SCIO is delighted to announce Michaelmas Term 2022’s Prize winners. The prizes are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their research essays, British Culture seminars, or overall academic performance throughout the term (the Alumni prize).
Michaelmas’s awardees include:
- Jackson Parrott, Hope College
- Katherine Ellis, Belmont University
- Julianne Petersen, John Brown University
- Luke Mason, Westmont College
- Morgan Reynolds, Biola University
- Emma Smith, Bethel University, MN
- Lydia Jernigan, Lipscomb University
- Lexi Schnaser, Dordt University
- Libby Trudeau, Gordon College
- Natasha Zimmerman, Azusa Pacific University
A few of the prize winners shared a bit about their work and the reasons why they find it important.
In her research essay, Emma Smith (Bethel University, MN) analysed the similarities between Beatrice and Elizabeth Bennet, ‘the witty heroines’ in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and explored why they appeal to contemporary readers. Smith explains:
‘Effortlessly infusing femininity with a counter-cultural boldness, both characters seem to represent their respective authors’ attempts to redefine the societal perception of the “weaker” sex. Furthermore, their shared determination to seek both intellectual and emotional connection in marriage sets these heroines apart from their historical settings while engaging modern-day readers navigating a world actively striving toward gender equality. I am so grateful for the opportunity to research and develop this connection between two of my favourite characters (and authors) through this writing process.’
Katie Ellis (Belmont University) analysed Kant’s Critique of Judgement, Book 1: Analytic of the Beautiful, in her essay. Ellis explored:
‘through a Kantian framework… how musical timbre contributes to judgments of beauty and changing uses of tone-colour in modern classical music. Through this essay, I was able to combine topics in two of my areas of interest: philosophy and music theory. I am glad to have had the opportunity to explore these interests at Oxford, and I am honoured to have been recognized as a recipient of the De Jager Prize.’
Natasha Zimmerman (Azusa Pacific University), who did ‘Psychology and Literature’ as her British Culture seminar explains:
‘Analysing confessional poetry under the direction of one of the foremost experts in the field, Dr. Richard Lawes, was an unforgettable experience. What started as a morbid fascination with The Bell Jar evolved into a true appreciation of Sylvia Plath and her unparalleled ability. Hearing Dr. Lawes’s take on Plath’s illness and how it compared to authors like Virginia Woolf transformed my view of both the “tortured artist” and “mad woman” tropes, and forced me to confront the detriment of defining writers by their deaths. SCIO gave me the opportunity to study Plath in a form that highlighted her artistic merit, rather than exploiting her reputation for mania.’
Lydia Jernigan (Lipscomb University) took ‘Prohibition and Transgression: the 18th and 19th century Gothic novel’, with Dr. Alice Stainer. Jernigan explains her experience of the course:
‘Victorian and Gothic literature is rife with tropes and representations of femininity and female sexuality, so in one of my essays I wrote on the development of the age-old portrayal of female sexuality as monstrous and dangerous in Gothic novels—specifically in Dracula and Jane Eyre — and looked at how the authors either adhered to or challenged that view in their writing. During this course, I learned so much about how literature and culture continually shape each other, through my own research and writing as well as my discussions and tutorials with Dr. Stainer. The course also served as the perfect springboard into my primary tutorial, Writing Feminisms/Feminist Writings, which was also with Dr. Stainer.’
Libby Trudeau (Gordon College) did ‘Jane Austen in Context’ with Dr. Emma Plaskitt. Trudeau writes that in the seminar:
‘…I was able to dive in and learn more about one of my favourite authors, Austen, as well as the world in which she wrote, and novels which inspired her. In my essays, I explored the specific areas of love, both romantic and familial, and how finances and inheritance related to it as well as the role reading played in Austen’s novels. I loved having the opportunity to study these amazing works and take what I learned the next step and see how it could relate to my life today and the people around me. What made this experience even more special was having the opportunity to travel to some of the places Austen wrote about, such as Bath, to create an even deeper connection to her writing.’
SCIO wishes the prize winners a very happy and successful future.