Why the Prize was Created
The Dean James E. McLeod Freshman Writing Prize was created to encourage freshmen in the College of Arts & Sciences to begin engaging in research in the early stages of their undergraduate careers; to understand that scholarship is a creative form of expression that can reach others in real and meaningful ways; and most importantly, by fully participating in the process of research and writing, to see themselves as scholars in the making.
Dean McLeod was a great supporter of intellectual engagement and the transformation that can occur when students immerse themselves in the study of subjects they passionately care about. He also understood the power of individual mentorship and teaching.
The Dean James E. McLeod Freshman Writing Prize provides first-year students and their teachers a framework within which to work together to produce significant and meaningful pieces of writing for possible publication. It gives freshmen their first taste of writing for a broader audience and introduces them to research as a significant, valued, and valuable part of the undergraduate experience.
The long term goal of this prize is to encourage students to seek further opportunities to cultivate their intellectual interests by producing creative and innovative scholarship; to develop ideas they are passionate about into meaningful projects extending beyond the classroom; and to induce them to consider the power of entering larger public discourses by engaging in serious, well thought-out research.
An original research paper (10-12 pages of text) that explores some aspect of race, gender and/or identity. The paper may derive from any discipline provided that it is written in English and was created for a freshman seminar or course taken during the first year, taught by a Washington University instructor. Papers can be nominated through self-nomination or by instructors. Only one paper may be submitted per student.
There will be two submission dates – one in the fall and one in the spring. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a special ceremony of recognition in the fall (September) of the sophomore year. Each winner will receive a framed certificate of award, $250, and the possibility of publishing his or her work.