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UWGB students advance in scholarship competition

Cait Heitman, Assistant Life Editor
February 27, 2013
Filed under Life

The eighth annual Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship competition panel for UW-Green Bay recently chose its two winning essayists: Andrea Reisenauer, junior English and Spanish major, and Paula Miller, junior public administration and political science major.

Reisenauer and Miller each won a $500 scholarship and will be advancing in the next round of judging among the participating universities in the UW System.

The Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship competition is part of the UW System’s partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities in the Liberal Education and America’s Promise Campaign. LEAP Wisconsin is an initiative of the University of Wisconsin System that seeks to increase understanding of the value and purpose of liberal education for UW students and Wisconsin citizens.

“The Liberal Arts Essay Contest was started as a way to generate interest and the importance of the liberal arts in higher education,” said Dean Scott Furlong, a member of the selection panel. “The essay is important for students to really begin to think about their education from a fuller perspective than just a set of classes. It tries to get them to think about the whole educational opportunity that has been provided to them.”

The essay topic for this year’s submission was geared toward civic discourse, such as the issues related to the presidential election and the governor’s race in Wisconsin.

The prompt for this year’s essay asked for students to talk about how their liberal arts educations have helped them process, develop and make political decisions in a time of political change, Reisenauer said.

“I wrote about how my experiences and education here at Green Bay have helped to do this by keeping me aware of what’s going on, learning to be able to see and understand different views, exposing me to a variety of people and ideas and overall helping to mold me into a more positive, informed member of society,” Reisenauer said. “I used examples from my classes, on-campus job and social life here at Green Bay.”

Miller also wrote about her increased awareness.

“The main message of my essay is that there is much more going on in life than each of us realizes,” Miller said. “By meeting a wider variety of people and learning more about a variety of subjects I’ve become more aware. It has taught me to look at more than just what is on the surface, whether it’s a human being or a mountain range.”

For the winning essays, the panel of judges were looking for an essay that was not only well written, but also unique.

Like any essay, the panel of judges looked for an answer to the question and to see that the message conveyed appropriate in writing and grammar. They  were also looking for a good flow in the organization of the essay, Furlong said.

“In our context, in terms of UWGB because of our interdisciplinary mission, we did look and see how they might incorporate different ideas and perspectives,” Furlong said. “That’s the differentiation that we have at UW-Green Bay compared to the other campuses that run the contest.”

In moving on to the next round of judging, both recipients are looking forward to the opportunity and find it to be important in their educational careers.

“I feel excited and honored that my essay will be moving on to the next round of judging, and I’m very thankful for this opportunity, even if this does sound cliche,” Reisenauer said. “Scholarship programs and contests like this are what have helped me pay for my education, and I think they’re wonderful and very helpful for students.”

Miller is also excited for the next round.

“I’m proud of what I wrote, and it is very rewarding to have work that you have done appreciated by others,” Miller said. “It gives me encouragement to keep plugging along.”

Reisenauer and Miller will be sent forward to a reception held in Madison along with the other students that the UW colleges submit as a group. There will be approximately 30 to 40 essays, and the scholarship prize at this level is $2,000 to the three winning essays.