Gateway Essay Winners Announced

Oct. 11, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-- The Illinois Wesleyan University Writing Program has announced the winners of its inaugural 2011-12 Best Gateway Essay contest.

First place honors went to sophomore political science major Casey Plach for her essay, "Group Membership and Its Adverse Psychological Effects in The Ox-Bow Incident," written for a Gateway Symposium taught by Jim Simeone, chair and associate professor of political science. Plach, a native of Niles, Ill., received a check for $150.00 as a prize.

Runner-ups were sophomore Karen Thul, who has yet to declare a major, for her essay, "Studium and Punctum: The Duality of Photography," taught by adjunct faculty member Jami Spencer (General Education), and sophomore psychology major Blair Wright for "The Grimm Brothers as Editors," taught by adjunct faculty member Holly Hughey (General Education). Thul of Bloomington and Wright of Sandwich, Ill., each received a check for $75.00.

Over two dozen essays were nominated by faculty and submitted by students for the contest. Writing Center tutors and faculty on the University's Writing Committee selected the winning essays, which will appear in IWU's Digital Commons.

The Writing Program supports and administers the Gateway Colloquium, a first year seminar emphasizing writing and critical thinking. For additional information on the program, go to For additional information regarding the contest, contact Joel Haefner, writing coordinator for General Education at