Awards, Contests, and Scholarships

The Department of English supports a range of annual awards and writing contests that recognize students for outstanding creative achievements. It also offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students each year.

Awards and Contests

The Creative Writing Program and the Aetna Chair of Writing in the Department of English sponsor the following awards and contests each year. Most of these opportunities are open to students at the undergraduate and graduate level on all UConn campuses. Applicants may submit the same work to different contests but they cannot relabel the genre. (For example, work entered as “Fiction” in one contest may not be entered elsewhere as “Nonfiction.”)

Please review the award and contest descriptions below for instructions on how to apply for the 2022-2023 academic year. Deadlines are strict. No late submissions will be considered.

Creative Writing Awards

How to Apply

Please download this Cover Sheet. Follow all submission guidelines for the Creative Writing Awards. In addition, please review eligibility and additional guidelines for each award. Submit all packets as Microsoft Word documents to

Application Deadline: November 1

Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Project

Prize: Winners receive a $50 cash honorarium and are published in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, Controlled Burn, Quarterly West, Tampa Review, Willow Springs, or Artful Dodge.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

This is a national literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in the programs of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP). As a member program, the University of Connecticut is eligible to nominate one work of nonfiction, one work of short fiction, and three poems.

Work submitted should be unpublished. Students may submit up to one essay, one work of fiction, and three poems. Prose should be double-spaced, poetry single-spaced. Excerpts from novels are acceptable. No submission should exceed twenty-five pages.




Application Deadline: December 16

Aetna Children’s Literature Award

Prize: $250

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Please indicate whether you are submitting a manuscript for a picture book, a sample of children’s poetry or drama, or an excerpt from a middle-grade chapter book or a young adult novel. Limit of 3,000 words.

Past Recipients

Rylee Thomas for “Ghostly Dynasty”

Kate Luongo, for “Sophie Spiraling”

Kelly Rafferty

Madeline Eller, “Origami Girl” 

Aetna Creative Nonfiction Awards

Prize: $250

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Submit one unpublished creative nonfiction work of up to 6,000 words.

Past Recipients

Nicole Catarino for “Glove Compartment Secrets”
Honorable Mention: Kazi Begum

Undergraduate: Maureen Mason, for “Under the Birch Tree”
Graduate: Michael James Hegarty, for "Song of the North”
Honorable Mention: Rachel Bernard, for "Blue Fire";
Honorable Mention: Whitney Hanna, for "Independence Day"

Undergraduate: Aner Bajraktarevic
Graduate: Quinn Molloy

Undergraduate Co-Winners: Andrew Kucharski, “Breathe/Oddychać”; and Natiel Cooper, “Transcript of an N-Bomb Survivor.”
Graduate: Sophia Buckner, “The Mother Teacher.”
Honorable Mention: Jeanne Bonner, “Long Day’s Journey into My Life”
Honorable Mention: Maurice Rodriguez, “Son of Hope”

Aetna Translation Award

Prize: $250. Winner’s work will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students at all UConn campuses.

Students may submit one poem or an excerpt from a longer prose piece (maximum 1,500 words) translated into English, along with the original language version.

Past Recipients

Aarushi Nohria for “A bird on my palm”

Aarushi Nohria, for “A Strange Tale”
Honorable Mention: Katarzyna Paszek, for "Writer's Block"

Ain Jeong

Xin Xu, “Night Opera in Jinshan” 

Edward R. and Frances Schreiber Collins Literary Awards

Prize: Cash prize amount varies annually. Winning works will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Awarded in memory of Edward R. and Frances Schreiber Collins for the best undergraduate literary works in poetry and prose. For prose submissions: please submit one short story or essay or creative nonfiction essay of up to 6,000 words. For poetry submissions: please submit up to three poems per submission. Students can submit multiple times under separate submissions. 

Past Recipients

Prose: Tess Healy, for “Free Man”
Poetry: Alexandra Houdeshell, for “A Recipe”

Jennie Hackman Memorial Prize

Prize: $1,000 (first); $300 (second); $200 (third); winning stories will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

This prize is awarded in memory of Jacob and Jennie Hackman for the best works of undergraduate short fiction. Up to three cash prizes are awarded each year.

The submission should consist of a Word document up to 6,000 words.

Past Recipients

First place: Allison Determan, for “Manhunt”
Second Place: Ellen Fuller, for “Touching Empathy”
Third Place: Tess Healy, for “Free Man”
Honorable Mention: Matt Wes Nilsen, for “Life Insurance”

Long River Review Graduate Writing Award

Prize: $250. The winning work will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate students at all UConn campuses

Entrants may submit prose pieces of up to 2,500 words, or 1-3 poems for poetry.

Past Recipients

Kathryn Warrender-Hill, for "Yes, Another Pandemic Story: A Meditation on Sanity"

Maurice Rodriguez

Sophia Buckner, “A Third Place” (Collection of Poems) 

Edwin Way Teale Awards for Nature Writing

Prize: $100

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

The Edwin Way Teale Awards are intended to reward essayists who explore the relationships of human beings to the natural world. One undergraduate winner and one graduate winner will be chosen. Applicants should submit one unpublished creative nonfiction work.

Past Recipients

Rose Datum, for “The Saltmarsh"

Application Deadline: N/A

Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize – This contest is on hold for academic year 2022-2023.

Prize: $1,000 (first); $500 (second); $250 (third); Prize winners read from their work at the annual program, and winning poems will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses; no previous first place winners may apply for a second year.

Each year since 1964, a prominent poet has been invited to give a reading at the University of Connecticut as part of the Wallace Stevens Poetry Program. A student poetry contest is held in conjunction with that program.

Students must submit 5-8 pages of poems (cleanly typed, only one poem per page). This can be up to eight short poems, or several longer pieces.

Application Deadline: February 6

Gloriana Gill Awards For Drawing and Cartooning, and for Photography

Prize: Varies annually.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Two awards are given in memory of artist Gloriana Gill for 1) the best work of drawing or cartooning, and 2) the best work of photography (with preference given to black-and-white) appearing in the Long River Review. Entrants may submit multiple pieces to each prize.

Long River Review Art Award

Prize: $250. The winning work will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

This cash prize is awarded for the best piece of artwork to appear in the Long River Review. Entrants may submit multiple pieces.

Critical Writing and Teaching Awards

Application Deadline: February 1

Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Award

Prize: $250. Winner’s work will also be published in the Long River Review, pending permission from the original author.
Eligibility: Undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

The Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Awards recognize exemplary academic writing by undergraduate students across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools. For more information and to apply for this award, please visit the Writing Center’s website.

Past Recipients

Molly McGuigan, “History in Literary Works: Toni Morrison, Tommy Orange, and Gwendolyn Brooks”
Professor: Martha Cutter, English

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anusha Attre, “The U.S. Vaccination Crisis, Post-Wakefield 1998: A Recent History of Vaccine Mistrust”
    Professor: Marc Reyes, History
  • Daniela Flores-Soto, “The Visit”: A Critique to the Swiss Neutrality during the Second World War
    Professor: Danique Hofstede, Literature, Cultures and Languages
  • Stefan Marczuk,“Marxism and its Application to Black Self-Determination”
    Professor: Jane Gordon, Political Science

Social Sciences
Co-Winners: Chelsea Erem, “Risk of Suicide in Patients Diagnosed with DSM-IV Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders”
Professor: Ngozi Adaralegbe, Allied Health Sciences; and SeSe Nguyen, “Increasing Gender Equality in Corporate Leadership and its Effect on the Environmental Footprint of the Oil and Gas Industry”
Professor: Metin Cosgel, Economics

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jaydel Hernandez, “Parental Well Being and Parenting Styles: Understanding the Impact of Caregivers on Children with Developmental Disabilities”
    Professor: Huda Akef, Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Bo Wicklund, “The Effects of Physical Activity and Social Relationships on Stress Levels in College Students”
    Professor: Steven Mellor, Psychological Sciences

Science and Engineering
Collin Grottke, “The Interplay of Vascular and Skeletal Muscle Function in Obesity”
Professor: Robert Huggins, Kinesiology

Honorable Mentions:

  • Molly Csere, “Casirivimab and Imdevimab for COVID-19: Results Weakly Positive, Needs More Evidence”PHRX4001W: Current Topics in Pharmacy”
    Professor: Adrian Hernandez-Diaz, Pharmacy Practice
  • Avin Sapowadiat, “Lubricin Delivery System via Biomimetic Nano-Matrix for Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration”
    Professors: Charles Giardina (Molecular and Cell Biology) & Yupeng Chen (Biomedical Engineering)

Elizabeth Doemland, “Land & Terror: A Manifestly American Identity.”
Professor:  Gregory Doukas, Political Science

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jessica Gallagher, The Stigmatized Character: How Scholars Have Responded to Criticism of “The Catcher in the Rye.”  Professor: Emily Cormier, English
  • Ashley Kane, “Crazy Rich Asians as a Cultural Movement.” Professor: Ruth Yuste-Alonso, Literatures, Cultures and Languages and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Lucie Turkel, “Race’s Role in Rap: How to be Authentically White in the Black World of Hip Hop.” Professor:  Jeffrey Ogbar, History

Social Sciences
Isabella Otoka, “Panic Disorder and Parent Child Communication.” Professor: Edna Brown, Human Development and Family Sciences

Honorable Mentions:

  • Shanelle Jones, “Sexual Violence among First Nations in the USA: Boarding School Rape, Sexual Exploitation, and Child Trafficking.” Professor: Francoise Dussart, Anthropology
  • Joyce Nieh, “The Effects of Hippocampal Damage on Spatial Memory in Water Maze and Fear Conditioning in Rats.” Professor: Etan Markus, Psychological Sciences
  • Nikaash Pasnoori, “Learning to Love my Indian-ness.” Professor: Noga Shemer, Anthropology

Science and Engineering
Co-Winners: Sophia Arruda, “Applications of the Evolutionary Mismatch Hypothesis to Anxiety Disorders”.
Professor: Daniel Bolnick, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Rebha Raviraj, “The Potential Benefits of Marine Chemical Defense on Humankind.”
Professor: Craig Tobias, Marine Sciences

Honorable Mentions:

  • Marisa Karasik, “Convergent evolution of complex cognition in parrots, corvids, and primates.” Professor: Bernard Goffinet, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Emily Kasmar-LaForest, “An Evaluation of the Safety and Effectiveness of Medication-Assisted Therapy with Buprenorphine and Methadone for Mothers with Opioid Use Disorder and their Infants: A Literature Review.” Professor: Deborah Chyun, Nursing
  • Alexandra Porczak, “Wrapped up in DNA: does epigenetics explain the expression of genes related to Autism Spectrum Disorder?” Professor: Sarah Knutie, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Avin Sapowadia, “Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine?” Professor:  Yupeng Chen, Biomedical Engineering

Co-Winners: Rebecca Maher.  "On Such a Full 'C'"
Instructor: Clare Eby, English; and Brianna Dyer, "Genocide in Xinjiang."
Instructor: Jack Barry, Global Training & Development Institute

Honorable Mentions:

  • Laurane Fumex.  "Louis Althusser through a Totalitarian Lens.”  Instructor: Charles Venator-Santiago, Political Science
  • Kanika Malani.  "Removal of Children from Their Families and Homes in India as a Result of Child Labor."   Instructor: Francoise Dussart, Anthropology
  • Kayla Simon.  "Ophelia, I Want a Bigger Boat: Analyzing the Importance of Jordan Peele's Us in Contemporary America.  "Instructor: Kathy Knapp, English

Social Sciences
Frederick Augur. "Six Years to Life: The Impact of Term Length on Judicial Independence." Instructors: Virginia Hettinger and Jennifer Sterling-Folker, Political Science

Honorable Mentions:

  • Julie Brisson.  "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as Burnout Prevention for Therapists: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Instructor: Samantha Lawrence, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Lindsay de Brito.  "The Proof is in the Partisanship: How Race Demonstrates Gerrymandering."  Instructor: Jeffrey Ladewig, Political Science
  • Simone Fournier.  "Death Anxiety and End of Life Care in Older Adults." Instructor: Edna Brown, Human Development & Family Studies

Sciences and Engineering
Co-Winners: Brandon Smith. "Habitat preference of Asian shore crabs (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) in relation to rock size and location within the rocky intertidal zone."
Instructor: Morgan Tingley, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; and Michael Taylor, "Trophic Cascades: The Dynamics of the Web of Life in a Changing World."
Instructor: Dr. Carlos Garcia-Robledo, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Honorable Mentions:

  • Stephanie Bleasdale. "Modern Society and Sleep: The Blue Light Warning.”  Instructor: Dr. Colleen Spurling, Molecular & Cell Biology
  • William Duffey.  "Critical Micellar Concentration and Formation in Soap and its Effects on Conductivity of Water. "Instructor: KarenAnn Caldwell, Chemistry
  • Ashley Roy. "Connecticut Conservationist.  "Instructor: Gabriel Morrison, English

Brianna McNish, “(Re-)Embodying Illegitimacy, Motherhood, and Cyborg Fictions in Antebellum Myth" (Professor Bhakti Shringapure, English).

Honorable Mentions:

  • Megan O’Connor, “Writing with a Pulse: Teaching for Radical Vulnerability” (Professor: Jason Courtmanche, English).
  • Luke Anderson, “Ascribing the Value of a Child: Broader Implications of Family Separation Policies and the Alienation of Rights at the U.S.-Mexico Border” (Professor: Francoise Dussart, Anthropology)

Social Sciences
Co-Winners: Anneliese Lapides, “Prenatal Health Care Inequities and Adverse Birth Outcomes for African American Women”
Professor: Keith Bellizzi, Human Development and Family Development Studies); and Evan Metzner, “Unfare Transit Systems: A Comparative Analysis of the Farebox Recovery Ratio of New York City and its International Peers”
Professor: Derek Johnson, Economics

Honorable Mention: Emily O’Hara, “Oversimplified: The 1968 Ford Dagenham Strike Interpreted by the Modern Feminist” Professor: Michael Berlin, Political Science, Education Abroad, Birkbeck College London

Sciences and Engineering
Co-Winners: Taylore Grunert, “A Review of Temperate Forest Phenology Under Climate Change”
Professor: Carlos Garcia-Robledo, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Sophie Lacombe, “Dynamic Thermoregulation of Eusocial Bee Colonies and the Impact of Climate Change”
Professor: Chris Elphick, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology).

Honorable Mention: Caitlyn Splaine, “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Women of Reproductive Age”
Professor: Steven Zinn, Animal Science

Application Deadline: May 7

Aetna First-Year Writing Award

Prize: Winners receive a cash prize and are recognized at the annual Aetna Celebration of Student Writing.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: First-year undergraduate students at any campus; submissions may be self-nominated or nominated by an instruct

This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellent expository writing/nonfiction composed in a First-Year Writing class at UConn. Multimodal writing and composing is welcome.

Submissions may be be self-nominated or nominated by an instructor.. To submit your or student’s work, please follow the instructions below:

  • Remove student and instructor names from the paper (names of instructor and student will remain anonymous for committee review).
  • In place of the student's name, the student's PeopleSoft ID number should appear on every page of the paper.
  • The nominator will need to submit the assignment prompt from the FYW course/instructor as well as the project itself.
  • Send your information, your submission, and the assignment prompt from the FYW course/instructor to Indicate “Aetna First-Year Writing Award Applicant” in your email subject header.

Past Recipients

First Prize: Kamden Meyer, Podcast B/ "Matters of Media"
Instructor: Meghan Mizak
Site: The Woodstock Academy, Woodstock CT (ECE-1010)
Honorable Mention: Aleena Jafar-DeCesare, “It's Ok to Say Gay”
Instructor: Meghan Mizak
Site: The Woodstock Academy, Woodstock, CT (ECE-1010)
Honorable Mention: William Curry, “Vocaloid Culture”
Instructor: Leslie Chausse
Site: Clinton Public (ECE-1010)

First Place:  Andrew Hicks, “The Dilution of Language in the Digital Age” 
Instructor: Robin Denninger 
ENGL 1010, Fall 2020 
Site: Westhill High School 
Second Place: Meg Shah, You Are a Cog of the Panoptic Fear Machine”
Instructor: Ron Glaz 
ENGL 1010, Spring 2021 
Site: Hartford Campus 
Third Place: Zara Williamson, “When Shea Moisture Is a Breakthrough” 
Instructor: Robin Denninger 
ENGL 1010 Spring, 2021 
Site: Westhill High School 

(all winners are featured at the Aetna Virtual Celebration of Student Writing with many students reading 5 mins. from their writing projects) 
1st Place: Palakjot Bedi, "A Uniting Aspiration: The Political Revolution of John Lennon's 'Imagine.’” Instructor: Julia Wold 
2nd Place: Owen Spangler.  "Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema and the Transformation of Philip Dick.”  Instructor: Julia Brush 

First Prize: Emma Walton, “Defining Home in Terms of No-Man’s-Land”
Second Prize: Mariah Morneau, “History Repeats Itself”
Third Prize: Leah Sobotka, “Boon Island” (Instructor: Sophie Buckner)

First Prize: Aliyah Summer Walker, “What Happens in the Weight Room Doesn’t Quite Stay in the Weight Room” (Instructor: Micah Goodrich)
Honorable Mention: Damini Chelladurai, “The Innocent Muslim in the Post-9/11 World” (Instructor: Lori Carriere)
Honorable Mention: Anna Babbin, “A Dual Grief Paradox: The Unlivable Lives of LGBTQ+Homeless Youth” (Instructor: Tom Deans)

First Prize: Joshua Weist, “Corruptive Villainy: Finding the Root of Evil” (Instructor: Melissa Rohrer)

First Prize: John Peters, “The Silent Treatment: Have We All Lost Our Voice?” (Instructor: Eleanor Reeds)
Second Prize: Marisol Gallo, “Freedom Writers: The ‘Invisible’ Period of Racism in America and Hollywood” (Instructor: Melissa Rohrer)
Second Prize: Dominique Martin, “Irene Adler: Making a Statement” (Instructor: Emma Burris-Janssen)

First Prize: Michael Caruso, “Ain’t No Whig o’ Mine: Sir Robert Walpole, the South Sea Bubble, and a Pissed Irishman” (Instructor: Erick Piller)
First Prize: William Lanzoni, “Dockers Define Manhood” (Instructor: Kate Gross)
Second Prize: Zachary Stack, “The Unconscious Vampire” (Instructor: Denise Lovett)

First Prize: Antonio Rivera, “The Silent Treatment: Have We All Lost Our Voice?” (Instructor: Samuel Robinson)
Honorable Mention: Marcey Lewin, “Curious About Curiosity: An Investigation” (Instructor: Roberta Marggraff)
Honorable Mention: Tanner Rathbone, “Fragmentation and Its Positive Effects on Mentally Ill Patients” (Instructor: Alaina Kaus)

First Prize: Kaley Kruger, “Empirical Reality to Authenticity: Joyce’s Development of the Work of Art in The Dead” (Instructor: Michael Bartch)
Second Prize: Coree Charette, “The Truth” (Instructor: Maria Seger)
Third Prize: Emili Mahon, “The Redefining of ‘Separate Spheres’” (Instructor: Maria Seger)

First Prize: Christian Gibney, “Profile of a Hero: Rorschach” (Instructor: Kisha Tracy)

First Prize: Lisa Ruohoniemi, “History and Heritage: Telling the Story of a Nation Through a Single Soul” (Instructor: Lynn Z. Bloom)
Honorable Mention: Janine Johnson, “The Effects of Sexism and Racism in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)

First Prize: Zach Dorn, “Night of the Living Post-Modernist” (Instructor: Eva Teague)
Second Prize: Stephen Corbo, “A Different Type of Panopticon: Fight Club” (Instructor: Kristi Garvin)
Third Prize: Kerri Fenton, “Nature and Ecocriticism in Fahrenheit 451” (Instructor: Patricia Taylor)
Honorable Mention: Thomas Dimauro, “On My Honor: Narrative of an Eagle Scout” (Instructor: Sean Forbes)

First Prize: Lauren Silber, “Forces of Creativity Surpassed for a Greater Purpose” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
Second Prize: Kerry Smith, “Funding Distribution of the Endangered Species Act” (Instructor: Corey Mahoney)
Third Prize: Caitlin Cuskley, “Unearthing a Voice: Releasing the Creativity of the Women of the Past” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
Honorable Mention: Brian Kelly, “Guernica: Capturing the Essence of War” (Instructor: Trudi Bird)

Application Deadline: April 4

Aetna Graduate Teaching of Writing Award

Prize: Maximum $500 for one recipient; smaller amounts may be given to multiple recipients.
Submit award materials to:

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Open to any currently-enrolled graduate student teaching a writing course in any department or program at UConn.

This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes the dedication and innovation of graduate students who teach writing at the University of Connecticut.

This award is open to any currently enrolled graduate student teaching a writing course (as instructor of record), regardless of departmental or programmatic affiliation.

The Aetna Graduate Teaching Award is usually given to one Storrs graduate teaching assistant each year. Honorable Mentions can also be awarded.

The nominees go through an engaged evaluation process, including an assessment of several different teaching-related documents. The winner is selected by a committee of faculty and Aetna Advisory Board members. The maximum award comes with a cash prize of $500. If multiple winners are selected, the committee will decide how to allocate prize money.

Application Instructions


Two (2) of the four (4) suggested documents should be submitted:

  1. A teaching philosophy/statement
  2. An annotated sample assignment (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning in creating that assignment and perhaps also how students responded to it)
  3. An annotated syllabus (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning)
  4. An annotated response to a piece of student writing (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning). All student identification must be removed. An annotated document that includes the student information in any way can not be accepted for the submission.

One recommendation or evaluation element from somebody familiar with your teaching. This could be a letter of recommendation from a professor, advisor, student, or even SET results.

Please send at least two of the four suggested documents, preferably as one file, to Indicate “Aetna Graduate Teaching Award Applicant” in your email header.

Past Recipients

Previous Aetna Graduate Teaching of Writing Award recipients:

  • Gabriel Morrison (2020)
  • Carol Ann Jackson (2019)
  • Dan Graham (2018)
  • Meghan Burns (2017)
  • Emma Burris-Janssen (2016)
  • Emily Tucker (2015)
  • George Moore (2014)
  • Christina Henderson (2013)
  • Abbye Meyer (2012)
  • Amanda Smith (2011)
  • Rebecca Nisetich (2010)
  • Mary Elizabeth Lough (2009)
  • Sarah Rasher (2008)
  • Jon Kotchian (2007)
  • Katie Peel (2006)
  • Aaron Bremyer, Ken Cormier, Anita Duneer, and Andy Pfrenger (2005)
  • Peter Sinclair (2004)
  • Joshua Masters (2002)
  • Nancy Knowles (1999)

Previous Aetna Commendation for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing recipients:

  • Amy Fehr (2020)
  • Manuel Ramirez (2020)

Aetna Graduate Writing Award

Prize: Winners receive a cash prize (up to $500) and are recognized at the annual Aetna Celebration of Student Writing and recorded in the annual Aetna Chair Report to the UConn Board of Trustees and UConn Foundation.
Submit award materials to:

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: All graduate students at all UConn campuses

This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellence in writing for critical research and nonfiction composed by a graduate student.

  • Applicants may submit any unpublished critical essay written for a course or independently.
  • Please include the course, instructor, and semester for which the paper (in first draft) was written; or indicate that the submission was completed outside of coursework.
  • Name of the author/person submitting should be anonymized from the actual document (including the document properties)
  • Dissertation chapters (or partial chapters) may be submitted.
  • The essay may be under editorial/publication review, but if accepted for publication elsewhere, it must be withdrawn from this contest.
  • Only one essay per student may be submitted per year/awards cycle.
  • Submission must have been written during a specific time frame for the annual award. Currently: spring 2021, summer 2021, fall 2022.
  • Submissions should not exceed 20 pages (10-20 pages is suggested).
  • A brief ABSTRACT (100-250 words) should also be submitted and included at the start of the document.

Past Recipients

Winner: Julia Brush
“Un-Documenting: Jan-Henry Gray’s Documents and Memorializing the Present”
Honorable Mention: Kerry Carnahan
"Black am I and beautiful!": Translation of Song 1:5-6 with Commentary

Winner: Samadrita Kuiti
“Decolonizing the Feminist Utopia: Interfaith Sisterhood and Anticolonial Feminist Resistance in Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag
Honorable Mention: Anna Ziering
"'A Hand on Clare’s Bare Arm': Mobile Disorientations of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Nella Larsen’s Passing"

1st Place: Julia Brush, Department of English. “Poeisis Ex Machina: Cyborg Poetics and Digital Humanities”
2nd Place: Danielle Dumaine, Department of History. “The Apartment Workshop: Diane di Prima in New York City, 1953-1966”
Honorable Mention: Nathan Braccio, Department of History, “The Rise of Surveyors and the Decline of Algonquin Guidance: The Creation of a New, English, Spatial Epistemology in America, 1635-1660”
Honorable Mention: Olivia Marcus, Department of Anthropology “A sense of scents: perfumes and healing in Peruvian mestizo shamanism”

First Place: Meghan Brown. Meghan Brown (English). “Enacting the Archive.”

First Place: Anna Ziering, “The Novella as Virus: Masochistic Temporality and Utopian Possibility in Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs” (Instructors: Margaret Breen and Victoria Ford Smith)
Honorable Mention: Amanda M. Greenwell, “Aesthetic Resistance: Racist Visual Tropes and the Oppositional Gaze in Joel Christian Gill’s Tales of the Talented Tenth” (Instructor: Katharine Capshaw)

First Place: Daniel Graham, “More Wonderful Than ‘Table-Turning’ Ever Was: Spiritualism, Counterfeit, and the Commodity Fetish after the American Civil War” (Instructor: Chris Vials)
Honorable Mention: Kerry Carnahan, “‘Which one I dey?’: Ordinariness, Lack, and the Language of Testimony in Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy” (Instructor: Eleni Coundouriotis)

First Place: Eleanor Reeds, “The Human Dimension of ‘Telegraphic Orders’: Agency and Communication in Ruiz de Burton’s Who Would Have Thought It?”

First Place: Rachel Nolan, “‘tween alepha and beta I’: Crossing Lines of Difference with M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!”
Second Place: Maria Seger, “The Ethics of Child Murder: Maternal Filicide and American Exceptionalism in Women’s Progressive Era Short Fiction”
Third Place (tie): Joseph Darda, “Antiwar Absolution in Joseph Hiller’s Vietnam”
Third Place (tie): Alexander Gatten, “Beyond the Ghost: Katherine Philips and the Queerness of Close Reading”
Honorable Mention: Emma Burris-Janssen, “Violating Viola: Re-Membering Female Agency in Mona Carid’s ‘Marriage’ and The Wing of Azrael”

First Place (tie): Joseph Darda, “Airport Memory: Recalling Vietnam from the Terminal in Andrew Pham’s Travel Writing”
First Place (tie): Jorge Santos, “Movement through the Borderlands: Graphic Revisions in Pablo’s Inferno”
Third Place: Chad Jewett, “The Stuff Bores Me: Resistant Consumption and ‘The Culture Industry’ in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye”
Honorable Mention: Alaina Kaus, “Liberalities of Feeling: Free Market Subjectivities in Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin”

First Place: Maria Seger, “Ekphrasis and the Postmodern Slave Narrative: Reading the Maps of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World”
Second Place: Emily Dolan, “Louisa May Alcott’s Behind a Mask and the Unrepentant Fallen Woman”
Third Place: Mary Isbell, “Not Simply Objects of Ridicule: Amateur Theatricals in Mansfield Park, Villette, and Daniel Deronda”

First Place: Jeremy DeAngelo, “Walls of Troy, Walls of Asgaro: A Connection Between Snorri Sturluson’s Gylfaginning and Ovid’s Metamorphoses”
Second Place: Leah Schwebel, “Redressing Griselda: Restoration Through Translation in Clerk’s Tale”
Third Place: Pamela Swanigan, “Music as Facing-Page Translation in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet”
Honorable Mention: Christiana Salah, “The Actress and the Governess: Sensation Fiction’s Spectrum of Female Identity”
Honorable Mention: Joanna Huckins, “Eald is bes eorosele: The Ancestral Landscape of The Wife’s Lament”
Honorable Mention: Laila Khan, “Shell-shock and the Sublime: Re-writing Trauma Narrative in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway”
Honorable Mention: Amber West, “Making a Troublemaker: Charlotte Charke’s Proto-Feminist Puppetry”

First Place: Pamela Longo
Second Place (tie): Brandon Hawk
Second Place (tie): Tara Harney
Fourth Place: Jeremy DeAngelo
Honorable Mention: Amanda Smith
Honorable Mention: Christina Henderson

First Place: Lindy Brady, “Echoes of a Celtic Fenland Frontier in the Old English Andreas”
Second Place: Patricia Taylor, “Criminal Appropriations of Shakespeare in Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten”
Third Place: Mandy Suhr-Sytsma, “In the Light of Reverence: American Legal Rights and Indigenous Responsibility”
Honorable Mention: Tara Harney, “Meditations on the Tyranny of the ‘Too Easy’ Fall”

First Place: Kisha Tracy, “Chaucerian Romance and the Temporality of Confession”
Second Place: Emily Wojcik, “A True Picture of Real Life: Tabitha Teeney’s Female Quixotism and the Emergent Realist Novel”
Third Place: Emily Dolan, “Portland, Maine: A Literary City”


The Department of English offers the following scholarships and fellowships each year to students. Please review the descriptions for eligibility requirements. For questions about English scholarships, please contact

Students can also apply for scholarships and awards from:

Undergraduate Support

Kathleen Gibson McPeek Scholarship in English

The McPeek Scholarship is open to undergraduate students majoring in English. Students are nominated by their instructor. Recipients are chosen by a scholarship committee within the Department.

Steblea Family Scholarship

The Steblea Family Scholarship provides support for an undergraduate English major in the top 20% of their class (based on GPA) with demonstrated financial need (based on FAFSA application). Sophomores and juniors with financial need receive an invitation to submit an essay. Scholarships are renewable if students continue to meet the criteria in subsequent academic years.

Susanne Brennan Perella Memorial Scholarship

The Perella Memorial Scholarship supports a junior English major or minor in the top 20% of their class (based on GPA) with demonstrated financial need (based on FAFSA application). Sophomores with financial need receive an invitation to submit an essay. Scholarships are renewable if students continue to meet the criteria in subsequent academic years.