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2014 Shearn Writing Award Winners Named

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    Emily Ammon and Kyle Allen won the 2014 Shearn Award for best paper in the Division of Natural Sciences. The two are shown here working with kinesiology professor Scott McLean (right).

Papers written for classes in kinesiology, sociology, Spanish and theatre each bring their authors $1,000

Papers written for classes in kinesiology, sociology, Spanish and theatre have earned Southwestern students prizes of $1,000 each.

The prizes are for the 2014 Shearn Writing Award, which recognizes an exemplary paper  from each of Southwestern’s four divisions.

In the Division of Humanities, Jacob Brown won the award for his paper titled “Entre tígueres y padres ausentes: la representación estereotipada del hombre dominicano en las películas españolas ‘I Love You Baby’ y ‘Flores de otro mundo.’” Brown wrote the paper for his Gender, Race and Nationalism in Spanish Cinema class taught by Katy Ross, assistant professor of Spanish. 

“Jacob’s essay, in addition to being beautifully written in a language other than English, showed remarkable intellectual rigor,” Ross said. “His work offers a new perspective, absent in the scholarly literature in this field. His essay represents the best of interdisciplinary humanities work by demonstrating cross-cultural analysis of masculinity and stereotypes.”

Brown graduated in May with a double major in English and Spanish, and a minor in Race and Ethnicity Studies. He plans to teach English in Madrid, Spain, beginning in September.

Brown decided to give his award money to Southwestern’s Office of Diversity Engagement in honor of the contributions he feels the office makes to the university.

“The Office of Diversity Education has had a strong, positive impact on my Southwestern experience, especially during my last year,” Brown said. “Giving back is my way of saying thanks to the people who make a difference on campus through the office’s activities and through the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice. Without diversity education my paper would not have been possible.”

In the Division of Fine Arts, Andja Budincich won the award for her paper titled “Clothes Make the (Wo)man: Gender, Costume, and Gestic Performance in The Good Person of Szechwan.”Budincich wrote the paper for the Theatre capstone class taught by Kerry Bechtel, associate professor of theatre.

Bechtel said students in the class were encouraged to find ways to connect their interests in multiple disciplines to the topic of Bertolt Brecht and Epic Theatre. “Andja’s paper stands out because she was able to combine feminist theory with theatrical performance and social dress mores and relate it back to the capstone topic,” Bechtel said. “She formulated her own distinctive theory on gender performance informed and supported by her research on feminist and performance theory. There is a sophistication to her research, ideas and writing style not often found at the undergraduate level.”

Budincich also won Southwestern’s 2014 Fayez Sarofim Passion for the Arts Award. She will be entering graduate school for costume design at the North Carolina School of the Arts this fall.

In the Division of Natural Sciences, Kyle Allen and Emily Ammon won the award for their paper titled “Biomechanical & Physiological Effects of Stride Rate Manipulation in Shoes with Varying Drop Heights.” The paper was based on research they began last summer with kinesiology professors Jimmy Smith and Scott McLean as part of the SCOPE program, and later became their capstone project.

Allen and Ammon presented the paper at the annual meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in February, and it won second place in the manuscript competition. A poster based on the paper also was chosen as a finalist in the undergraduate research presentation category.

McLean said they plan to submit the paper to Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, one of the premier journals in the fields of kinesiology and exercise science.

“This project was the equivalent of a master’s thesis,” McLean said. “The most interesting result they found was that simply changing the type of shoe worn can cause a runner to strike the ground differently. The impact of these results is simple − changing shoe type may offer an option of altering a runner’s gait to reduce their risk of injury.”

In the Division of Social Sciences, Kelsey Kisor won the award for her paper titled “‘Protect and Serve Each Other’: Collective Action and Contentious Politics in a Police Accountability Organization.” Kisor wrote the paper for her capstone project under the direction of Maria Lowe, professor of sociology.

For her capstone, Kisor studied the Peaceful Streets Project, a police accountability organization in Austin.

“The focus of Kelsey’s capstone project is absolutely fascinating,” Lowe said. “She explores why people (mostly white, middle class men) participate in a local high-risk police accountability group. In the process, she uncovers a group that is quite complicated and difficult to pigeon-hole. It has both progressive and conservative ideological elements and it also challenges and yet reproduces racialized, gendered and classed hierarchies. In her paper, Kelsey brings this group and all of its nuances to life. She then accurately places her findings into the larger sociological literature on high-risk collective action and political contention.”

Kisor presented her paper at the April 2014 Southern Sociological Society meeting in Charlotte, N.C. She hopes to start a Ph.D. program in sociology in Fall 2015. 

“At Southwestern we encourage our students to challenge themselves by embracing uncomfortable situations, and what Kelsey did certainly exemplifies what we’re recommending,” said Emily Northrop, an economics professor who was on the selection committee for the award in the Division of Social Sciences. “The payoff of her engagement with the Peaceful Streets Project, along with some solid scholarship, was an outstanding paper!”