Cunningham Writing Contest winners announced

March 25, 2013

ANGOLA, Ind. – The winners of Trine University's 2013 Walter Cunningham Writing Contest have been announced and winning entries can be found at This is the fourth year for the contest sponsored by the university's Department of Language & Humanities, Humanities Institute and Writing Center.

First-, second- and third-place prizes and honorable mentions are awarded in four writing categories: academic, creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Ninety-nine separate entries, the most ever, were ranked by a panel of judges from across the Trine campus. Authors' names were removed to ensure fairness.

Below is a list of the winners, along with a description of their work, for each category.


First place -- Derek Bycraft, a Jackson, Mich., senior majoring in sport management.

His submission is "Equality Creating Inequality: The Intersection of Race and class in 'Life in the Iron Mills'". The rhetoric of "wage slavery" in antebellum America worked (often problematically) to equate the plight of factory workers with that of enslaved African-Americans. This paper traces that rhetoric in an early short story by American author Rebecca Harding Davis.

Second place -- Naomi Bush, an Angola senior majoring in general studies with a focus on English. (Bush also won in creative nonfiction and poetry.)

Her essay, "Integral Temerity," compares Sir Gawain of "Gawain and the Green Knight" to Geoffrey Chaucer's "Wife of Bath," establishing what Bush terms the two characters' "integral temerity."

Third place -- Jennifer Jackemeyer, a Buchanan, Mich., freshman majoring in chemical engineering.

Her essay is "Fact Versus Fiction: What Should Dominate Education?"  Using Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" as a lens, this essay uses references to Charles Darwin's autobiography and an interview with Allen Hersel, Ph.D., of Trine'sMcKetta Department of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering, to argue that the humanities is a core part of even a STEM-focused education. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Honorable mention -- Ashley McLaughlin, an Elkhart junior majoring in forensic science. (She also won first place in fiction.)

Her opinion piece, "The Haters Come Marching In," argues for greater acceptance of the often derided but fascinating hobby "cosplay" or "costume play."

Creative nonfiction

First place -- Naomi Bush.

"Nameless" is the story about the names people are called and names that are used to call others, and how they drive people apart and back together.

Second place -- Sara Fox, a Huntertown freshman majoring in biology.

"Key to the Animal Kingdom" tells how a little girl's first library card is the key to a magical world.

Third place -- Ruth Temme, an Angola student enrolled in Trine's Middle College program for high school students.

"My Worst Enemy" tells how a childhood accident is made worse by an overactive imagination.

Honorable mention -- Tyler Marx, a Waterville, Ohio, freshman majoring in social studies education.

"Harry Potter and the Magic of Reading" is the story of how Harry Potter makes an after-school program at the YMCA a little more bearable.


First place -- Ashley McLaughlin.

"Carmen of Lamia" tells the story of a young violinist's music that seems to have strange powers. The violinist – and those around her – may not be what they seem.

Second place -- Eric Gigliotti, a Hartland, Mich., junior majoring in design engineering technology.

"The Nord Krieg" tells how the warrior Asgeir must fight and face the consequences, including the knowledge that he has killed.

Third place (tie) -- Joshua Marty, a Clyde, Ohio, sophomore majoring in chemical engineering.

"The Dealmaker" tells how demons battle each other, and human involvement complicates matters.

Third place (tie) -- Katie Davenport, an Angola student enrolled in Trine's Middle College program for high school students.

"Shards of Glass" is the story of an expectant mother who struggles for survival and redemption in an oppressed and war-torn community.


First place -- Rachel McGuinness, a Grand Rapids, Mich., senior majoring in mechanical engineering. She has won first place in poetry three times in the annual Cunningham competition.

In the poem "Vietnam Across the Street," the speaker finds meaning in the view across the street.

Second place -- Naomi Bush.

"My Apartment, Soon to be Left Behind" is a playful yet melancholy tribute to an apartment – soon to be left behind.

Third place -- Sarah Sutton, a Montpelier, Ohio, sophomore majoring in elementary education.

"Haunting Dreams Only I Can See" tells of fragmented visions of the apocalypse that are conjured through imagery.

Honorable mention -- Sandra Rippon, a Lake Orion, Mich., senior majoring in psychology.

"Good to See You" tells that funerals evoke many, often-conflicting emotions, which are given voice in this poem.

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