2015 Writing Contest Winners and Finalists


Personal Essay: “One Person Surviving Two Minds” by Melissa Grandison

Melissa Grandison is a senior majoring in psychology and Africana Studies with a minor in Educational Studies. She is on track to graduate in May 2017. Some of her interests include traveling, cooking, dancing and playing sports such as tennis and volleyball. Melissa’s most notable achievements include: maintaining Dean’s List status through all semesters of college, receiving the Dr. Seth Spellman Top Academic Achievement Award for her 3.96 GPA, as well as being a recipient of University at Albany’s President’s Award for Leadership.

During the spring semester of 2014, Melissa took WCI with Dr. Allison Craig. The first assignment for the class was to write a narrative essay inquiring into a personal survival-related experience. Although doubting her choice to write about such a personal topic, she decided to go through with composing her piece, which was about her experience living with a family member with bipolar disorder. She recalls her professor’s comments on her submitted assignment as “thoughtful, heartfelt, gut-wrenching, analytical, all in one”. Subsequently, she decided to submit it to Writing & Critical Inquiry’s Writing Contest. Her piece “One Person Surviving Two Minds” was not only the 1st place winner in our narrative inquiry section in April 2015, but is also now published in the International Journal of Literary Nonfiction. Melissa considers this essay to be her greatest accomplishment in her academic career. As a result, she now co-teaches every semester alongside Professor Craig as a Peer Mentor for WCI with the hopes of showing others how profound this course is and encouraging them to take risks with their writing as they will appreciate their growth in the end.

Analysis: “The Distorted Perfect Image” by Stuti Misra

Argument/Conversation: “Debate Wars, the Clone Wars” by Sara Camacho

Personal Essay:

"The Accident" by Greg Zimmerman
"At the Dining Table" by Madeeha Khan

"Death with Dignity" by Matthew Cattani
"Humanization through Education" by Ben Serenka

"Hypocrisy of Hypocrisy: Intelligence and Drug Use" by Sean Smith
"The Purpose of Amabelle's Dreams: Collective Trauma and the Power of Recorded History" by Naomi McPeters