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, and the Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Social Sciences. As of spring 2020 the Davis Art Prize for Writing is being handled by the Davis Museum.

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


Three Generations Prize for First-Year Writing

Fall 2018

Natalie O'Hern '22,
The Oxymoron of Edward Abbey
                                          WRIT 162 Environmental Law: Policy and Action, Lynne Viti (Writing)

Spring 2019

First Place (tie): Tatia Bolkvadze '22,
The Suicide of Dorothy Hale: A Recuerdo, a Criticizm and Frida's Self Search
             WRIT 107 / ARTH 100 The Power of Images: Introduction to Art and its Histories, Barbara Lynn-Davis (Art)

First Place (tie): Michelle Mantilla '22,
A Desert of Dreams
             WRIT 107 / ARTH 100 The Power of Images: Introduction to Art and its Histories, Barbara Lynne-Davis (Art)


Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Social Sciences 2018-19

Angela Coco '19
The Powerful Mind is the Healthy Mind: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Representative Men (1850) and the History of Mental Health   
                                              HIST 352: Mental Health in European History, Simon Grote (History)


Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Sciences 2018-19

Hannah Mummey '20
Niemann-Pick Disease Type C: Unraveling the Mechanisms Behind a Lysosomal Storage Disease and Their Connection to Neurodegeneration   
               BISC 335, Seminar: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, John Goss (Biological Sciences)


Kathryn Wasserman Davis '28 Art Prize for Writing

Charlotte Casper '20
Transcending Construction: Susana Torre’s Walls of the House of Meanings  
                                                      ARTH 258: The Global Americas, 1400 to Today, James Oles (Art)

Honorable Mention: Sanjana Ramchandran '22
Art as Artifact: Exchange and Appropriation in the Global Circuit  
                          ARTH 100 The Power of Images: An Introduction to Art and its Histories, Pat Berman (Art)

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, 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 2019 is noon Wednesday, April 10th. 
  • 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 for Writing is now being handled by the Davis Museum. Please visit their webpage for more information and submission instructions.

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 at Wellesley College, including:

  • Objects exhibited as part of either permanent or temporary collections
  • The Davis Museum 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.

Guidelines for Submission see the Davis Museum's Davis Art Prize for Writing webpage and their current flyer for more information.

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.