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First-Year Writing Awards Spring 2024

Donald E. Barnett Awards   

Each year, the English Department recognizes excellent writing in English 1102 by presenting two Barnett Essay Awards. Named in honor of Donald E. Barnett, who directed the Freshman English Program for many years, the awards consist of cash prizes and publication of the winning essays in the First-Year Writing Guidebook. These awards are supported by the English Department Fund.

MaristellaWinner: Maristella Tuazon for her essay “Franny Choi’s Criticisms of U.S. Capitalism and Imperialism in Soft Science

Maristella is a first-year student at the University of Georgia double majoring in English and History. She has had a life-long love for reading and writing, and she is currently interested in works about issues surrounding imperialism and capitalism. Her writing skills progressed in Hannah V. Warren’s English 1102 course on science fiction and futuristic literature where she learned how to better formulate her arguments. On campus, Maristella organizes with Students for Socialism. Her passions outside of academics and student organizing include video games, music, and watching movies with her friends.

Maristella was nominated by Hannah Warren:

Through the lens of cyborg theory, Maristella analyzes the intersections of gender, immigration, and labor exploitation in Franny Choi’s Soft Science (2019). Particularly impressive is Maristella’s ability to smooth the gap between Choi’s cyborg and female voices in this poetry collection; they analyze how and why Choi blurs the boundaries between flesh and machine to highlight the dehumanizing systems upholding imperialist practices that harm women of color.


Michael G. Moran e-Portfolio Awards   

Beginning in 2007, the English Department began recognizing the excellent work being done in ePortfolios for English 1101 and 1102 by presenting the portfolio awards. Named in honor of Michael G. Moran, a former director of FYW who did much to shape and improve the program and who has continued to support it by serving loyally on the First-Year Writing Committee, these awards also consist of cash prizes and publication of selected exhibits from the winning ePortfolios in the First-Year Writing Guide. These awards are supported by the English Department Fund

1101 Winner: Madison Anglin Madison Anglin

Madison Anglin is a rising senior from Dawsonville, GA and is majoring in Exercise & Sport Science with a minor in Public Health. She has a strong love for medicine and is currently in the process of applying to Physician Assistant school, a dream she has had since 7th grade. She plans to one day specialize in cardiothoracic surgery and work locally in North Georgia to give back to the community she was raised in. Aside from her love of medicine, Maddie also enjoys basketball, golf, hunting, and going on the lake with her family and friends. 

Madison was nominated by Al Dixon:

“Good writing directly stems from the passion the writer puts into the essay.” This line from Madison’s Reflective Essay perfectly captures what makes her portfolio so special. Madison came into ENGL 1101 without a lot of confidence in her writing abilities. But for each essay, she found a way to channel her passion for the healthcare field, and it paid off. This portfolio documents her process and packages it in a clever and engaging way.

Lauren Bietz1102 Winner: Lauren Bietz

Lauren Bietz is a first-year intended Elementary Education major with a minor in Studio Art – she hopes to teach art to elementary students after graduation. From Cumming, Georgia, she owes her longstanding love of design, language, and feminist social critique to her family, who have supported her during every step of her college transition (including, on many occasions, reviewing her portfolio before its final submission). She would also like to thank Nathan Camp, for always believing in his students' writing and for pushing the boundaries of what they think they can achieve. Through the construction of this portfolio, Lauren has realized her own passion for written communication and found both academic and personal empowerment in the medium. 

Lauren was nominated by Nathan Camp:

We all want a Lauren in our classrooms. I don’t think she could stop asking questions about the world if she tried. She will poke at incongruities and pick at loose threads. This despite her own anxiety about ignorance. She was honest up front about scholarly research terrifying her because, “just for a moment, you have to be clueless.” Who among us, sitting on a slender shoal of what we know and looking over the vast ocean of the unknown and unknowable, has not felt the same terror? Yet curiosity is stronger than fear. Lauren didn’t know that her curiosity would lead to reading Judith Butler of her own accord, but I’m pretty sure curiosity would have won in any case. The end of all her semester’s exploring was (if I may borrow from T.S. Eliot) to arrive at where she started – woman, scientist, lover of fashion, asker of questions – and know the place (better) for the first time. Her portfolio is lovely to look at and even lovelier to read, animated with that rarest of scholarly capacities, the Keatsian capability “of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts” without needing immediate or definitive answers.

Honorable Mention: Alyssia HamiltonAlyssia Hamilton

Alyssia Hamilton is a first year intended journalism major and sports management minor, also pursuing a certificate in sports media with the Carmichael Sports Media Institute. Her passion for sports journalism stems from her love of storytelling and understanding athletes on and off the field. She dreams of becoming a sideline reporter for a major network like ESPN, TNT Sports, Fox Sports, etc. Alyssia’s writing has been featured in Marietta High School’s Newspaper “Pitchfork”, where she started off as a sports staff writer her junior year and transitioned into editor-in-chief her senior year. At UGA, she’s been a Football Ambassador and volunteered for Women’s Basketball Sports Communication, showcasing her dedication to sports media. Alyssia is a member of Association for Women in Sports Media and the National Association of Black Journalist. She aims to provide unique insights and break stereotypes as a black woman in sports journalism, aspiring to be a role model for future generations.

Alyssia was nominated by Liz Hammock:

Alyssa Hamilton showed me from the start of entering my course what a dedicated journalist and storyteller aims to be. Committing herself fully to the portfolio and its aims as much as the writing we did throughout the semester, Alyssia developed unique discussions on difficult topics which literature and art presented us in our course of study, and used this as a platform for learning and developing her skill set as well as speaking her mind. In my course, she was always willing to play out ideas in creative ways, and study closely the uses of different genre forms. Her eye for detail drew me into her discussions and allowed for an understanding of both lived and interpreted experiences in American literature.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards  

English Department Winners: Chelsea Cobb, Allison Harris, Kelsey McQueen, Brianna Phillips, Mikaela Warner, and Liz Wayson

The Center for Teaching and Learning administers the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction. This award recognizes the top ten-percent of teaching assistants demonstrating superior teaching skills while serving in the classroom or laboratory.  


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