Writers honored for excellence

Slavery may no longer exist, but its legacy still persists, according to Taryn Dover.

“People with more Caucasian physical features are seen as more beautiful in society,” said Dover, a pre-med sophomore.

This was the idea behind her project, “African American Women Females and Beauty: Divided by Complexion,” which won first place in the “Writing and New Media” category of the department of writing and rhetoric’s annual Writing Excellence Awards.

To be eligible, the paper had to be written for credit in a class during one of the 2009 semesters. Eighteen papers were awarded this year.

The contest had six categories, ranging from essays for rhetoric classes to research papers for science courses.

Winners received a cash prize — $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place in each category — as well as a framed certificate. They also attended a luncheon Feb. 3 hosted by Mary Beth Snyder, vice president of student affairs.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have on your resume,” said Barbara Hamilton, rhetoric professor and chair of the judging panel.

A panel of four judges read the papers, looking for clear, precise arguments and strong syntax.

“Obviously we’re always looking for originality,” Hamilton said.

Jason Carabelli won first place in the “Humanities” category, which includes advanced rhetoric courses, for his essay, “Great American Tragedy: How A Strong Argument was Undermined by Theatrics.”

Using “Great American Hypocrites” by Glenn Greewald — lawyer, columnist, blogger and author — as an example, Carabelli “argued that political theater and/or profit margins are infesting sound argumentation in political discourse.”

Carabelli said the author undermines his own argument by resorting to “angry name calling,” which he said sets a bad precedent for future political discourse.

Hamilton said the contest has been going on for years and that it continues to evolve.

“We’re happy to see it growing as a university-wide program,” Hamilton said.

For a complete list of categories and winners, go to http://www2.oakland.edu/wrt/wea.cfm.