Annual Best Gateway Essay Contest Winners Announced

Nov. 2, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Wesleyan University Writing Committee has selected the top essays in the 2017-18 Best Gateway Essay Contest.

The Gateway course is required for first-year students, intended to improve their verbal and written communication skills through essays and class discussion. Each year, Gateway instructors are invited to nominate up to three student essays from their Gateway sections. The essays are first evaluated by teams of Writing Center tutors and then by the Writing Committee. The Committee selects a winner, who receives $150, and two runners-up, who receive $75 each. Associate Dean of Curricular and Faculty Development Kevin Sullivan provides the funds for these awards.

This year’s winner is Suzanne Zhang ’21 for her essay, “Critical Thinking and Buddhism,” nominated by Visiting Assistant Professor and Academic Success Coordinator Mark Halx, from his Gateway section, “How We Think: Critical Thinking for Your Studies and Your Life.” The two runners-up include: Minzhao Liu ’21 for his essay, “James Baldwin on the Question of the Identities of Americans and the Black Muslim Movement,” and Katie Cavender ’21 for her essay, “Rachel Carson: Giving a Voice to the Earth,” both nominated by Professor of Political Science Jim Simeone from his Gateway section, “Utopianism.”

Joel Haefner serves as the Director of the Writing Center, and Professor of English Mike Theune, as the Writing Program Director.

By Vi Kakares ’20