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 recent winners of the
Writing Program Prize Competitions!


Three Generations Prize for First-Year Writing 2016-2017

Fall 2016

First Place: Meha Ahluwalia '20,
Neuroscience: An Unsuitable Punisher
                             WRIT 166 Constitution 3.0: Freedom, Technology and the Law, Lynne Viti (Writing)

Honorable Mention (tie): Audrey Powers '20,
Grief's Journey in Tennyson's In Memoriam
                                       WRIT 105 / ENG 120 Critical Interpretation, Tim Peltason (English)

Honorable Mention (tie): Katherine Hobart '20,
Ode to a Grand Staircase (For Four Hands)
                           WRIT 107 / ARTH 100 Introduction to Art and its Histories, Barbara Lynne-Davis (Art)

Spring 2017

First Place: Kyra Frye '20,
Magic, Myth, and Mystery: The Puzzle of Samuel Anointing Saul
        WRIT 107 / ARTH 100 History and Analysis of Art, Architecture, and Urban Form I, Barbara Lynn-Davis (Art)

Honorable Mention: Anya Sheldon '20,
Handlettering During the Golden Age of the Rock Poster: influences, purpose, and legacy
                             WRIT 115 / ARTS 115 Word and Image Studio, Katherine Ruffin (Library Collections)


Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Social Sciences

Amy Johnson '17
Understanding the Authentic: A critical & empirical analysis of the complexities of authenticity   
                                        SOC 304 Modernity & Social Change, Thomas Cushman (Sociology)

Three Generations Prize for Writing in the Sciences

Maggie Klureza '17  (tie)
Development of a Novel Click Chemistry System for Labeling DNA   
         CHEM 306, Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing - Advances in Chemical Biology, Don Elmore (Chemistry)

Alyssa Li ‘19  (tie)
Characterization of the p.Q189X nonsense mutation in dpy-17 in C. elegans  
                                      BISC 219, Genetics with Labratory, Melissa Beers (Biological Sciences)

Kathryn Wasserman Davis '28 Art Prize

Amelia Alvarez ‘17
The Davis Museum Black-Figure Hydria: An Object Biography  
                ARTH/CLCV 373 Seminar: Antiquities Today, Kimberly Cassibry (Art) & Bryan Burns (Classical Studies)


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 2018 will be announced in early March. 
  • 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 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.