English Students Take Top Awards at Regional Conference

Written by Laura Paskin
May 2, 2013

English majors Jennifer Bray (right), who graduated in March, and senior Susie Chinisci (left) took top awards at the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature (NUCL). Bray, who majored in literature and minored in anthropology, received the Brass NUCL Award for Best All-Around Paper for her essay “Contingent Veiling: Orientalism and an Attempt to Re-make Understandings of Veiled Women in the West.” Chinisci, a creative writing major who graduates in June, was awarded Best Personal Essay for “Things My Brother Has.” The April conference and competition are sponsored by the University of Portland.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said English Department Chair Maria Bullon-Fernandez. “The conference has become increasingly competitive. Only a limited number of paper proposals were selected to be read at the conference.”

After being accepted into the competition, Bray and Chinisci read their papers before a group of students, faculty, and guests followed by a discussion period.

The quality of submissions stood out for Bray and Chinisci.

“I enjoyed meeting other students who took their work seriously,” Bray said. “It was a great opportunity for all of us to share our work.”

“The topics, varying styles, and creativity were inspirational,” Chinisci added. “I was motivated by hearing other people’s works.”

Submissions fell into four categories:  argumentative scholarly papers on American, British, or World literature, analytical/ interpretive papers that present a well-supported argument aware of the influence on it of the contemporary cultural context, original poems, and original essays. More than 100 students attended the conference.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate majors, 37 minors, and 7 master’s degrees. The English Department offers degrees in literature, creative writing, and film studies.