2020-2021 Annual Awards


Irises in bloom in Manhattan, KS ~ early evening, 1 May 2021

This first weekend in May would usually find us at the Alumni Center for dinner, conversation, and celebration.

We always look forward to recognizing our award winners at our Annual Awards Banquet. However, like last year, the continuing presence of Covid-19 and the university’s restrictions on events prevent us from holding our annual banquet.

We miss the opportunity to present in person the awards below, with the applause and cheers of faculty, students, family, and friends. However, we offer here instead some virtual recognition, with a certificate and details about the award arriving to the recipients in the days ahead.

(Information about the student awards below is available from our department’s web site.)

Brink Memorial Essay Award: Lindsey Bergner, “Agricultural Practices in African Literature” (first place); Katie Painter, “Nabokov’s Parody of the Sexual Awakening” (second place)

Chappell Award: Evren Celik and Meghan Luttrell

Conover Award: Spencer Young

  • “As the graduate award with the longest history in our department, the Conover recognizes superior academic performance, fine teaching, and real distinction as a graduate student. Spencer Young exemplifies the qualities represented this award. Notable for their critical acumen,  professionalism, and dedication, Spencer is, in the words of faculty, ‘a brilliant student’ who exhibits ‘great intellectual curiosity’ — and all while serving as ‘a smart, supportive peer’ to their classmates and colleagues.” (Anne Longmuir, for the selection committee)

Davis Award: Caitlin Radonich

  • “Earle Davis is one of the most famous members in the history of the K-State English Department. He was a longtime Head of the Department, the author of several books, and an excellent scholar of Victorian literature. This scholarship honors his memory and his example.  A gifted thinker, writer, and researcher, Caitlin Radonich approaches her studies with rigour and intelligence, making her — in the words one faculty member — ‘one of the most remarkable students’ they have had the pleasure of teaching. Caitlin is an exceptionally deserving recipient of this award.” (Anne Longmuir, for the selection committee)

Edwards Scholarship: Tolu Ojuola and Caitlin Radonich

Glenn Scholarship: Sariah Cheadle

Hallam Walker Davis Award: Bailey Britton

Johanning Scholarship: Hunter Scott

  • “The Jerome Johanning Memorial Scholarship is given in honor of Jerome Johanning, who was a graduate teaching assistant in our department from 1983-1985. To reflect Jerome’s love of teaching and writing, the scholarship is awarded to an outstanding graduate teaching assistant in the Department of English. The recipient is selected based upon academic performance, student evaluations, and a self-evaluation. Regularly described as ‘outstanding’ by faculty, Hunter Scott’s teaching is notable for its professionalism, creativity, and ability to foster an interactive learning community, even during a global pandemic. He is a very worthy recipient of the Jerome Johanning Scholarship.”  (Anne Longmuir, for the selection committee)

Most Promising Undergraduate Student Award: Aidia Kite

Expository Writing Most Promising GTA Award: Sharidan Kraljic

Expository Writing Exemplary Teaching Award:  Monica Kopenhaver (GTA), Alyssa Freeman-Moser (GTA), and Ryan Ellis (term instructor)

Lamb Scholarship: [not awarded in Spring of odd years]

Lukens Scholarship: Taylor Bauman and Abel Garcia

Popkins Scholarship: Benjamin Kirchner and Molly James

Brewster Rogerson Scholarship: Meredith Comas

Seaton Awards: Tolu Ojuola and Spencer Young

Undergraduate Leadership & Service Award: Drew Davis

Writing Center Excellence Award: Mawi Sonna

  • “Mawi’s remarkable work tutoring student writers and mentoring her colleagues earned her this year’s award which recognizes overall excellence in Writing Center work.  About her tutoring, nominators expressed that ‘her helpful demeanor is inviting to students and encourages them to feel at ease in the process.’ Mawi was also recognized as a mentor to her colleagues: ‘She is also willing to aid other tutors and offer advice to help the Writing Center as a whole grow and develop together.’ Another nominator expressed: ‘I would like to nominate Mawi for the Writing Center Excellence Award because I think she is an amazing tutor who genuinely cares for each writer she interacts with. In every session I’ve had with her she goes above and beyond to give me feedback and make sure that I feel confident in myself as a writer.'” (Stacia Gray, for the selection committee)

Children’s Literature Graduate Essay Award: Katherine Dubke, “”The Music and the Call Must Be for Us’: Wanderlust in The Wind in the Willows”

  • “Beautifully constructed and carefully contextualized (in German Romanticism, British philosophy, Grahame’s other writings), the essay makes an original contribution to the extensive critical conversation on Kenneth Grahame’s classic, arguing that wanderlust ‘permeates the pages as a type of longing rooted in pain, serving as a catalyst for change,’ while offering attentive and nuanced readings of Mole’s, Rat’s, and Toad’s experiences with wanderlust.” (Phil Nel, for the selection committee)

Composition & Rhetoric Research Essay Award: Amy Levin Plattner, “‘Interfacing’ the Writing Center: The Need For Equitable Visual Rhetoric for L1 and L2 Users of WCOnline”

  • “Because of its attention to power and inclusiveness, as well as its interdisciplinarity and methodology, this study of writing center tutoring sessions represents the breadth and goals of the Composition, Rhetoric, and Literature Track. Noteworthy for its originality and creativity, this project stood out, according to one reader, as one of the strongest examples of writing center research that our K-State students have produced. Indeed, it is the kind of study that could trigger future research in a similar vein.” (Kara Northway, for the selection committee)

Cultural Studies Essay Award: Hunter Scott, “The Treachery of Concealment: Metaphors of Syphilis in Jane Eyre

  • “One committee member described Hunter Scott’s essay as ‘a smart, intersectional, de-colonial reading of the racialization, gendering, and sexualization of disease/contagion and Otherness in Jane Eyre.’ And indeed, the essay uses syphilis as an entry point for considering racialization and the decline of British empire. In doing so, it offers a rigorous and well-written analysis of the novel.” (Cameron Leader-Picone, for the selection committee)

Expository Writing Program Essay Award: Yusuf Ciftci, ““Healthcare Equity and Social Justice” (first place, written for Caitlin Hymans’s ENGL 200 class); Sheldon Wilson, “Wealth Determines Health” (second place, written for Taylee Russell’s ENGL 100 class)

Graduate Creative Writing Award: Fiction: Alyssa Freeman-Moser, “Mobile Homes Drive”(first place);  Adrianna Gordey, “Don’t Call the Wolf from the Woods” (second place)

  • “‘Mobile Homes Drive’ is a story about a community—and I so admire the writer’s capacity to capture the characters that make up that community concisely and deftly, with precision and wit. […] Details of description stick with the reader—that stubby library pencil that offers Nessa a lifeline, the closet full of impractical boots—but the heart of this story does, too: community matters, and keeping a neighborhood together is a fight worth fighting. That this consideration of community preservation is tied into a commentary on the socioeconomics of the New South and the working poor is an ambitious project, but the author manages to weave these strings together with originality and style.” (External judge’s comments)
  • “Don’t Call the Wolf from the Woods”: “I was riveted by the plot of this one!” (External judge’s comments)

Graduate Creative Writing Award: Non-Fiction: Laura Ward, “Dungeon, Dragon, Sonnet, Soul” (first place); Winniebell Zong, “For Twenty-One Years, I Thought I Was a Single Child” (second place)

  • “Dungeon, Dragon, Sonnet, Soul”: “As much as the narrative, I found the reflections and connections made in the essay compelling.” (External judge’s comments)
  • “For Twenty-One Years, I Thought I Was a Single Child”: “wonderfully engrossing.” (External judge’s comments)

Graduate Creative Writing Award: Poetry: Adrianna Gordey, “‘Upon a Time I Loved’ and Other Poems” (first place); Spencer Young, “‘Packing for a Road Trip’ & Other Poems” (second place)

  • “‘Upon a Time I Loved’ and Other Poems”: “These poems are marked with quirky language and outlook such as ‘A Love Poem Disguised as Target TV Stand Instructions.’ Let’s call it a neo-neo-confessional poem. Others try varying forms, borrowed or invented. Most important, from every angle these poems use humor. You can find it in tone, subject, and even craft. An enlivened set of poems.” (External judge’s comments)

Graduate Critical Essay Award: Caitlin Radonich, “‘Sōðne Ġelēafan’: JudithBeowulf, and the Audience of the Nowell Codex”

  • “Beautifully structured and written, Radonich’s essay traces allusions to true belief throughout the account of the Old English Judith. The nuance and heft of the essay’s research makes a strong case for reading the poem as a deliberate answer to the fatalistic world view of Beowulf, its more famous companion in the Nowell Codex.” (Wendy Matlock, for the selection committee)

Professional Writing Award: Matthew Swords, “The Uses and Benefits of Microsoft Teams Across Institutions” (first place); Kensley Fleischer, “A Proposal to Introduce Teamwork Project Management System to JNT Company” (second place)

Technical and Scientific Writing Awards: Dugan Hult, “Analysis of Single-Cell Isolation Techniques” (first place); Stacia Satzler, “Outdoor Lighting and the Effects of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN)” (second place)

Touchstone Awards: Sarah Troub, “Empty Nest, Rule #1” (first place, fiction) and Mary Winzer, “Imposter Syndrome” (second place, fiction); Natassja Norwood, “How to Prepare…” (first place, creative nonfiction) and Ellie Pirog, “Upper Body Workout” (second place, creative nonfiction); Jullian Dunlay, “A Thing Lost” (first place, poetry) and Aubrey Painter, “Snow Sunsets” (second place, poetry)

Graduate Student Service Award: Mawi Sonna

  • “This year’s winner is known for her wide-ranging contributions in service to the department: her award-winning teaching; her contributions to creative writing (the Young Writers’ Workshop, Touchstone), the Student Association of Graduates in English (SAGE), and the department’s Diversity Committee; and for leading with, in the words of one faculty nominator, ‘kindness, compassion, and grace.’ Our thanks and congratulations to Mawi Sonna!” (Karin Westman, for the faculty)

SAGE Graduate Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching: Lisa Tatonetti

SAGE Graduate Faculty Award for Distinguished Service: Shirley Tung

Excellence Award for Term Instructor: [no award for 2020-2021]

English Dept Award: Excellence in Advising: Michele Janette. Read the announcement.

English Dept Award: Excellence in Teaching: Lisa Tatonetti. Read the announcement.

Donnelly Faculty Award: Anne Longmuir. Read the announcement.

Our thanks to the faculty who assisted with selecting our awards, to our main office staff who helped assemble the certificates, and to the faculty and graduate students who contributed recognition for the award winners — and to all of the students and their families and friends who can celebrate their success!

Karin Westman, Department Head

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s