Winners and honourable mentions from this year's SLC Writing Contest: Austyn Johnson, Ethan Gibson, Hannah Stanley, Angela Starnamen, Stefanie Matos, and Carina McDonald. Not pictured: Puck Overhaart, Abigail Herd, Kendra Wong, Jennifer Krentz, Sophia Angelica Dobischok, and Cassandra Mah.


Undergrad students across FASS earn top honours in 2019 Student Learning Commons Writing Contest

March 09, 2020

Congratulations to students from across the university and especially across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) who took home top honours in the 3rd Annual 2019 Student Learning Commons (SLC) Writing Contest! 

This year’s winners included Austyn Johnson (Communications and Sociology), Ethan Gibson (English), Puck Overhaart (Political Science), Angela Starnaman (Psychology), Hannah Stanley (Sociology and English), and Jennifer Krentz (Psychology and Criminology). 

Every year, the SLC invites students from across the university to submit papers to the contest not only to celebrate excellence in student writing, but to help students “get more” out of their academic writing. 

“We often hear from students that they work so hard on an assignment and are disappointed that only one person (the professor or the TA) reads it,” says SLC Writing Services Coordinator Julia Lane. “The SLC wants students to know that they can do more with their academic writing and can find opportunities to share it, publish it and circulate it within the academy and beyond. Our writing contest is just one such opportunity.” 

While cash prizes are awarded to the top three papers in the lower division and upper division categories, all winning papers and honourable mentions are published in the SLC Open Journal, hosted by the SFU Public Knowledge Project

SLC has built a database of excellent undergraduate writing through the online publication of the winning entries. Lane says the publication  shows undergraduate students what is possible in their writing and provides them with strong samples to inspire them to strive further in their writing. 

Austyn Johnson, a first-place winner in the lower division category, says earning top place in the competition is a great honour. 

“As a Métis student at SFU, and as a student that has had to overcome countless barriers just to attend here, I believe it stands to show how arbitrary our barriers are,” Johnson says.

Congratulations again to all the students who placed in the competition! The full list of winning papers and honourable mentions is available on the SLC website

Lower Division Category:

1st place: Austyn Johnson (Communications and Sociology), Medicinal, Cultural, and Spiritual Relationships between British Columbia First Nations and Oplopanax horridus, (originally written for Robert Bandringa’s First Nations Studies 332 course, Ethnobotany of British Columbia First Nations)

2nd place: Ethan Gibson (English),“How Art Thou a King?”: Machiavelli and the Failure of Shakespeare’s Richard II, (originally written for Dr. Torsten Kehler’s English 311 course, Shakespeare and the Politics of Dissembling)

3rd place: Puck Overhaart (Political Science), Members’ Privilege: The Influence of EU Membership and Accession on LGBT+ Rights Protection in Croatia and Serbia, (originally written for Dr. Clare McGovern’s Political Science 330 course Protecting Human Rights: Courts, Constitutions and Legislatures)

Upper Division Category: 

1st place: Angela Starnaman (Psychology), How Food Shaming Meat Eaters Hinders Rather than Helps the Fight Against Climate Change, (originally written for Dr. Michael Schmitt’s Psychology 461/960 course, Critical Social Psychology of Climate Change)

2nd place: Hannah Stanley (English), Stereotypes and Silence: Coerced Indigenous Sterilization and the Canadian Media, (originally written for Dr. Sophie McCall’s English 359 course, Studies in the Literature of British Columbia)

3rd place: Jennifer Krentz (Psychology and Criminology), Separation and Stigma: The Negative Impacts of Parental Incarceration on their Children, (originally written for Dr. Danielle Murdoch’s Criminology 343 course, Correctional Practice)