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Essay Prize and Winners

SHC Essay Prize

Each year SHC offers a prize of $200 for the best undergraduate essay, paper, or thesis that treats science, medicine, or technology in some historical, philosophical, or social context. The paper needs to have been written within the past year (that is, in the last year’s spring quarter, or in the fall, winter, or spring quarters of the current academic year). It does not have to be from an SHC approved course.

Students may nominate their own papers by presenting them to the SHC director by the end of the sixth week of the spring quarter each year. The prize committee will be constituted by the director of SHC, and the committee reserves the right to not award the prize in a given year or to choose more than one deserving candidate. Each recipient will receive $200.

The essay should be submitted to the program administrator, Janet Hundrieser, at jh744@northwestern.edu by 5:00pm on May 7, 2021.

SHC Certificate of Honor

Each year SHC offers a prize of $200 to the SHC adjunct major or minor who has demonstrated exemplary science studies citizenship and service at Northwestern. Students may nominate themselves, preparing a short write-up of the activities and events they have organized and presenting it to the SHC director by the end of the sixth week of spring quarter of each year. The prize committee will be constituted by the director of SHC, and the committee reserves the right not to award the prize in a given year or to choose more than one deserving candidate. Each recipient will receive $200.

 

2021

amanda-davis-168x210.jpgAmanda Davis is co-winner of the 2021 SHC essay prize for her senior thesis entitled “The History of a Graph: The STEM Gender-Equality Paradox and the People Who Made It."  written under the direction of Prof. Sepehr Vakil (SESP).  This closely analyzed thesis exposes the faulty assumptions behind the “gender-equality paradox” in STEM/ICT education, which purports to find that more gender-equal countries have relatively fewer female students graduating in STEM/ICT fields than do countries with less gender equality.  Using a mix of historical, ethnographic, and statistical techniques, the thesis situates the paradox in its social and political context, documenting its analytic and intellectual limits, and then uses IRB-approved interviews with Moroccan women who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science to show how poorly the paradox matches their experiences.

daniel-kiefus-168x210.pngDaniel Kiefus is co-winner of the 2021 SHC essay prize for his senior thesis entitled "Outrage and Inaction: How the United States Justifies Extraction and Poisoning on Diné (Navajo) Lands,” written under the direction of Prof. Doug Kiel (History).  This closely analyzed and persuasive thesis uses the framework of settler colonialism to chronicle the economic and environmental devastation experienced by the Diné peoples over the past 80 years at the hands of the coal and uranium extractive industries. His thesis documents  repeated failures of the U.S. government and corporate bodies to address the environmental harms done in Navajo lands, and argues that only tribal sovereignty can mitigate these harms to prevent future ones.

generic-placeholder-168x210.jpgAnna Yang recieved the SHC Certificate of Honor as a first-generation college student for her sustained commitment to equity, especially in the fields of global medicine and health.  In addition to her course work in SHC and Anthropology, she is an active leader in GlobeMed, as well as the co-founder of ExChange (advocating for equity for first gen students on NU campus) and Global Engagement Review (to address the challenges of “voluntourism”).  

 

 

2020 

anna-yang-168x210-final.jpgAnna Yang won the SHC student essay prize for her essay, "The Social Etymology of Trauma and Victimhood: A Case Study of the Border Crisis". This superbly written and clear essay presents a constructivist approach to victimhood, organized around the way that expert responses to migrant trauma reflect their sociopolitical context on the one hand, and influence public perceptions on the other.  The essay skillfully combines dispassionate analysis and passionate engagement.

 

 

akshar-168x210.jpgAkshar Thakkar received the SHC student certificate of honor prize for his exemplary citizenship of this program, Northwestern University, and the wider community. 

He has served on the dean’s advisory council and the dean’s search committee for the School of Communication, and on Northwestern’s Cancer Outreach Prevention Program, as well as volunteered to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  This award acknowledges his selfless civic engagement.

 

 

2019

ashorne-mahenthiran-168x210.jpgAshorne Mahenthiran won the SHC student essay prize for his essay, “The Ethics of Embryos: An Evaluation of Whether Embryonic Stem Cell Research Should be Federally Funded.”

 

 

 

 

christina-shehata-168x210.jpgChristina Shehata received the SHC student certificate of honor prize for her work as the program’s representative to the WCAS Student Advisor Board, as a co-director of the Community Health Corp. and as a member of the Executive Board of GlobalMed.

 

 

 

 

2018

Shan Chen Pu and Mariel Soto Reyes received certificates of honor for their contributions as Student Advisory Board representatives.

 

2017

Rui Zhou Certificate of Honor for his contributions as a Student Advisory Board representative for SHC and his active participation in so many of SHC's events

 

2016

Erik Baker for his SHC honors thesis, “Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi : Consensus, Credibility, and Concern in the History of HIV/AIDS Origins Research” (Adviser: Steven Epstein)

 

2015

Anna Cassell, Essay Prize for her interdisciplinary honors thesis “‘Something is Really Wrong’: Evaluating Concussions and Early Retirement in Women’s Collegiate Soccer” (Advisers: Mark Sheldon and Helen Schwartzman)

Didi Odinkemelu, Certificate of Honor for her contributions as a Student Advisory Board representative for SHC and her work with the director on SHC special events.

 

2014

Stephanie Hong for her honors thesis, “Truth in Advertising? Owning ‘Public Interest’ in Congressional Debates Over Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA)” (Adviser: Mariana Craciun)

Mark Specht for his honors thesis, “The Moral Philosophies of Scientists” (Adviser: Mark Sheldon)

Chloe Woodhouse for her honors thesis, “Evaluating Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records: Does EMR Support Doctor-Doctor Communication in Referrals for Surgery?” (Adviser: Steve Epstein)

 

2013

Ari Lederman for his essay, "Containerization and Its Discontents: Opening American Globalization's Technology Black Box."

Amy Mangum for her essay, "Electronic Health Records: Transforming Health Care Delivery in America"

 

2012

Cari Romm for her SHC honors thesis, "'A Place Like This to Share How I Feel': Negotiating Stigma in Narratives of Abortion"

Chloe Woodhouse for her essay, "The Sexual Psychopath: Psychiatry and Law in the Treatment of Sex Offenders from 1930-1960"

 

2011

Marissa Konstadt for her SHC honors thesis, "H.G. Wells and the Popularization of the Scientific Method through Fiction

Benjamin Reisman for his essay, "Risks and Benefits: History and Policy Implications of FDA Reform, 1906-2010"

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