RIT’s College of Liberal Arts honors students for writing excellence

COLA departments select top writing by their students




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A. Sue Weisler

Some of the winners of 2018 writing awards, with RIT College of Liberal Arts Dean James Winebrake (front, left).

Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Liberal Arts honored student achievement in writing on Friday with the presentation of more than a dozen writing awards for essays varying from marijuana use and IQ, Ross Geller’s role in the television show Friends, and xenotransplantation.

 “The winners of today’s awards are exceptional student writers, nurtured and guided by exceptional faculty,” said James Winebrake, dean of RIT’s College of Liberal Arts. “One of our primary goals in the college is to help students refine their writing skills. These awards recognize students who have achieved excellence in this area.”

Faculty committees in each department within the College of Liberal Arts selected student awardees from a variety of disciplines whose work embodies the ideals and standards of excellence, creative endeavor and scholarship.

The awards include the Henry and Mary Kearse Writing Award, created in 1980 thanks to a donation from Henry J. Kearse, founder and president of the construction firm H.J. Kearse Inc., and his wife, Mary, a longtime member of RIT’s Nathaniel Rochester Society.

This year’s Kearse Award recipients are:

  • Tayler Ruggero, a fourth-year criminal justice major from Langhorn, Pa., representing the Department of Criminal Justice, with “Crime and Sexual Assault on College Campuses.”
  • Zachary Grzelka, a fourth-year economics major from Baldwinsville, N.Y., representing the Department of Economics, with “United Airlines 10-K Analysis.”
  • Evan Maloney, a third-year photographic and imaging arts major from Berlin, N.J., representing the Department of English, with “Connection Through Physical Archive.”
  • Benjamin Soules, a fifth-year computer science major from Parker, Colo., representing the Department of History, with “Computer Science Education and Diversity in the 1980’s.”
  • Taryn Brennan, a fourth-year international and global studies and sociology and anthropology double major from Portland, Maine, representing the Department of International and Global Studies, with “Perversion of Childhood: The Nexus Among Sexual Imperialism, Childhood Studies and Security.” She also won, representing the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, with “A Story that Runs Deep: Where Emotion, Memory and Politics Meet.”
  • Jasmine Ruan, a fourth-year new media interactive development major from Brooklin, N.Y., representing the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, with “Mr. Bing’s Cooking Adventure.”
  • Robert McLaughlin, a fifth-year software engineering major from King of Prussia, Pa., representing the Department of Philosophy, with “Housing as a Form of Violence.”
  • Shane Leary, a fourth-year political science major from Canastota, N.Y., representing the Department of Political Science, with “The Benefit of Modernization in Empires.”
  • Erica Carbone, a fourth-year psychology major from Medway, Mass., representing the Department of Psychology, with “Marijuana Use and IQ.”
  • Catherine Osadciw, a third-year software engineering major from Webster, N.Y., representing the Department of Public Policy, with “Policy History, Analysis, and Evaluation of Roe v. Wade.”
  • Amanda Weiss, a fourth-year biotechnology and molecular bioscience major from Commack, N.Y., representing the Department of Science, Technology and Society, with “Xenotransplantation: An Ethical Perspective.”
  • Christine McCullough, a fourth-year digital humanities and social sciences major from Greensburg, Pa., representing the School of Communication, with “The One with all the Misogyny: Ross Geller’s role in Friends.”

McCullough also won the first Mary L. Sullivan Award for her essay, “Defining DH: Intersectionality in the Digital Humanities.” The award was named for Mary Sullivan, who was dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1977 to 1987.

Also, the Stanley McKenzie Endowed Writing Prize for first-year students, funded by and named for RIT’s former provost and member of the English department, was awarded to Ailene Lung, a first-year industrial design major from Hong Kong, whose essay, “Cultivating Authentic Writing Habits and Overcoming Access Barriers,” earned her first place. Second place was awarded to Courtney Popielarz, a fourth-year computer engineering major from Rochester, who wrote, “A Girl’s Journey Through STEM.”