Shapiro Revision Essay Contest to take place Feb. 18-21

February 12, 2013 | UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Casey Cheap

Good writers are not confined to English majors.

Starting Monday, Feb. 18, undergraduates across campus will have the chance to prove just that by competing for a $500 award in the annual Shapiro Essay Revision Contest.

“This has become a really popular contest and students look forward to it,” said Dr. Deborah Coulter-Harris, associate lecturer of English. “This year we would like to see more medical and engineering students, students in the sciences.”

Coulter-Harris said there was a conscious effort to accommodate the schedules of students by holding the event over four days.

“All students have to do is bring a pen, dictionary and thesaurus, and arrive with their student ID,” Coulter-Harris said.

There will be five judges evaluating the work of students who have two hours to complete the 750- to 800-word essay. In addition to the $500 grand prize, there will be $400, $300, $200, $100 and 10 $75 cash awards.

The contest is open to all majors and classes of students, although three awards are guaranteed to freshmen and three to sophomores. Students from nearly all academic departments have won the contest in recent years.

Coulter-Harris said that when she started overseeing the contest six years ago, there were only about 10 entries, but in recent years, there have been close to 200 participants.

Listed by date, the Shapiro Essay Revision Contest will take place:

• Monday, Feb. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m.;

• Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.;

• Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.;

• Thursday, Feb. 21, from noon to 2 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

All sessions will be held in Memorial Field House Room 2420.

“The Shapiro Essay Revision Contest has been going on for many years,” said Dr. Sara Lundquist, associate professor and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature. “I hope a lot of people will come out and participate in it.”

In addition to the Shapiro Essay Revision Contest, there will be a Shapiro II Contest, which allows students currently enrolled in an English Department class to submit an essay of their choosing for a prize up to $300.

Students can submit hard copies of their essays for the Shapiro II Contest in Memorial Field House Room 1500 until Friday, March 15.

“I want to thank all of the people who made this happen,” Coulter-Harris said. “I am surrounded by wonderful friends and colleagues who all work together for a common goal, and that is the success of our students.”

The contests are named after Dr. Edward Shapiro, professor emeritus of economics, who retired from UT in 1989. Shapiro donated funds in order to recognize students for good writing.

Anyone with questions regarding the Shapiro Essay Revision Contest or the Shapiro II Contest can contact Coulter-Harris at 419.530.4416 or

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