Dr. Liz Ahl

When we speak of putting learners at the centers of our classrooms and enabling them to be active participants (rather than passive recipients) in their education, we owe a debt to Women’s Studies.
- Dr. Liz Ahl, from her 2005 Kalikow Award acceptance speech.

Sally Boland Essay Prize

Awarded by the Plymouth State University Women’s Studies Council

A cash prize of $200 will be awarded in the Spring  for the best scholarly essay or paper which addresses a topic or theme related to Women’s Studies as a discipline and/or to the lives and work of women. A $100 prize will be awarded to one runner-up, and four $25 Honorable Mentions may also be given.

An essay need not to have been written for a specific course, and may be from any area or discipline, so long as its scholarly focus is connected to and/or informed by women’s studies. By “scholarly,” we mean to indicate work which is research-based, or analytical, or thesis driven — work which contributes in some way to academic discourse. Examples of such essays might include: literary analysis of the major work of a woman writer; research paper about the biology of gender; a media analysis paper focusing on women’s roles in film and television; historical research paper focusing on women in the United States Senate. Many possibilities exist, of course; if you are uncertain about whether your essay meets the criteria for “scholarship,” submit it nonetheless.

Essays should be typed, double-spaced, and carefully edited. One clean copy should be submitted. The essays are blind-reviewed by a team of faculty members; the faculty members will not know the names of the authors when they are evaluating and judging the papers. Therefore, the paper must have a separate title page with the title of the paper, name of the author, and contact information. The first page of the paper should have the title repeated at the top of the page. The author’s name should appear no place in the paper except the title page. Essay authors must be currently enrolled undergraduate PSU students.  If you have previously submitted work for the Sally Boland Scholarly Essay Prize, please do not resubmit it unless extensive revisions have been made. Rubrics can be found here.


Spring 2015 Submission Deadline: March 6
Papers may be submitted electronically to rlbusanich@plymouth.edu with the subject heading “Sally Boland Essay Contest”. If you have any questions, you may contact  Dr. Busanich via email  or contact any member of the Women’s Studies Council.

This prize is sponsored by the Women’s Studies Council and by the Writing Across the Curriculum program.

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