2021-2022 Annual Awards

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Lilacs in bloom in Manhattan, KS ~ early evening, April 2022


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, as it did the past two years, the continuing presence of COVID-19 prevents us once again 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: Ana Schulte, “The Fate of the Fallen: Discrepancies and Consistencies Between Dickens’s Treatment of Fallen Women in Real Life and His Novels, and the Implications” (first place); Kinsley Searles, “Kaw Nation Removal: Land Treaties and Settler Colonialism” (second place)

Chappell Award: Celina Trojnar and Teri Jacques

Conover Award: Joshua Konecke

  • “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. Joshua Konecke exemplifies the qualities represented this award.” (Cameron Leader-Picone, for the selection committee)

Davis Award: Cecilia Pick

  • “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. Cecilia is a highly deserving recipient of this award.” (Cameron Leader-Picone, for the selection committee)

Edwards Scholarship: Peter Loganbill, Liana Martin, and Cecilia Pick

Glenn Scholarship: Achilles Seastrom

Hallam Walker Davis Award: Cassidy Hartig

Johanning Scholarship: Ben Trickey

  • “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. Ben is a very deserving recipient of the Jerome Johanning Scholarship.”  (Cameron Leader-Picone, for the selection committee)

Most Promising Undergraduate Student Award: Abigail Whitney

Expository Writing Most Promising GTA Award: Anne-Sophie Tooley

Expository Writing Exemplary Teaching Award:  Sharidan Kraljic (GTA) and Morgan Shiver (GTA)

Lamb Scholarship: [Announced in June]

Lukens Scholarship: Belaye Turner

Popkins Scholarship: Cecilia Pick and Alainna Romeo

Brewster Rogerson Scholarship: Liberty Belote and Kaleb Goldbeck

Seaton Awards: Liana Martin, Riley O’Mearns, and Ben Trickey

Undergraduate Leadership & Service Award: Evelyn Garcia

Writing Center Excellence Award: Sarah Snyder

  • “The Writing Center staff is honored to present the Writing Center Excellence Award, which recognizes overall excellence in Writing Center work, to Sarah Snyder for her remarkable work tutoring student writers, supporting her colleagues, and filling a leadership role. Nominators noted that ‘Sarah [is] always extremely friendly with each of her clients’ and has an ever-growing ‘interest in knowing more about Writing Center pedagogy.’ One new tutor expressed that Sarah has made them ‘feel welcome and comfortable here at the writing center. I always know that I can reach out to her for help and advice.’ And the whole staff is excited and inspired by Sarah’s ‘leadership in rebuilding our presence in the K-State Instagram media community!'” (Stacia Gray, for the selection committee)


Children’s Literature Graduate Essay Award: Adrien Sdao, “The Body, The Soul, and The Polluting Person in New Queer Children’s Literature”

  • “This essay offers, in the words of one reader, a ‘clear command of the material’ and argues persuasively for its thesis in ‘graceful prose,’ as the author applies Judith Butler’s theories of gender performance to representations of the gender binary in two ‘new queer’ picture books.” (Karin Westman, for the selection committee)

Composition & Rhetoric Research Essay Award: Joey Frasco, “‘Fitter Families’ at Our Firesides: How Eugenics Have Survived to the Contemporary” (winner); Bailey Britton, “Media Discourse about In ́zhúje ́waxóbe: Rhetorical Sovereignty Subverts Settler Colonialism” (honorable mention)

  • “The essay ‘”Fitter Families” at Our Firesides: How Eugenics Have Survived to the Contemporary’ deftly and carefully traces how explicitly eugenicist rhetoric from the 1920s and 1950s surfaces in contemporary medical documents circulating around pregnancy and disability, arguing that in order to truly ‘do no harm,’ medical professionals need to better understand the troubling definitions and histories that echo in pleas for public health. Readers especially appreciated Joey’s depth of historical research, integrative thinking, and close attention to language.” (Abby Knoblauch, for the selection committee)
  • “The only undergraduate entry in the award pool, Bailey’s essay ‘Media Discourse about In ́zhúje ́waxóbe: Rhetorical Sovereignty Subverts Settler Colonialism’ came in a very close second. Readers praised the piece as ambitious, persuasive, and carefully attuned to issues of race, power, and the violent erasure enacted by settler colonialism.” (Abby Knoblauch, for the selection committee)

Cultural Studies Essay Award: Hunter Scott, “Facing Sameness: Reconsidering the Radicality of Tom of Finland” (winner); Mary Hoffman Cook, “Skewing Public Perception, Constructing an Other: The Bush Administration’s Rhetoric in Justifying Abu Ghraib Torture” (honorable mention); Jefferson Storms, “Biblical Justice? Contesting ‘Social Justice’ in American Evangelicalism” (honorable mention)

  • “Scott’s ‘super smart,’ ‘socially and politically engaged,’ ‘beautifully written’ essay presents ‘fabulous close readings’ that ‘challenge . . . the imbricated relationships of homonormativity, whiteness, and art. By carefully rereading the politics of aesthetics in Tom of Finland’s work as well as in the attendant critical responses to that work, this piece makes space for queer utopias to be imagined.’ It offers ‘a real contribution to contemporary cultural studies.'” (Tom Sarmiento, for the selection committee)
  • “Cook’s essay warrants Honorable Mention for its ‘impressive’ research scope and analysis of ‘the Bush Administration’s rhetorical response to the abuses at Abu Ghraib, looking at the ways the administration misrepresented and dismissed the events and subsequent allegations of abuse in their official responses.’ Such scholarship highlights cultural studies’ central investments in ideological critique and ethical responsibility.” (Tom Sarmiento, for the selection committee)
  • “Storms’s essay also warrants Honorable Mention for its ‘smart, important, original’ discursive media analysis of ‘how evangelical Christians re-code and de-code social justice to oppose it.’ It ‘addresses an important topic in contemporary cultural and political debates within U.S. [s]ociety.’ Readers ‘felt engaged and interested . . . from start to finish’ and ‘learned’ from its ‘[cogent] . . . assertions.'” (Tom Sarmiento, for the selection committee)

Expository Writing Program Essay Award: Sakura Kurosu, “Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism” (first place, written for Anne-Sophie Tooley’s ENGL 100 class, Fall 2021); Connor Aggson, “The Desire for a Single Story in an Interconnected World” (second place, written for Phillip Marzluf’s ENGL 100 class, Fall 2021)

Gordon Parks Essay Award: Bailey Britton, “Media Discourse about In’ zhúje’ waxóbe: Rhetorical Sovereignty Subvert Settler Colonialism.”

Graduate Creative Writing Award: Fiction: Jorden Schoenhofer, “Mirrored Mirage” (first place); Spencer Young, “The Heart” (second place)

  • “Mirrored Mirage”: “From its haunting prayer of a beginning, this excerpt had the effect of a dream becoming a nightmare. The way the author hides sinister elements in the innocuous (what could be more harmless than describing a dream?) creates an encroaching horror as the narrator confronts what her mother has done and become. From the unsettling squelch of clay, to the wall splattered with a color that does not match the narrator’s red paints, to the once-loyal friend who runs screaming from the bloody scene, this excerpt is full of moments that chill the soul.” (External judge’s comments)
  • “The Heart”: “This story left me more aware of my own beating heart than when I started. The surgery scene in particular was hard to, and hard to stop, reading. Electric in its descriptions, with a great instinct for details that will resonate long after reading, this is a memorable story (and a memorable use of Shania Twain lyrics).” (External judge’s comments)

Graduate Creative Writing Award: Non-Fiction: Tolu Daniel, “After the Arrest” (first place); Liana Martin “Wing-Clipped Bird” (second place)

  • “After the Arrest”: “‘After the Arrest’ transcends a moment, transcends the fear of being pulled over by a police officer as a person of color in this country. It transcends the issue of power and powerlessness, transcends the easy sound bites of political pundits about race. ‘After the Arrest’ interrogates this country’s contentious history with immigrants and race and the lie it keeps telling itself about what it means to be an American. There is so much being echoed in this essay—fear, belonging, and a violent history we can never shed, a history that is ever present, a history of abuse and power and inequality.” (External judge’s comments)
  • “Wing-clipped Bird”: “‘Wing-clipped Bird’ does the things wonderfully fragmented pieces do: it allows beautiful leaps of the lyric; it resists consistency; it relies on the world of the individual section, to build, to juxtapose; it draws heavily from the personal and the researched. ‘Wing-clipped Bird’ is more than an essay about dance or a body that prevents. Pain, in a lovely and strange way, is center stage here, and what readers witness is a type of performance that breaks that heart.” (External judge’s comments)

Graduate Creative Writing Award: Poetry: Riley O’Mearns, “It Pumps Mad Honey” (first place); Spencer Young, “Bohemian Wonder Boy” (second place)

  • “It Pumps Mad Honey”: “‘It Pumps Mad Honey’ struck me immediately for its music, muscle and restraint and—throughout my reading—I found myself drawn to the way it makes a body of the landscape and a landscape of the body. Crawling down the space of the page like mountain laurel over a red clay hill, the poem ends in a kind of incantation that had me returning immediately to the beginning to read it again and again.” (External judge’s comments)
  • “Bohemian Wonder Boy”: “‘Bohemian Wonder Boy’ reclaims and old story to make it new again, and resurrects a loaded symbolic figure as someone specific, surprising, and intimately known. The poem’s strong narrative and inviting voice disguises an exacting relationship to sound, and the vision of devotion it conjures is as beautiful and consequential as any scripture.” (External judge’s comments)

Graduate Critical Essay Award: Anne-Sophie Tooley, “Doubt, Death, and the Afterlife: The Influence of Ecclesiastes on Hamlet” (winner); Natalie Liptak, “‘She is always dangerous’: Rosa Dartle and the Perils of Passion in Dickens’s David Copperfield” (honorable mention); Spencer Young, “(Trans*)gressive Knowledge: Reading Transitivity in Matthew Lewis’s The Monk” (honorable mention)

  • “Doubt, Death, and the Afterlife: The Influence of Ecclesiastes on Hamlet“: “Beautifully written and carefully contextualized, Tooley’s essay traces Shakespeare’s unorthodox approach to Ecclesiastes in Hamlet. Tooley presents impressive, critically conscious research to make a strong case for interpreting the play as a “biblical” rather than a revenge tragedy.” (Shirley Tung, for the selection committee)
  • “‘She is always dangerous’: Rosa Dartle and the Perils of Passion in Dickens’s David Copperfield“: “Liptak’s essay provides a compelling intervention about Rosa Dartle as a foil to David’s ‘undisciplined heart’ in David Copperfield, deftly using primary and contextual sources to support its claims.” (Shirley Tung, for the selection committee)
  • “(Trans*)gressive Knowledge: Reading Transitivity in Matthew Lewis’s The Monk“: “Using a fine, fluid writing style coupled with clear critical framework and attentive close readings, Young’s essay offers a convincing and inventive interpretation of The Monk as a trans* text.” (Shirley Tung, for the selection committee)

Professional Writing Award: [no award for 2021-2022]

Technical and Scientific Writing Awards: Stephanie Ma, “Feasibility study of using phytotechnology to remediate the lead-contaminated soils of the Caney Residential Yards superfund site” (first place); Drew Pearcy, “Implementing In-House Biofuel Synthesis at Amazon: a Feasibility Study” (second place).

Touchstone Awards: Tyson Doll, “On the Settling of Dust” (first place, fiction) and Taylor Jamison, “A Certain Kind of Stranger” (second place, fiction); Khloe Kuckelman, “Isn’t That Something?, Feeding the Clock, Control Envies Freedom, Youth That Seeped, Blue Gas Giant, Mayfly, Tucked in With Lace” (first place, creative nonfiction) and Raelynn Slipke, “A Housewife’s Everlasting Tale” (second place, creative nonfiction); Thai Lopez, “Your Mother Never Taught You Spanish” (first place, poetry) and Rebekah Hutchinson, “Commuting” (second place, poetry)

Graduate Student Service Award: Molly James

  • “This year’s winner is known for her wide-ranging contributions in service to the department: her contributions to creative writing, as she revived the department-sponsored student organization CreWE (Creative Writing Enthusiasts) following the pandemic and secured university resources for visiting writers; her assistance to the Expository Writing Program and to the Writing Center; her contributions to the All-University Open House; and her help with a number of tasks for the department’s main office. In the words of one faculty nominator, ‘she’s impressed me with her clarity of thought and professionalism,’ and she is ‘a fantastic leader’: ‘dependable, communicative, and organized.’ Our thanks and congratulations to Molly James!” (Karin Westman, for the faculty)

SAGE Graduate Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching: Traci Brimhall

SAGE Graduate Faculty Award for Distinguished Service: Karin Westman

Excellence Award for Term Instructor: Maia Carlson. Read the announcement.

English Dept Award: Excellence in Advising: [no award for 2021-2022]

English Dept Award: Excellence in Teaching: Tom Sarmiento. Read the announcement.

Donnelly Faculty Award: Lisa Tatonetti. 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

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