May 3, 2023
Awards, Undergraduate

Sanderson Prize

Grace Ziegel’s essay on the contradictions and blockages that characterize colonialism, “The Horror: On Recognition, Semantics, and Sublime Land” (PDF), launches itself into heady territory right from its opening claim: “It is in the unyielding and oftentimes sublime geography of colonized space that colonialism inevitably fails itself." This initial insight is demonstrated with subtlety and surety in readings of Ridley Scott’s film The Martian and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which, despite their differences, help Ziegel chart out spaces, imagined and otherwise, that reveal colonialism’s emptiness to itself. The judges were impressed by this entry’s intellectual ambitions and its style, in addition to its ethical commitments. A worthy recipient of the Sanderson Prize.

Steinbugler Prize

Cailyn Koperniak's paper "Manifestations of Trauma in James Joyce’s 'Eveline'” (PDF) smartly blends contemporary critical frameworks with old school close reading. In it, Koperniak reads "Eveline" as a character marked by PTSD, a condition she sees as intersecting with larger cultural traumas that plagued Joyce's Ireland. Throughout her piece Koperniak dives into the story's language, images, and syntax, extracting meaning from each and pressing them into service for her argument. She also deploys secondary sources to support her claims, her impressive bibliography testifying to her deep dive into the topic. The judges were impressed (and even envious) of her confident prose and strong voice. Well done!

Charles A. Peters Prize

Tara Conneely: In a close reading of Sir Gawain and The Fairie Queene, titled “Heroes and the Influence of Environment” (PDF), Tara Conneely explores how poetry enacts different forms of “world-building,” paying special attention to the elastic notion of “environment.” The judges admired how Tara connected her critical analysis to her own process of world-building when first arriving at UMass Amherst.

Class of 1940 Creative Writing Competition


Dylan Girouard: “hay fever,” “syrup sandwiches,” “pear with anise”

Diana Li: “Tonight,” “Sonnet: Two Loves in Modesty, VT”


Sophia Apteker, “January”

Diana Li: “My Eyes, Your Mouth, Our Hands”

W. Scott Jeffery Award: Kylie Bane and Sydney Burke

Phyllis Weidig Prize: Haley Aponte and Samantha Gallant

John & Donna Farrelly Scholarship: Mia Lipman-Tessicini

Cleo Zoukis Ploussious Scholarship: Victoria Hodgdon

Frank Prentice Rand Scholarship: Diamond Smith and Jackie Lutz

General John A. and Evangeline W. Maginnis Scholarship: Samantha Meagher and Victoria Crockett

Mary McGarry Morris and Margaret McGarry Chiriaco Scholarship: Tori Hanks

Mason and Susan Lowance Award: Kylie Bane

Celeste M. and John F. Loughman Scholarship: Michael (Thompson) Duff

English Opportunity Scholarships: Lara Stecewycz, Tyler Nguyen, Matthew Tomlinson, Dylan Girouard, Keaira Ecklof, Rosemary Fontaine, Caroline Tiernan, Danielle Marroco, Margaret Gyorgy, and Charlotte Ribe

Fulbright Recipients: Tiffany Huynh and Anna Shahbazyan

Five College Poetry & Prose Prize:

Poetry: Liam Perry

Prose: Livvy Krakower

Student Speaker: Samantha Gallant