English department announces 2022 student awards

We’re excited to announce our 2022 scholarship and senior award winners, as well as the winners of our 2022 writing contest.

It’s been an especially challenging couple of years, so the perseverance of these students—maintaining a love for learning even in difficult circumstances—has been a great example to the departmental faculty.

2022 Scholarship awards

Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year have been awarded to the following students.

Bonnie C. Henzel Scholarship

Joseph Morgan

Rita K. Gollin Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature

Jessica Marinaro and Sarah Sharples

Jesse M. Rodgers Memorial Scholarship

Elizabeth Roos

Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship

Isaac Schiller

Hans Gottschalk Memorial Scholarship

Nevaeh Tucker

2022 Senior awards

Senior awards honor graduating students on the basis of input from departmental faculty, and making these decisions is always difficult. The following students are recognized for their exceptional achievements.

Calvin Israel Award for an outstanding academic record and strong support of the Humanities

Sophie Schapiro and Olivia Clare Schmidt

William T. Beauchamp Memorial Award for outstanding service to the vitality of literature on campus

Amina E. Diakite, Cassandra Pepe, and Georgia Katharine Ludwig VanDerwater

Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award for excellence in scholastic achievement and intellectual promise

Juliet Rose Wenzel

Joseph O’Brien Memorial Award for a demonstrated record of academic excellence and a spirit of volunteerism

Jose Romero and Hannah Sullivan

2022 Writing contest winners

Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing: INTD 105

Wyatt Hargrove, “Why Hemingway Is Relevant”

Honorable Mention: Iliana Papadopoulos, “I CAN. I WILL”

Jérome de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies

  1. Matt Keller, “A Not so ‘Swift’ Fix: Gulliver’s Travels Destabilizes the Fiction of Supremacist Standardized Language”
  2. Elizabeth Roos, “The Publishing of African Women’s Literature”
  3. Shawna Smith, “Review Essay: Aromantic /Asexual Representation in Media”

Research Paper

  1. Madyson Gillanders, “Shockwaves: America through the Eyes of a Non-American Black”
  2. Alissa Moeller, “The ‘Ugly Truth’ in A Burial at Ornans

Honorable Mention: Kathryn Sirianni, “Teaching Our Children the America We Never Knew”

John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay

Joseph Morgan, “Emotional Hyperbole in Aphra Behn’s The History of the Nun

Honorable Mention: Lauren Silverman, “Rape of the Lock and the Language of Rape Culture”

Self-Reflective Writing

  1. Patricia Figueroa, “The Game of Life: The American Dream House”
  2. Thalia Maynor, “Why She Talking Like That? Beauty and Brilliance in Black Language”

Creative Non-Fiction

  1. Joseph Morgan, “Fathers and Sons”
  2. Mollie McMullan, “Complications of Motherhood”
  3. Jason Ray, “Records”

Agnes Rigney Award in Drama and Screenwriting

  1. Patricia Figueroa, Don’t Go (Breaking My Heart)
  2. Anna Lynch and Susan Romance, Korea’s Sweetheart

Honorable Mention: Erika Powers, [title?]

Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction

  1. Hannah Lustyik, “Have You Ever Told Anyone You’re Rotting Inside?”
  2. Matt Keller, “A Submission”
  3. Alison DiCesare, “The Quiet Ones”

Mary Thomas Award in Poetry

  1. Jenna Murray, “she is not ready to tell me he is dead”
  2. Kayla Eyler, “I’m old, I’m so fucking old”
  3. Susan Romance, “Birth of Venus”

Roos and Burgio earn national recognition from Sigma Tau Delta

Elizabeth Roos and Carly Burgio received national recognition for their work at April’s annual convention of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta. Both junior English majors were selected for their awards from more than four hundred presenters at the Atlanta, Georgia event, where SUNY Geneseo was represented by six competitively selected students.

Carly, who studies English literature and adolescent education, received an honorable mention for the Beth DeMeo Poetry Award, presented for excellence in convention presentations for critical work on poetry or a poet. Carly’s paper, “Redefining the Image of Emily Dickinson,” examines the correspondence between Dickinson and her long-time friend and sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson, exploring how these letters support a new framework of queerness through which to study the Dickinsonian canon. Through a queer theory lens, Carly’s paper delves into the complexities of Dickinson’s personal life, the impact of editors on the literary canon, and the theme of expanding the canon to become a more inclusive space.

Elizabeth is on the creative writing track of the English major, with minors in film studies and medieval studies. She took second place in the Isabel Sparks President’s Award for Original Prose with her literary fiction “Hen Feathers.” The short story follows Leah, a young woman who lives with her husband Mitch and her three chickens: Charlotte, Gertrude, and Bernadette. When Leah finds Bernadette dead one morning, killed by a fox, she is forced to readdress how far she and Mitch have come since beginning their relationship in college, and whether her dreams for their relationship have remained the same over time. Elizabeth structures a smaller, tangible conflict to suggest a much larger, intangible conflict—in this case, the death of a beloved chicken reveals tension within a relationship.

The English department congratulates Carly and Liz on these national awards and we celebrate the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into both pieces!

All members of Sigma Tau Delta at Geneseo are invited to submit to the annual convention; next year’s will be held in Denver, Colorado.

Kennison Earns UUP’s Highest Honor

Headshot of Wes Kennison
Wes Kennison
Wes Kennison ’79, faculty fellow for international programs, was recently awarded the Nina Mitchell Award for Distinguished Service by United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union. It is the union’s highest honor.

Kennison received the award at the UUP Fall Delegate Assembly on Friday, Oct. 15.

UUP President Fred Kowal says that Kennison has consistently demonstrated consensus building, connecting different groups within the union to achieve contracts that represent everyone.

Kennison, whose several roles at Geneseo also include faculty fellow for the Office of International Programs, has been active in UUP for more than 25 years. The UUP publication The Voice noted Kennison’s involvement in the 2000 Negotiations Committee, serving as a representative for part-time faculty and staff and helping to secure them health insurance benefits. He continued to advocate for union members who are part-time as part of the UUP executive board and has been active in community service, including serving two terms as Geneseo town supervisor and chairing both Catholic Charities of Livingston County and SUNY Geneseo’s InterFaith Center.

English department announces 2020 student awards

We’re excited to announce our 2020 senior award winners and the winners of our annual writing contest.

2020 English Department Senior Awards

The end of spring semester traditionally is a time to honor, in person, the hard work and accomplishments of our graduating seniors. As believers in metaphor, the English Department won’t allow separation or measly screens to become an obstacle to celebration — for as Walt Whitman wrote, “a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” In this spirit the faculty recognize sustained excellence in literary studies through our senior awards. A couple of months not seeing these students in person remind us how much they have contributed to the vitality of our department during their time at Geneseo. Our congratulations!

William T. Beauchamp Memorial Award

Presented annually to a senior for outstanding service to the vitality of literature on campus.

Winner: Sean McAneny

Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award

Presented annually to a senior for excellence in scholastic achievement and intellectual promise.

Winners: Clio Lieberman, Margaret Pigliacelli, Brianna Riggio

Calvin Israel Award in the Humanities

Presented annually to a senior with an outstanding academic record and a strong support of the humanities.

Winners: Claire Corbeaux, Abigail Ritz, Helen Warfle

Joseph O’Brien Memorial Award

Presented annually to a senior English major who has exhibited those attributes exemplified in the life and career of our colleague Joe O’Brien: a demonstrated record of academic excellence, a spirit of volunteerism, and a sterling moral character.

Winners: Sandy Brahaspat, Julia Merante, Don Rothwein

2020 Geneseo Writing Contest

As physical journeys have narrowed during the coronavirus epidemic, many of us have become reacquainted with the power of writing to open up new spaces. The English Department has the pleasure of recognizing excellence in student critical, creative, and self-reflective writing though its annual writing contest. The contest is open to the whole campus, and this year’s winners, ranging from first-year students to graduating seniors, represent the following programs: the English Literature and Creative Writing tracks, Women and Gender Studies, Africana Studies, the Film Studies minor, Adolescent Education certification, the Edgar Fellows program, French, Philosophy, History, Anthropology, Communication, Geography, Psychology, Mathematics, Biology, and Physics. The winning entries were written for classes with ANTH, AMST, ENGL, FMST, HIST, HONR, and INTD 105 prefixes, and sometimes also produced by students writing outside class for the sheer love of language. Congratulations to all!

Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing: INTD 105


Sarah Fadlaoui, “Carlisle in the Great War”

Second place

Maria Pawlak, “Conformity in the United States and its Effect throughout the Twentieth Century”

Third place

Madisyn Pausley, “Parable of the Sower as a Warning for Climate Change”

Honorable mention

Nicole Lallier, “Human Migration: Displacement from Disaster”

Jérôme de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies


Brianna Riggio, “Can He See the Forest for the Trees?: The Eagle Tree

Second place

Sean McAneny, “Approaches to Teaching Age in King Lear

Research Paper


Rachel McLauchlin, “Maternal Horror: Women’s Bodies as Monstrosity in Macbeth

Second place

Claire Corbeaux, “The Threat of Greed and the Cultivation of Community”

Third place

Shannon Curley, “Space, History, and Tourism in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina”

Honorable mentions

  • Ashton McCormack, “Benefits of Entomophagy”
  • Alissa Moeller, “American Slavery and Historical Silences in the Journal of Women’s History

Self-Reflective Writing


Sean McAneny, “Addressing Slavery’s Legacy at the Academy”

Second place

Emma Short, “Fame, Fandom, & The Woman in the Spotlight”

Third place

Abigail Ritz, “This Is Paratext”

Honorable mentions

  • Claire Corbeaux, “Realizing Service Learning”
  • Brianna Riggio, “Ableist Constructions of Communication Disabilities and Identity”

John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay


Sean McAneny, “Against the King’s Two Bodies: Richard’s Corporeal Authority”

Second place

Claire Corbeaux, “Wuthering Heights, Quantum Entanglement, and Loving One Dead”

Third equal

  • Rosa Mesbahi, “Dismantling Dualisms: Exploring Agency and Victimhood in Purple Hibiscus
  • Abigail Ritz, “Disability as Doozy: Kurt Vonnegut’s Use of Disability as Metaphor in ‘Harrison Bergeron’”

Creative Non-Fiction


Aliyha Gill, “Sisters”

Second place

Kyle Navratil, “Into Base Camp”

Third equal

  • Hannah Fuller, “Promises”
  • Rosa Mesbahi, “October”

Agnes Rigney Award in Drama and Screenwriting


Patrick Donohue, “The Masque of the Red Death”

Second place

Ben Michalak, “FOLLOW THE PATH: A Twelve Day Immersive Theater Piece”

Mary A. Thomas Award in Poetry



Second place

Aliyha Gill, “Ruminations”

Third place

Sparrow Potter, “On the Slowing of the Universe”

Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction**


Laura Gikas, “Not Greek”

Second place

Brianna Riggio, Selection from “Elodie May”

Third place

Elizabeth Roos, “The Archeologist”

English department 2019 writing contest winners

The English department has announced the winners of its annual writing contest.

Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing

Winner: Alissa Moeller

John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay

Winner: Katelyn Sullivan
Honorable mention: Sean Welch

Jérome de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies

Winner: Autumn Piletz
Honorable mention: Elyse Manosh, DongWon Oh

Research Paper

Winner: David Beyea
Honorable mention: Victoria Cooke

Self-Reflective Essay

Winner: Sean Welch
Honorable mention: Katelyn Sullivan

Creative Non-Fiction

Winner: Torie Wiley
Honorable mention: Grace Gilbert, Sean Welch

Agnes Rigney Award in Drama and Screenwriting

Winner: Autumn Piletz
Honorable mention: Kristopher Bangsil, Brittany Pratt

Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction

Winner: Jen Galvao

Mary Thomas Award in Poetry

Winner: Grace Gilbert
Honorable mention: Natalie Hayes, Isabella Higgins

Leah Christman wins Fulbright

English major Leah Christman (’19) has won a prestigious U.S. Student Fulbright Award for 2019-20. Leah will travel to India, where her award will enable her to serve as a Fulbright-Nehru English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in either a middle or secondary school in a community to be determined by the United States-India Educational Foundation. The Fulbright Program is the highly competitive flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and citizens of other countries.

More in this SUNY Geneseo News story.

Lytton Smith’s chapbook wins contest

My Radar Data Knows Its Thing, a poetry chapbook authored by Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith, has been selected as the winner of the inaugural Foundlings Chapbook Contest and Artist Residency. The chapbook will be designed by guest book artist Steve Fitzmaurice, and Foundlings Press will publish Dr. Smith’s collection in mid-January 2018. Dr. Smith will complete a weekend residency at Hotel Henry in Buffalo this November. The four runners-up were Terez Peipins, Tige DeCoster, Benjamin Brindise, and George Guida. Dr. Smith’s chapbook includes poems about radio, radar and wireless, devised based on research visits supported by funds from the Office of the Provost. All the poems in the collection begin with or rewrite Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s famous novel opening, “It was a dark and stormy night…”

English Department Announces 2017 Writing Contest Winners

The English Department announced the winners of the annual Writing Contest for analytical and creative writing. Winners of the Writing Contest were recognized at the Department’s annual award ceremony held on Study Day. The Writing Contest is college-wide and students from all majors are encouraged to submit their analytical and creative writing for recognition.

Continue reading “English Department Announces 2017 Writing Contest Winners”

Zach Muhlbauer Selected For Phi Beta Kappa Writing Internship

Recent Geneseo graduate Zachary Muhlbauer (’17) has been awarded a six month writing internship with the national office of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honors society. As part of the internship, Zach will be writing articles for The Key Reporter, an integrative online newsletter run by Phi Beta Kappa.

During his time at Geneseo, Zach served as a Writing Learning Center tutor, a Writing Course Fellow, and president of Sigma Tau Delta. He graduated magna cum laude in May 2017 with a double major in English Literature and Philosophy.

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Evan Goldstein wins SUNY arts award

Graduating senior Evan Goldstein has been awarded the SUNY-wide Patricia Kerr Ross Award, administered by the New York Foundation on the Arts, for his poetry, photography, and his work with social justice/arts organizations such as Guerrilla, an on-campus arts group Evan founded which aims to put poetry in public spaces while working with under-represented groups. A recently-begun project involves outreach with the Geneseo Migrant Center.

The Patricia Ross Kerr Award helps bridge study at The State University of New York and first-time entry into a professional career in the creative or performing arts: namely music, theatre, dance, film and video, creative writing, and the visual arts. This award of $1,000 is given annually to an individual (or divided among two exceptional applicants) according to excellence, originality, and promise, and helps the recipient begin to make a career in the arts.