We are pleased to announce the 2020 First-Year Summer Reading Essay Contest, open
to all members of Illinois Wesleyan University’s Class of 2024. The general topic
of the essay is our Summer Reading selection, What the Eyes Don't See by Mona Hanna-Attisha.
You will have the opportunity to discuss this selection during Turning Titan: New
Student Orientation 2020, take part in programming for this year’s intellectual theme
"Health, Healing and Humanity," and hear the voices of our University community, but
the discussion stands incomplete without the most important voice of all—your voice, the
many voices of the individuals who are Illinois Wesleyan University’s Class of 2024.
The winner of the essay contest will win a $250 IWU Bookstore Gift Card and will be
announced and recognized at New Student Convocation on August 11, 2020.
Submissions must be 600-800 words typed/double-spaced, with 12-point font, and 1-inch
margins. The first page of your essay (no cover pages please) should have your full
name in the upper left corner and a title centered over the text. Each subsequent
page should have your last name and the page number in the upper right corner (e.g.,
Please send your submission as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm (CST)
on Friday, August 7, 2020. Essays should be submitted in pdf format.
Please select one of the following prompts as a guide for your essay. We are not, however, asking simply for an answer to the prompt; instead we are looking
for a coherent, intelligent, and logically organized essay that stems from your reading
of What the Eyes Don't See
and related reflections.
The Illinois Wesleyan annual theme for the 2020-2021 academic year is "Health, Healing,
Identify specific ways in which the book addresses each aspect of the theme, “Health,
Healing, and Humanity."
What the Eyes Don't See
calls attention to a real life crisis in our society and highlights how a government
by the people, and for the people, ultimately failed to protect some of its most vulnerable
populations. In recent months there has been a diversity of opinions on how various
entities have addressed how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. What arguments does
Dr. Hanna-Attisha raise in her book that can help draw parallels between these two
First Prize: A Multitude of Truths
by Elise Damasco '23
Honorable Mention: The Innocence of the Innocent by Shivam Dharmendra Patel '23
First Prize: The Power of Transformation by Jared Schneider '22
Honorable Mention: Girl in a Boy Body: The Complexity of Being Oneself
by Amanda Smith '22
Parallel Transitions of American Towns and Families
by Kathryn Vogler '22
First Prize: The Manufacturing of the MENA Race by Gabrielle Ghaderi '21
Honorable Mention: Sibling Worlds by David Nicolas Lopez Moncayo '21
The Manmade Construct of Race by Tatum Zsorey '21
First Prize: Differences Between Afghan and American Gender Politics: Subtle Versus Blatant Sexism,
and Both Their Dangers by Mary Amanda Breeden '20
Honorable Mention: Global Feminism: A Comparison of Gender Roles in Afghanistan and the United States by Alexa Letourneau '20
Endless Possibilities Await by Naing Lin Tun '20
Still a Jerk by Benjamin Alan Zentner '19
Honorable Mention: Between Two Worlds
by Emma Marie Haan '19
The Complexity of Balance by Kathryn Anne Halford '19
Please visit Digital Commons @ IWU to read the prize-winning essays.