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2017 Writing Flag Award Winners Announced

The School of Undergraduate Studies honored a year’s worth of outstanding student papers with the second Writing Flag Awards in a ceremony on Friday, March 23. Students submitted work in one of four categories: research, critical/persuasive, creative/reflective, and collaborative, a new category this year. Prizes were awarded to work that best demonstrated clarity, inventiveness, and intellectual rigor. First place winners for each category were awarded $300, second place received $200, and third place was awarded $100. Winners from each category presented excerpts of their writing to the audience at the ceremony.

“The submissions we received reflect the breadth and depth of the Writing Flag program,” said Program Coordinator George Schorn. “The Writing Flag is an essential part of students’ core skills and experiences at UT. The Center for Skills & Experience Flags is delighted to be able to showcase some of the work from those classes.”

Over 200 students submitted work they wrote from January to December 2017. This year’s entrants were enrolled in 11 different colleges and schools, representing over 75 majors. The Writing Flag courses they wrote for like Technologies of the Book, Changing Texas Ecosystems, and Religious Freedom in the USA spanned 41 home departments across the Forty Acres.

The 2018 Writing Flag Awards are accepting entries until December 19, 2018. Read the winning pieces from the 2016 Writing Flag Awards.

The Winners


  • First Place—Shivani Shah and Henykumari Patel, “Ethical Analysis and Report of the Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak from 2013-2015”
  • Second Place—Aditi Kulkarni, John Gonzalez, and Tianbao Zhu, “Triclosan vs. Sodium Flouride: Which is More Effective at Killing Streptococcus mutans?”
  • Third Place—Clayton Lawrence, Thomas Nguyen, Mitchell Tomazin, and Norberto Martinez, “The Grand Challenge of Carbon Sequestration”


  • First Place—Christopher Layden, “Attitudes Towards Aeneas in Roman Asia Minor”
  • Second Place—Haley Armbruster, “James Sakamoto and Japanese Internment on American Soil”
  • Third Place—Sylvia Feghali, “Connectivity and Community: A Study of Transit in Pflugerville”
  • Honorable Mention—Nathan Caldwell, “Socialist Individualism? The Prospects of Social Democracy in the United States”
  • Honorable Mention—Claire Culbertson, “Genetic Factors Contributing to the Susceptibility of Development of Prion Disease”


  • First Place—Jacob Springer, “Memorial Two: Cracking Corruption”
  • Second Place—Joshua Graham, “An Enquiry Concerning Humean Understanding: A Criticism of Hume’s Conception of Causal Events”
  • Third Place—Prerna Sachdeva, “Constructing Truth in ‘The Waste Land’”
  • Honorable Mention—Mae McConley, “The Character of Eve and Interpretive Misconceptions”


  • First Place—Carl Bernicker, “Zen and the Art of Fly Fishing was taken or else that would have been my title”
  • Second Place—Madeline Buschang, “Deck the Halls”
  • Third Place—Kensey Kirby, “The Peak”
  • Honorable Mention—Che, “Why Can’t I Cry”