbie is the best doll to have, yet recent studies imply otherwise. It is now known that since Barbie has been around (53 years), she has had more time to leave lasting effects such as sexualizing young girls, emphasizing racial discrimination, causing a discrepancy between reality and ideality, suppressing the pursuit of science careers, discouraging young girls to eat, and giving rise to what could be called human Barbie dolls. 

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Best Research Projects in Upper Level Writing Intensive Courses

Aaron Perry
First Place

Retention and the Male Psyche: Compounding Issues in the Writing Center. 

Men’s attitudes toward seeking help exacerbates the issue of retention and results in the current problem we’re facing in both the WC and the university. The WC should make a concerted effort to hire more male tutors, which will help present an image of the WC as a place where males can feel at ease. These strictures could potentially fix both the WC’s and university’s problems of low male usage and retention, as tutoring frequency is directly correlated with improved grades (William & Takaku, 2011, p. 6).  Read more
Jenelle Dembsey

Second Place

Sexual Harassment at Oakland University:  Guidelines for Improving Policies, Procedures, and Training Types

Oakland is responsible for protecting all campus members and in doing so must be proactive in preventing sexual harassment before it takes place. Consistently updating the training course to discuss even the most recent types of harassment keeps students and employees up-to-date and protects Oakland’s liability: harassers cannot claim ignorance, and victims know their rights. 

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Tricia Austin Hager

Third Place

Navigating the Grocery Store: Obstacles, Influences, and Consumer Choice

The sliding automatic doors welcomed me right into the fruit and vegetable section, and an array of colors greeted my eyes – stacks of apples, oranges, various lettuces—that from afar appeared fresh and inviting.  I deeply inhaled the scent of freshly watered produce; a wonderful, earthy smell mixed with – fried chicken?  I browsed the fruits and vegetables and noticed they appeared lackluster and wilted upon closer inspection, and humorously noted a sale for Apple Chips (freeze dried, sweetened ‘real pieces’ of apple) underneath the actual apple stand. 

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Best Works of Creative Nonfiction

Donald Drife

First Place

Nature's Comfort

Bird’s foot violets bloomed from the burnt ground, their divided green leaves and blue flowers appearing in stark contrast against the blackened cinders that littered the sandy earth. Bracken ferns already stood knee high, their triangular fronds waving defiantly in the breeze. The air smelled of ash, and the acrid odor of charred wood hung in the air. My hands and clothing became black with soot. 

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Angelica Labadie

Second Place

The Man in the Brownstone

Upon entering the foyer, I remember the smell of dog urine, stale cigarettes and overcooked cabbage, the combination made me gag and I would turn to go back outside, always stopped by the impetus of my siblings’ bodies struggling to climb up the narrow stairway. 

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Kim Wagner

Third Place 

My Mother

She often made crafts with us - popsicle stick reindeer on Christmas, huge construction paper eggs blanketed in messy glitter and rhinestones on Easter, and finger painted American flags on the Fourth of July. We would sit with her in the sandbox, together creating our own miniature world by repeatedly packing dark sand into castle-shaped buckets. She kissed our beestings, smeared antibiotic ointment on our cuts, and rubbed our backs as we reluctantly gulped down chalky, pink Pepto-Bismol. 

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Best Multimedia Projects

Brian Schroll

First Place Headstone Engraver: A Changing Career  See more

Brianne Dear

Second Place Peer Tutoring in Reading Comprehension:  The Importance of a Program in Your Elementary School See more
Amber Corwin
Third Place My Escape: The Legend of Zelda
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