Annual Cunningham Writing Contest winners announced

April 16, 2015

Trine University’s Humanities and Communication (HAC) department recently announced the winners of its Walter Cunningham Writing Contest. This is the sixth year for the contest, sponsored in conjunction with the Humanities Institute and the Writing Center.

First-, second- and third-place prizes and honorable mentions were awarded in academic, creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry categories. Authors’ names were removed to ensure fairness in judging and the entries were ranked by a panel of judges from across Trine’s campus.

Below is a list of the winners in each category, along with a description of their work. To read the full submissions, visit the HAC department’s online literary journal at


First place -- Elyse Buehrer, an Angola junior majoring in music.

Her submission is “Ambiguous Americans:  Cultural Identity in Argentina and the United States.” In this paper, Buehrer examines what it means to be an American through a comparison of the cultural identities of Argentineans with those of citizens of the United States.

Second place -- Deepal Mistry, an Elkhart graduate student studying engineering management.

His essay “How the Unmotivated Can Become Leaders” discusses the importance of “recognizing unmotivated individuals or unused talent” in the workplace and suggests the unmotivated worker is an untapped resource in many organizations that can be developed into an asset.

Third place -- Madison Fain, a Connersville freshman majoring in chemical engineering; Mariah Fenimore, a Rushville freshman majoring in civil engineering; Jake Shelley, a Brownsburg freshman majoring in civil engineering; Brennon Furnas, a Plainfield sophomore majoring in design engineering technology; Sam Loga, a Tawas City, Mich., freshman majoring in design engineering technology and Kallie Willits, an Auburn sophomore majoring in professional writing and English studies.

Written as the final group project for technical communication, “Get Fit Trine: Proposal to Increase the Amount of Physical Activity and Increase Physical Education for Trine Students” encourages “physical activity through physical and mental weekly group challenges that allow students to learn how to properly exercise and have fun while doing it. The program specifically targets nonathletes and those students who do not describe themselves as active, but is open to all students.”

Honorable mention -- Luke Fimreite, a McCordsville junior majoring in business administration.

Using the concept of framing, Fimreite explains why the political satire Jon Stewart presents on The Daily Show appeals to young viewers in his essay “Frame Analysis of a Persuasive Artifact: Jon Stewart.”

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

In his paper “The Eternal Dispute: Constitutional Interpretation,” Marx outlines the historical significance of the U.S. Constitution and the major conflicts that have arisen because of differences in its interpretation. 

Creative Nonfiction

First place -- Jayden Lilly, a Butler sophomore majoring in sports management.

In “This Old Faded Ball” a young man reflects on a strange Christmas gift from his father and the lessons he learned because of it.


First place -- August Buehrer, an Angola sophomore majoring in music.

In her piece “The Webspinner,” two doctors disagree about the way to reach the silent and mysterious Camille.

Second place -- Nicole Walters, a Sunbury, Ohio, junior majoring in chemical engineering.

In “The Lady of the Wood,” Grandfather shares the story of the Lady as he sits by the fireside.


First place -- Megan Miller, an Angola freshman majoring in music.

Her delightful poem “Wonderland” playfully welcomes the reader to enter a world of wonder and whimsy. 

Second place -- August Buehrer

In “The Sound of Rain,” the sound of falling rain is heard through the author’s skillful use of rhythm, meter and rhyme.

Third place -- Christopher Hull, a Columbus junior majoring in mechanical engineering.

Through the use of narrative vignettes, “Silence: Bliss or Curse” shows the different ways that silence affects us.

Honorable mention -- Alison Falls, a Fremont freshman majoring in professional writing and English studies.

“8:00 a.m.” and “The Dropping of a Pebble” are two short poems that explore the beauty of nature and the power of a solitary droplet.

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