Two Weissman Students Named Co-Winners of the 2012 Berlfein Prize

This year the Berlfein Prize for Best Undergraduate Nonfiction Writing has been split between two co-winners.

Read Whitney Porter's essay here.

Whitney Porter won for “Overcoming Distorted Illusions: Examining the Latina Struggle with Body Image and Self-Perception in American Culture,” a piece originally completed for the Fall 2011 Feit Seminar: Translating Between Worlds, taught by Professors Esther Allen and Professor Carla Bellamy. Final revisions were completed under the guidance of Professor Bellamy. Whitney is a Junior in the Macaulay Honors College and is majoring in English Literature and minoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. She moved to New York from Akron, Ohio and plans to pursue the study of English Literature in graduate school and beyond.

Read Christopher Taruc's essay here.

Christopher Taruc won for “The Scarred and Fragmented: Bodies in Beloved,” completed under the guidance of Professor Donald Mengay. Christopher is in his final year as an English literature major with a minor in Psychology. He plans to continue his love of literature and literary theory in graduate school “in the hope of someday being as impactful an educator as Professor Mengay has been to him.”

The competition, which was held for the first time in Spring 2010, was open to students enrolled in a variety of upper-level courses. Entries were submitted by the students themselves with the consent of the supervising faculty member, who in each case agreed to oversee the revision of the essay. A committee of faculty judges reviewed the entries and identified five finalists. Each finalist received a prize of $100, and the two co-winners divided a prize of $1,000.

The other three finalists, listed alphabetically, were as follows:

Devon Chiappetta (Prof. Vilna Bashi-Treitler), “International Development or Twenty-First Century Colonialism?”

Sherese Francis (Prof. Andrew Tomasello), “Madonna, ‘The Great Appropriator’: Racial and Cultural Representation in Madonna's Career”

Rikki SaNogueira (Prof. Donald Mengay), “Entombed Phallus and Purged Femininity: The Inadequacy of Sexual Organs to Define and Determine Gender in Billy Budd“

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