The Writing Program recognizes excellence in academic writing through the awarding of the Three Generations Prize for First-Year Writing (previously known as Writing 125), the Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Sciences, the Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Social Sciences, and the Kathryn Wasserman Davis '28 Art Prize.

Congratulations to the recent winners of the
Writing Program Prize Competitions!


Three Generations Prize for First-Year-Writing

Fall 2014

First Place: Rose Whitlock '18,
Complexity, Paradox, and Ambiguity in Gwendolyn Brooks' "the mother"
                                                                                             WRIT 105 / ENG 120 Critical Interpretation, Margery Sabin

Honorable Mention: Anjali Sundaram '18,
Psycho's Lasting Effect on the Horror Genre and American Culture
                                                                                            WRIT 111 / CAMS 115 Hitchcock, Auteur, Wini Wood

Honorable Mention: Narih Lee '18,
Filing in the Gaps
                                                                                            WRIT 121 Almost Touching the Skies, Heather Bryant

Spring 2014

First Place (tie): Abigail Stinson '17,
Dancing with the Devil
                                                                                             WRIT 159 Religion and New Media, Erinn Staley

First Place (tie): Mika Rogers '17,
The Importance of Feeling: the Portrayal of Emotion in Giotto's The Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple (1320) and Raphael's Pietà (1503-05)
The Reluctant Revolutionary: Modernism in Manet's Street Singer
                                  WRIT 108 / ARTH 101 Introduction to the History of Art: Renaissance to Contemporary, Barbara Lynn-Davis

Honorable Mention: Eva Freedman '17,
Greg Benson
                                                                                            WRIT 115 / ARTS 115 Word and Image Studio, Phyllis McGibbon

Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Social Sciences

Else Schlerman '17
Like A Bridge of Troubled Waters   
                      WRIT 161 Hidden Worlds:  Desert Islands, Ghost Towns, Invisible Cities, and Writing About Place,  Justin Armstrong

Audrey Wozniak '14
Mutual Empowerment? Examining the Power Relationship between Overseas Filipinos and the Motherland   
                                                                                            POL2 304 State and Society in East Asia, Katharine Moon

Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Sciences

Rachel Harris '14
Cell signaling towards the induction of akinete differentiation in Anabaena variabilis: a proteomic approach   
                                                                                          BISC 320 Proteomics with Laboratory, Gary Harris

Kathryn Wasserman Davis '28 Art Prize

Ningyi Xi '17
Cultural Objects in the Museum: Different Approaches to Presentation   
                                                           ARTH 100 Global Perspectives on Art and Architecture: Ancient to Medieval, Rebecca Bedell


About the Prizes

Three Generations Prize for First-Year Writing

A prize of $125 and a book is awarded each semester to honor sustained excellence in writing and/or growth in writing over the course of a semester in FYW.  A panel of three First-Year Writing instructors judges the prize.

Guidelines for Submission

  • Nomination for this prize is by instructor only. Instructors are asked to submit a portfolio of 12-20 pages of a student's writing (usually 2-3 separate papers). Submissions should show both the range and depth of a student's writing.
  • Nominations should be submitted via e-mail addressed to, with the student's name in the subject line, the instructor's name, course number and title, and number of papers being submitted in the body of the e-mail, and the papers and the assignments they were written for as attachments.  Deadline for submissions will be announced each semester.
  • Instructors may nominate up to three students from each First-Year Writing class each semester.


Three Generations Prizes for Writing in the Sciences and for Writing in the Social Sciences

Two prizes of $300, each awarded annually in the spring to a Wellesley student for a paper on a topic in the sciences or in the social sciences, written as part of her course work (excluding theses) or independently. 
These prizes recognize Wellesley College's commitment to fine writing in all areas of study, including the sciences and social sciences.  Each prize is judged by a panel of three faculty members from two relevant departments and the Writing Program.


  • A full and complex argument, clearly stated and well supported by evidence
  • Argumentation that is accurate and appropriate to the discipline
  • A level of diction that is clear and comprehensible to any intelligent reader
  • Excellent presentation of source material, data, and other evidence


Guidelines for Submission

  • SPRING 2015 deadline is noon on Friday, April 3rd. 
  • Submissions must contain both a copy of your paper and a cover sheet that includes: your name and class; the name of the professor and course for which you wrote the paper; a brief description of the assignment and the date the paper was submitted; and the prize (Science or Social Science) for which the paper is being submitted.
  • Send submissions as e-mail attachments to either or, depending upon which prize you are vying for. Specify the name of the prize in the subject line of your e-mail.
  • Each contestant may submit only one entry.
  • Any Wellesley College student may submit a paper for this prize.
  • Honors theses may not be submitted; papers written for independent studies are eligible. Paper written for courses taken at MIT, Brandeis, Olin, or during an official exchange program are also eligible.
  • Papers written during the spring semester of the preceding year, as well as the fall and spring semesters of the current year, are eligible.
  • Prizes awarded to seniors will be listed in the Commencement Program and announced at the Commencement Rehearsal.  All other prizes will be mailed after Commencement.


The Kathryn Wasserman Davis '28 Art Prize

A prize of $300 awarded to a Wellesley student for a paper written, either independently or for a course, about any object or event associated with the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, including:

  • Objects exhibited as part of either permanent or temporary collections
  • The Davis Museum and Cultural Center itself
  • Any aspect of Museum programming


The goals of the prize are to encourage intellectual and creative interaction with the objects in the museum, to draw as many students and faculty as possible into the museum, and to articulate far-reaching and innovative connections between the visual arts and the other intellectual activities of the campus.

In the past, the judges have been particularly impressed with writing that is lively and fresh as well as competent and thorough. We are particularly interested in writing that expresses a rich and genuine response to objects in the Davis Museum.

A panel of three faculty members representing the Davis Museum, the Art Department, and the Writing Program judges the prize.

Guidelines for Submission are the same as those for the Three Generations Prizes for Writing in the Sciences and Social Sciences (see above) and should be sent to

Tips for Submitting a Prize-winning Paper

  • The judges look for a paper that reads well on its own and makes a strong and strongly visible argument, well supported by evidence.
  • Most prize-winning papers have been revised for submission. A paper that earned an 'A' for a course is not necessarily a prize-winning paper; papers written in response to an assignment may not read well to someone unfamiliar with the course material. We suggest that you revise the introduction so it prepares an outside audience to understand the importance of your topic. We also urge students to consult with their instructors to determine whether a paper is worthy of submission for a prize.
  • Polish up the tables and other visual material.  Prize-winning papers in the sciences and social sciences should demonstrate capability to present evidence in well-produced graphic form. Prize-winning papers in the arts should include visual documentation of the objects written about.
  • Be sure that the paper references sources fully, completely, and wherever necessary, and in correct form for the discipline.
  • A paper with spelling errors, typos, and grammatical errors cannot win a prize.

In the past, prizes have been awarded both to highly technical papers and to papers written for a general audience. The judges are interested in the wide range of writing that is done in the sciences and the social sciences.


Call the Writing Program Office, x2576, or contact Justin Armstrong, coordinator of the writing competitions.