Writing Program Prizes

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 2015-2016 winners of the
Writing Program Prize Competitions!


Three Generations Prize for First-Year-Writing

Fall 2015

First Place: Hannah Hicks '19,
The Changing Element: Beauty and Transition in Jane Austen's Persuasion
                                             WRIT 105 / ENG 120 Critical Interpretation, Sarah Wall-Randell

Runner-Up: Madeline Wood '19,
The Great Escape: Finding an Ambiguous and Unique Identity in a Binary World
                                                     WRIT 158 Bestsellers after the Boom, Eileen O'Connor

Spring 2016

First Place (tie): Emily Moss '19,
Abstracting Realism: Dreams of a New City in Whistler's Nocturne in Blue and Silver
              WRIT 108 / ARTH 101 History and Analysis of Art, Architecture, and Urban Form II, Barbara Lynn-Davis

First Place (tie): Caroline George '19,
The Reality of Fiction
                                                       WRIT 139 The Story and Its Writer, Michele Martinez

First Place (tie): Helen Andersen '19,
Building the House of Cards: The Role of the Internet in the Growth of the Asexual Community
                                                            WRIT 155  The Selfie in American Life, Helen Bryant

Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Social Sciences

Alexis Zhang '16
Re-examining Immigration Politics: Huntington, Kymlicka, and the Role of Culture   
                                                            POL4 343 Seminar: Democracy & Difference, Joel Krieger

Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Sciences

Isabelle Schoppa ’17  (tie)
Examining the impact of Point Mutations L1569H and L1663T on the Stability and Secondary Structure of the Human Notch 2 HD   
                                                              BISC 350 Independent Research, Didem Vardar-Ulu

Stephanie Yeh ‘18  (tie)
Lowered sodium levels in fertilization environment induces polyspermy in Strongylocentrotus purpuratus   
                                                                       BISC 216 lab, Yuichiro Suzuki

Kathryn Wasserman Davis '28 Art Prize

Ningyi Xi ‘17
Old Meets New, East Meets West: the Lettered Scrolls by Jin Yunpeng at the Davis Museum  
                                                          ARTH 240 Asian Art and Architecture, Heping Liu


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 one exemplary student paper per nomination (up to three nomination in each section of FYW).
  • Nominations should be submitted via e-mail addressed to fywprize@wellesley.edu, with the student's name in the subject line. The instructor's name and the course number and title should be included in the body of the e-mail. The paper and associated assignment it was written for as attachments.
  • Deadline for submissions will be announced 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

  • The dealine for SPRING 2017: to be announced. 
  • 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 writscienceprize@wellesley.edu or writsocscienceprize@wellesley.edu, 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 writartprize@wellesley.edu.

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 the writer's ability 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.