Millikin begins Premier Writers Contest

Morgan Ewald

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This year, Millikin’s English department is beginning a program called Millikin’s Premier Writers Contest. This program is a writing contest that will result in publication. Winners will have their essays published in an anthology for the best first-year writing.

Associate professor of English Carmella Braniger is in charge of the endeavor. She said, “We are very excited about this new performance-learning opportunity for first-year students. We’ve been trying to think of a way to celebrate the work of first year writers across campus. With the tradition of Celebration of Scholarship strongly established on campus, this seemed the right time to try something new. We were very excited that English writing major, Brittany Mytnik, was interested in helping to launch the project.”

Mytnik is serving as an Undergraduate Research Fellow for the project. The Undergraduate Research Fellows program supports student-faculty partnerships on different academic projects. “[Mytnik] and I plan to present the development of this opportunity to teachers and scholars of composition and rhetoric at regional and national conferences in the discipline,” Braniger said.

“Dr. Braniger approached me with the idea for a first year essay contest over the summer as a fellowship opportunity, and I thought it was great! With a lot of brainstorming and advice from faculty and peers, the contest has evolved a lot, and should be a cool chance for first year students to get published and have their work recognized,” Mytnik said.

For more information, students can go to mpwcontest.wordpress.com. Students can start submitting now, and submissions close March 1.

“Creative or research essays written for a course at Millikin during a freshman’s first two semesters can be submitted, as long as the final draft turned into the contest is 10-15 pages long, Mytnik said. “The first step of the contest involves submitting an abstract of the essay by March 1. Students will be selected to move on from there, and they will present their essay in the Celebration of Scholarship on Apr. 26. Then, essays will be due the following week. We will choose approximately five winners to be published in an anthology that we are creating that will be released to the academic community.”

Students who choose to participate in the contest will have the opportunity to be published if they win.

“The idea is to produce a scholarly journal or anthology. It would come out in the spring of 2014. Winners will work with the editorial team in the fall of 2013 to prepare their manuscripts,” Braniger said.

Students who participate will be presenting at the Celebration of Scholarship day in April. “They will also work with the student-led editorial team to bring their work to near-professional quality before publication,” Braniger said.

Mynik is leading a student editing committee of upperclassmen who are helping the first-year students finalize and edit their work. They will also be reviewing the students’ work for the contest portion of the program. “The students chosen to present will do so at Celebration of Scholarship in April, and will submit their final essay for review by the editorial team. Winners will be chosen based on the quality of their presentations and essays,” Braniger said.

“Dr. Braniger and I wouldn’t be able to do this contest alone, so we recruited some upperclassmen English majors to help with decision making, assessing submissions, selecting winners and working with the winners on perfecting their essays to be publishing quality,” Mytnik said.

“I am very excited about the possibility of integrating this performance-learning opportunity into the University Studies Program. It’s just one more example of what makes a Millikin education unique,” Braniger said.

“I really hope that first year students take advantage of this opportunity. It isn’t very often that a chance to get published comes up during a person’s first year of college. And we’re making it as easy as we can for them to submit,” Mytnik said regarding her views on the contest.

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