The Undergraduate Committee is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s First Year Writing Prize.
The Department of Comparative Literature awards this annual prize for an outstanding student essay written for a Comparative Literature course that meets the First Year Writing Requirement. Essays written in the preceding Winter and Fall terms are eligible. In 2023 the department is awarding three prizes.
Linguistics major Maya Bonevich, nominated by GSI Sam McCracken, received the award for the essay "Give Me Your Answer, Do: To Speak as a Robot," written in COMPLIT 122 (Writing World Literatures) in the Winter 2022 term. The undergraduate committee was impressed by Maya’s excellent use of external sources, as well as the complexity of the argument which emerged when these sources were put together. Instructor Sam McCracken nominated this essay because it “demonstrates a command of critical thinking, ingenuity, wit, and skill as an academic researcher seldom seen in first-year writing”.
LSA student Sara Wong, nominated by Lecturer Aram Mrjoian, received the award for the essay "Little Shop of Horrors and the Consequence of Choice," written in COMPLIT 141 (Great Performances at Michigan) during the Fall 2022 term. The undergraduate committee was impressed by the meaningful analysis that includes a critique of capitalism and race relations, while discussing it through both gender and genre. Instructor Mrjoian noted that this paper “excels in its deft critical analysis and exacting prose.” This essay has also received the Matt Kelley Award for Excellence in First Year Writing, awarded by the Sweetland Writing Center.
Business student Alex Zhang, nominated by Lecturer Aram Mrjoian, received the award for the essay "Calculator Kid to Kung-Fu Guy: An Address to Asian Tokenism in Media," written in COMPLIT 141 (Great Performances at Michigan) during the Fall 2022 term. The undergraduate committee was impressed by the mature argument about anti-Asian racism and Hollywood representation of Asian-Americans. In his nomination, Instructor Mrjoian wrote that “Alex's paper shows a thoughtful combination of research and survey of popular culture that aligned well with the course's central themes.”