Aetna First-Year Writing Award

The Aetna First-Year Writing Award, sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing, is an award for excellent nonfiction composed in a First-Year Writing class. Winners are awarded cash prizes and read from their work at the Aetna Celebration of Student Writing.

Submissions for student writing completed during any term from Fall 2016 to Fall 2017 are now open. The deadline is February 2, 2018.

Submissions may be nominated by an instructor or self-nominated. To submit your (student’s) work, please:

  1. Download and complete the prize submission form.
  2. Remove student and instructor names from the paper.
  3. Email both the submission form and your essay (in either DOCX or PDF format) to writingcontests@uconn.edu.

A committee will review all submissions in early spring. Good luck!

Past Recipients

2016
  • First Prize: Aliyah Summer Walker, “What Happens in the Weight Room Doesn’t Quite Stay in the Weight Room” (Instructor: Micah Goodrich)
  • Honorable Mention: Damini Chelladurai, “The Innocent Muslim in the Post-9/11 World” (Instructor: Lori Carriere)
  • Honorable Mention: Anna Babbin, “A Dual Grief Paradox: The Unlivable Lives of LGBTQ+Homeless Youth” (Instructor: Tom Deans)
2015
  • First Prize: Joshua Weist, “Corruptive Villainy: Finding the Root of Evil” (Instructor: Melissa Rohrer)
2014
  • First Prize: John Peters, “The Silent Treatment: Have We All Lost Our Voice?” (Instructor: Eleanor Reeds)
  • Second Prize: Marisol Gallo, “Freedom Writers: The ‘Invisible’ Period of Racism in America and Hollywood” (Instructor: Melissa Rohrer)
  • Second Prize: Dominique Martin, “Irene Adler: Making a Statement” (Instructor: Emma Burris-Janssen)
2013
  • First Prize: Michael  Caruso, “Ain’t No Whig o’ Mine: Sir Robert Walpole, the South Sea Bubble, and a Pissed Irishman” (Instructor: Erick Piller)
  • First Prize: William Lanzoni, “Dockers Define Manhood”  (Instructor: Kate Gross)
  • Second Prize: Zachary Stack, “The Unconscious Vampire” (Instructor: Denise Lovett)
2012
  • First Prize: Antonio Rivera, “The Silent Treatment: Have We All Lost Our Voice?” (Instructor: Samuel Robinson)
  • Honorable Mention: Marcey Lewin, “Curious About Curiosity: An Investigation” (Instructor: Roberta Marggraff)
  • Honorable Mention: Tanner Rathbone, “Fragmentation and Its Positive Effects on Mentally Ill Patients” (Instructor: Alaina Kaus)
2011
  • First Prize: Kaley Kruger, “Empirical Reality to Authenticity: Joyce’s Development of the Work of Art in The Dead” (Instructor: Michael Bartch)
  • Second Prize: Coree Charette, “The Truth” (Instructor: Maria Seger)
  • Third Prize: Emili Mahon, “The Redefining of ‘Separate Spheres’” (Instructor: Maria Seger)
2010
  • First Prize: Christian Gibney, “Profile of a Hero: Rorschach” (Instructor: Kisha Tracy)
2009
  • First Prize: Lisa Ruohoniemi, “History and Heritage: Telling the Story of a Nation Through a Single Soul” (Instructor: Lynn Z. Bloom)
  • Honorable Mention: Janine Johnson, “The Effects of Sexism and Racism in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
2008
  • First Prize: Zach Dorn, “Night of the Living Post-Modernist” (Instructor: Eva Teague)
  • Second Prize: Stephen Corbo, “A Different Type of Panopticon: Fight Club” (Instructor: Kristi Garvin)
  • Third Prize: Kerri Fenton, “Nature and Ecocriticism in Fahrenheit 451” (Instructor: Patricia Taylor)
  • Honorable Mention: Thomas Dimauro, “On My Honor: Narrative of an Eagle Scout” (Instructor: Sean Forbes)
2007
  • First Prize: Lauren Silber, “Forces of Creativity Surpassed for a Greater Purpose” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
  • Second Prize: Kerry Smith, “Funding Distribution of the Endangered Species Act” (Instructor: Corey Mahoney)
  • Third Prize: Caitlin Cuskley, “Unearthing a Voice: Releasing the Creativity of the Women of the Past” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
  • Honorable Mention: Brian Kelly, “Guernica: Capturing the Essence of War” (Instructor: Trudi Bird)