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April 17, 2008

ULM announces Summer Reader Best Essay Contest winners

President James Cofer presented awards to winners of the Summer Reader Best Essay Contest April 15 in the University of Louisiana at Monroe Library.

The essay contest was held in conjunction with ULM’s Summer Reading program, which is designed to introduce first-year students to intellectual exchange at ULM.

Freshman English students wrote essays based on the summer reading book "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder, focusing their essays on social justice, global-issues consciousness, and community service.

Winners are:

First Place: "Taking a Stand in the Prevention of AIDS" by Krystal Lynne Lee, a pre-toxicology major from West Allis, Wis. Her instructor was Angela Pinckard.

Of the book Lee said, “I strongly believe that Mountains Beyond Mountains was an exceptional choice for the summer reading book. Farmer has an incredible scope of work, and Kidder portrays his compassion for those less fortunate in a truly memorable way. The book presents a very strong message to students and is an excellent source of inspiration; it truly demonstrates that one person can make a difference in our world and in the lives of others.”

2nd Place: “Big Brother to the World” by Connie Point, a history major from Pineville. Her instructor was Dr. Bob Holloway.

Point said, ““Mountains Beyond Mountains opened my eyes to the plight of the Haitians, but it also exposed just how ineffective the current system for distributing foreign aid is. This is why my essay was dedicated to showing ways in which America can improve its efficiency when delivering aid to countries truly in need.”

3rd Place: “Healing Haiti” by Ashley Elizabeth Stephens, a kinesiology freshman from Daphne, Ala. Her instructor was James Pettit.

Stephens said, “I am inspired to help people who are in need, even if it is in a small way, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Paul Farmer and the people who worked for him.”

Judges for the contest were Judy Bennett, Rick Capezza and Allison Loftin.

The contest also worked in partnership with a University of Louisiana System Learn and Serve service-learning grant awarded to the university, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Chris Harris, assistant professor of English, and Barbara Michaelides, director of University Retention.

The English 101 essays addressed the academic, learning side, while students in the Freshman Year Seminars conducted a community service project that raised over $5,000 for the Red Cross, in the spirit of hurricane relief.

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