Gala to honor exceptional student writing

April 30, 2015 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Lindsay Mahaney

After tireless efforts striking the keyboard and scrawling on paper all year, students will be recognized for their work by the Shapiro Foundation and the Department of English Language and Literature.

The Shapiro Writing Festival’s Gala Celebration and Award Ceremony will be held Friday, May 1, at 6 p.m. in the Libbey Hall dining room to honor the top winners of the Shapiro Annual Essay and Revision Contests.

The Essay Contest accepted submissions from students enrolled in English classes at The University of Toledo. There were 62 winners across 15 categories, including two new categories this year: Composition II Non-Research Writing and Graduate Language and Literature Essay.

Winners will receive cash prizes that totaled more than $10,000 this year.

“Students are really just pleased and delighted,” said Sara Yaklin, chair of the 2015 Shapiro Committee and senior lecturer of English. “The judges found in the work that was represented that many students went above and beyond in shaping and revising their submission.”

The top winners are:

Composition I Non-Research Writing

• Tyler Shipley
• Sarah Avina

Composition I Research Writing
• Melody Beerbower
• Zachary Moyer

Composition I Common Read Research Writing
• Yasmina Ahmad
• Cassidy Boyden

Composition II Non-Research Writing

• Andrew Krantz
• Olivia Velasquez

Composition II Research Writing

• Andrew Krantz
• Hunter Reinhart

Professional and Technical Writing
• Rebekah Meyers
• Kayla Tibbits

Undergraduate English as a Second Language
• Abdulrahman Alotaibi
• Turki Ahahmadi
• Rami Alnajdi
• Hun Jin Lee
• Yulexis Pacheco

• Mark Ramirez
• Tanasio Loudermill

• Morag Ann Hastie
• Tanasio Loudermill

2000-level Undergraduate Literature
• Austin Holmes
• Miranda Garczynski

3000- to 4000-level Undergraduate Literature
• Jessica Aberl
• Joe Heidenescher

2000- to 4000-level Writing or Linguistics Class

• Morag Ann Hastie
• Alison Mejias Santoro

Honors Thesis
• Melanie Krouse
• Yousra Medhkour
• Karly Pahl

Graduate Language and Literature Essay
• Hillarie Curtis

Top recipients of the Shapiro Essay Revision Contest and the Fern R. Kalmbach Memorial scholarship also will be honored. They are:

Shapiro Essay Revision Contest
• Andrea Tsatalis
• Ashley Teow
• Elissa Vaitkus
• Jessica Mysyk
• Christina Palmiero

Fern R. Kalmbach Memorial scholarship
• Benjamin Decatur
• Alfonso Zapata

The contest and gala are sponsored by the Shapiro Endowment Fund from Dr. Edward Shapiro, UT professor emeritus of economics, and the Department of English Language and Literature.

“The variety of genres in the submissions show how essential writing is, no matter what it is you’re doing,” Yaklin said. “This is a foundational ability to have and the Shapiro fund was intended to recognize that. Dr. Shapiro was in the Economics Department, but writing was his other passion. It’s really important to recognize the interdisciplinary nature of this contest — even students who are not English majors can win. It’s about recognizing good writing and we honor that.”

For more information contact Yaklin at

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