English Major Awards 2020

Writing Prizes

Chesler Prize for Excellence in Writing

Margaret Johnson
“Predators as Family: Animal Representation in Anishinaabe Traditional Stories”

“Margaret Johnson’s passion for animals and their uncertain fate in our endangered planet is only equaled by her desire to learn about alternative ways of thinking about, and managing, our environment. A student of the Ojibwe language, Margaret is putting the finishing touches on a great Senior Honors thesis on the literary representation of animals in the indigenous traditions of northern Wisconsin. Margaret is interested in pursing Environmental Studies at the graduate level, which should give all hope for the future. Congratulations, Margaret!” – Mario Ortiz-Robles, Professor

William F. Vilas Prizes

Heather Erickson
“A Defense of Fiction: Utopia framed by Sidney”

“It has been such a joy to get to know you and work with you over the last two years. You are a brilliant person and a graduate that the English department can be truly proud of. This essay was excellent, and I have very high hopes for the honors thesis that you are well on the way to finishing as I write this note. I am just sorry that I can’t be there to congratulate you, your classmates, and your family in person. We are all very proud of Heather’s many accomplishments.” – Elizabeth Bearden, Professor

Eli Knapp 
“Ne Wes Ther Swich Another”: Idealization and the Power of Language in The Canterbury Tales

“Eli, many congratulations on this prize for your nuanced, thoughtful, and creative analysis of Chaucer’s poetics, which convincingly demonstrates the multiple ways in which the poet both stakes a claim for the value of language and storytelling and reveals the potential for their misuse. Well done!” – Lisa Cooper, Professor

Helen Black Bennett Prize

Matthew Eriole
“Endless, Convoluted Incest: The Smog-like Toxicity of Textualism in The Crying of Lot 49

“Matt wrote this essay in my course on Thomas Pynchon, a notoriously challenging postmodern novelist. Throughout the course, Matt distinguished himself by his sophisticated, original, and close engagement with Pynchon’s novels. Matt brought intellectual and personal passion to the course material. His essay offers a beautifully written analysis of the relation between ecological concerns and textual dynamics in Pynchon’s early novel, The Crying of Lot 49. Congratulations, Matt!” – David Zimmerman, Professor

James T. Lewis Prizes

Kelley Schlise
“Dimensions of Femininity in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“Warm congratulations to Kelley Schlise, who combines keen perception with artful prose in her outstanding essay. The paper traces Joyce’s evolving sense of art and eros, from Stephen Dedalus’s earliest memories (the “kiss” at Clongowes) to the Mariolatry involved in his reading of the Litany of Our Lady, to his more mature encounters with E. C. Treating the woman of the Ballyhoura Hills as paradigmatic of Ireland is especially evocative and looks forward to the figure of Mother Ireland, who becomes a central motif in Ulysses.” – Richard Begam, Professor

Alanna Goldstein
“Genderqueer Futurity in Urania and The Old Arcadia

“It was a true pleasure to work with you on this final project. You always took criticism very well, striving to make your work as strong as possible. You’re a passionate scholar and activist, and it shines through in your excellent work. I wish you peace and health and hope that we cross paths again soon.” – Elizabeth Bearden, Professor

Outstanding Digital Media Project Prize

Zhaojie Zhong
“Vessels of Virtue and Vice: The Representations of Women in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

“Zoe, many congratulations on this prize for your finely curated response to Chaucer’s images of women, a project that so beautifully uses digital tools to explore the close interrelationship of the verbal and visual arts in the late medieval period while also revealing the persistence of gendered tropes through time. Beautifully done!” – Lisa Cooper, Professor

Scholarships and Awards

The Helen C. White Award & Vivian Mowry English Scholarship

Margaret Johnson
“Margaret Johnson is a dedicated English and Environmental Studies double major who has used her talents to make a difference on campus and beyond. As a Writing Fellow, Margaret offers substantive, thoughtful feedback to her peers on their writing. As a scholar, Margaret has conducted original research on the relationship between theory and practice in writing studies (which she presented at an international conference) and has written an ambitious honors senior thesis on how animals figure in traditional Ojibwe stories. Congratulations, Margaret, on all of your hard work and success.” – Emily Hall, Director, Writing Fellows Program, and Interim Co-director, UW-Madison Writing Center

Madeline Peterson
“Madeline Peterson is an incredibly generous student. She provides substantive feedback to her peers on their writing as a Writing Fellow; she volunteers as a Second Language tutor for UW- Madison’s Cultural Linguistic Services; and she helps teach a conversational English class for visiting scholars to the University. She is the Managing Editor for the Madison Journal of Literary Criticism, which publishes undergraduate scholarship in literature, and is on the fiction staff for the Madison Review. Madeline is also an exceptional scholar who has conducted and presented important research on how writing tutors can best support multilingual writers. Congratulations, Madeline, and thank you for all you have contributed to campus.”– Emily Hall, Director, Writing Fellows Program, and Interim Co-director, UWMadison Writing Center

Dorothy Classen Urish Award

Lauren Hartman
“Lauren Hartman is a talented English major who has generously shared her skills as a writer with her peers in her role as an Undergraduate Writing Fellow. Lauren offers thoughtful and supportive comments on student papers and holds individual conferences with students to help them revise their papers. She gives her peers a fresh set of eyes and a willing ear to engage their ideas. Lauren also supports her peers at the UW-Madison Career Exploration Center. Congratulations, Lauren, on your success as a student and thank you for your service to the University.” – Emily Hall, Director, Writing Fellows Program, and Interim Co-director, UW-Madison Writing Center

English Undergraduate Scholarship

Hajjar Baban
“Hajjar is an extraordinary student, and I believe she was writing close to graduate level poetry in her freshman year. I first met Hajjar through the First Wave Scholarship Program. I taught an entry-level creative writing workshop for this program, which supports students with unique creative abilities, who come from underrepresented communities. As a high school senior, Hajjar was named the Youth Poet Laureate in Detroit, and in her first year in Madison, she was named as runner-up for the National Youth Poet Laureate competition. After first reading her work, I realized I needed to design a completely different lesson plan around her abilities. Hajjar’s understanding of form and voice is totally original. Her first drafts were so far beyond her classmates’ work, she was completely dependent on my office hours to receive appropriate feedback. Honestly, I could only offer praise.”– Amaud Johnson, Professor

Auttum Bowen
“Auttum Bowen brings a solid set of credentials: her high GPA , a passion for the environment, and her ability to thoughtfully consider the complex challenges that we face both on campus and in our world today. We in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies selected her as a member of the Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP), so we know her well. This past year, she completed a service project at Slow Food that demonstrated her ability to work hard as a member of a team.” – Cathy Middlecamp, Professor

First Generation College Student Award

Hajjar Baban

Mary Brabyn Wackman Scholarships

Max Herteen
“Congratulations, Max! Max Herteen is one of the wittiest undergraduates I’ve ever taught, and I mean that literally: he wrote a great paper in English 345 on Austen’s use of wit in Emma that didn’t kill the jokes, and an equally accomplished paper on irony in Eliot’s Middlemarch that showed how role reversals tend to have a corrective effect on characters’ ambitions. His generous reflections on various discussion boards during the pandemic have only confirmed for me that Max’s wit is both convivial and instructive. Well deserved!” – Mario Ortiz-Robles, Professor

Lila Hicks Furber Scholarship

Carter Olson
“Congratulations on the scholarship wins, Carter!! I’m impressed with all you’ve done, and I look forward to hearing more about your achievements in the future. Keep up the fantastic work!” – Kristina Huang, Professor

Helen Black Bennett Memorial Scholarship

Sam Wood
“Sam was one of the most involved first-year students I’ve ever worked with (in deep, authentic ways, not just amassing club memberships) and is continuing that dedication in his second year. He is thriving at this University and contributing significantly to the culture and community of this campus. For that, he greatly deserves to be recognized.” – Dr. Tom Bryan

Carl Zuleger
“I taught Carl in the fall of 2019 in an upper-level Protest Literature course, and he impressed me with his creativity and engagement. In a class of active participants, Carl still stood out as particularly enthusiastic. He was always prepared and showed curiosity and insight. Carl’s presentation on his final project will long stand out as one of the most moving and impactful of my teaching career!” – Dr. Sarah Wood

McMynn Williams Scholarship

Auttum Bowen

Sam Wood

Carl Zulegar