Scholarships and Awards

The Department of English is pleased to offer three undergraduate essay awards for outstanding writing in the field of literature.

To learn more about the submission process of these essays, please contact the Associate Department Head, Elizabeth Bohls.

A. Kingsley Weatherhead Shakespeare Essay Prize

This offers a $300 award endowed by a generous gift from Gloria Lee in honor of her husband the late Robert Lee.

Previous winners

Kyra Lauersdorf: "Edgar and Edmund: Confronting the Darker and Darkest Purposes in King Lear,” written for Brent Dawson’s Winter ENG 399.

Myan Pargeter: "Lavinia as Medusa; or, Trauma Response in Titus Andronicus, written for Professor Lara Bovilsky, ENG 399.

Dori Mosman: "The Politics of Embarrassment in Shakespeare's First Sonnet Sequence," written for Professor Brent Dawson's ENG 436: Advanced Shakespeare.

Colin Baxley: “'In Contempt of Man Brought Near to Beast': The Fragile Boundaries Between Animals and Humans in King Lear,” written for Brent Dawson’s ENG 436, Advanced Shakespeare.

Benni Rose: “Love as Immortal in the Sonnet 122 and in Antony and Cleopatra,” written for Brent Dawson’s ENG 436, Advanced Shakespeare.

Steven Richardson II: “Responses to the Influence of Hegemonic Culture in Shakespeare,” written for Erica Morton-Starner’s ENG 207: Shakespeare.

Alexandra Carthew: “Love and Servitude,” written for Lara Bovilsky’s ENG 208: Shakespeare.

Stephen Swig Essay Prize

Named for a distinguished alumnus of the department, this award recognizes an outstanding student essay on any subject. The winning essay is chosen from essays nominated by the English faculty. It comes with an award of $500.

Previous winners

Spring 2021
Elowen Oie: “Knowing the Unknown Soldier in Woolf’s Jacob’s Room: A Study of Jacob Flanders as a Reading Figure," written for Professor Helen Southworth’s 407 seminar.

Spring 2020
Martha DeCosta: "Being Human: A Journey Toward Embracing our Animality," written for Professor Stacy Alaimo's ENG 407 Seminar 05/10/20.

Spring 2018
Dori Mosman: "Interchangeable Johns and White Masculinity in the Pocahontas Franchise," written for Professor Kirby Brown's ENG 488: Race and Representation in Film: Native American Literature and Film.

Spring 2017
Erica Heim: “Reparative Reading and Cultural Tension of the Historical Narrative," written for Professor Brent Dawson’s ENG 469: Literature and Environment.

Spring 2016
Colin Baxley: “‘Innumerable Clanging Wings’: The Three-Part Opening Sonnet of W. B. Yeats’s ‘The Tower,’” written for Mark Quigley’s ENG 407: St. Louis Seminar: W. B. Yeats & Seamus Heaney.

Spring 2015
Ian Stewart: “A Gift of Ice and Fire: Creation as Gift Exchange in the Prose Edda,” written for Stephanie Clark’s ENG 425: Age of Beowulf.

Winter 2015
Samantha Elwood: “The White Male Protagonist: Friend or Foe?” written for Kirby Brown’s ENG 488: Native American Literature and Film.

Spring 2014
Dylan Thompson: “Questioning the Ambivalent Politics of Andrew Marvel: An Exploration on the Authorship of ‘An Elegy Upon the Death of My Lord Francis Villieres,’” written for Ben Saunders’ ENG 440: Seventeenth-Century Poetry & Prose.

Kamiiya Williams: “Masking for Survival: The Broken Black Family and Generational Transfer of Masks in the Trueblood Episode,” written for Courtney Thorsson’s ENG 468: Contemporary Black Fiction.

Fall 2013
Samuel Rodgers: “The Performance of DuBois and Dunbar,” written for Courtney Thorsson’s ENG 360: African American Writers.

Spring 2013
The winner of the Stephen Swig Essay Prize for Spring Term 2013 is River Ramuglia for “Locating Malindy: Poetic Treatment of the Musical Creative Spirit,” written for Karen Ford’s African American Poetry and Poetics St. Louise Seminar in Poetry and Poetics.

Winter 2013
Martin Larson-Xu: “Means Something, Language of Flow: Music, Noise, and Conceptual Art in the ‘Sirens’ Episode of Ulysses,” written for Paul Peppis’s ENG 479: James Joyce.

Thelma and Stanley Greenfield English Honors Thesis Prize

This awards $1,000 to the best English honors thesis from the year, named in honor of two of the English Department’s most beloved former Professors.

Previous winners

Jordan Harden, advisor Kirby Brown.

No award given.

No award given.

Samuel Rodgers: “James Baldwin: Across Literary Forms,” a critical thesis written under the direction of Courtney Thorsson, Mark Whalan, and Casey Shoop.

Naduah Wheeler: “Sexy Skeletons: Literary Reclamation of Native Sexuality and Eroticism,” a critical thesis written under the direction of Quinn Miller and Kirby Brown.

Tucker Mollers: “Driving On,” a creative thesis written under the direction of Mary Elene Wood and Corbett E. Upton.