Annual Writing Contest

Congratulations to our 2023 Writing Contest Winners!

Ruback Prize for Distinguished Writing in Honors

1st Place:
Nadja Nordstrom
“A Walk Through My Life: A Self-Presentation on the Life and Artworks of William Morris”
HON380 Radical Beauty: Pre-Raphaelite Art & Design (D. Southward)

2nd Place:
Ambrose Schulte, “America’s Black Holocaust Museum: Building a Community
HON351 Museums and Society (H. Snow)

Equitz Prize for Distinguished Writing in Honors 200

1st Place:
Ambrose Schulte, “Old Yeller”
HON200 Poetry & Empathy (D. Southward)

2nd Place:
Emma Johnsen, “The Conflict of Forgiveness”
HON200 You, Me, & Buffy: Raising the Stakes of Pop Culture (L. Daigle)

Ruback Prize for Distinguished Writing in Honors

The Ruback Prize for Distinguished Writing recognizes outstanding papers written for Honors College courses on any topic. The award is named in honor of retired Associate Director Robin Ruback, who graduated from Honors College and was the Associate Director from 2009 to 2017. Winners of the award follow in the tradition of Honors College excellence fostered by Ms. Ruback during her two decades with the college as a student and staff member.


Equitz Prize for Distinguished Writing in Honors 200

Lydia EquitzThe Equitz Prize for Distinguished Writing in Honors 200 was founded in 2022. It recognizes outstanding papers and other written works created for an Honors 200 class. Lydia Equitz was an Honors College faculty member from 1996 until her retirement in 2021. During many of those years, Lydia served as the Honors Writing Specialist, a position she both created and established as a key resource for Honors students and their writing. She also initiated the Annual Writing Contest, recognizing the need to celebrate student writing beyond the classroom. Winners of this prize are distinguished by their excellent writing in response to Honors 200 assignments, as Lydia cared about encouraging students early in their Honors careers.

Submission Guidelines

Any work written for Honors credit in 2024 is eligible, regardless of course level. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis from March–January each year.

Students must be in good Honors standing at the time of the judging (February 2025) and may submit only one 200-level and one upper-level piece per year. Please send your submission in .pdf or .docx format to at any time, but the final deadline is 11:59pm CT on January 31, 2025.

Include a title page with your name, the course and semester the piece was written during, as well as a brief abstract that provides any pertinent context necessary to understanding the piece outside the classroom. In your abstract, please also answer the question: With this work, what are you contributing to current fields of study and/or cultural, social, or political conversations?

Please make sure your name is not included anywhere else on your piece. And carefully proofread and edit your submission. You can consult your instructor or Honors College Writing Specialist for editing ideas.

A committee appointed by the Honors College Writing Specialist will select the winners. Judges may decide to withhold or share awards based on the entry pool.

Previous Winners

Ruback Prize for Distinguished Writing

Abigail Tran – 2022
Ava Ladky – 2021
Kaden Van De Loo – 2020
Bailey Flannery – 2019
Samantha Brusky – 2018
Hugo Martin A. Ljungbäck – 2017

200-Level Prize

Simeon Britz – 2022
Isabella Burkard – 2021
Naomi Raicu – 2020
Chloe Wasson – 2019
Josy Raheem – 2018
Tim Fischer – 2017 (tie)
Reanna Wicker – 2017 (tie)