by Casey Dawson, WIC Graduate Assistant

Each spring, the Writing Intensive Curriculum program hosts the WIC Culture of Writing Awards in the Disciplines (COWA). The COWA are designed to foster an academic culture that recognizes and values the teaching, practice, and modeling of writing excellence at the classroom, unit, and university levels. These awards encourage undergraduates and the wider OSU community to value and recognize the unique qualities of disciplinary writing.

Winners will receive a $100 prize: $50 coming from the WIC Program, and $50 from the unit that nominated the paper. Winners will also be invited to submit their papers to ScholarsArchive@OSU, Oregon State’s thesis and dissertation archive. Past COWA winners (2006-2023) can be found here.


Papers written for undergraduate courses at Oregon State are eligible for nomination. The paper does NOT need to have been written for a WIC course. Nominees for COWA are selected by participating departments. While the nomination process takes place within each unit, awardees are selected by faculty within each discipline.

To nominate a student paper for WIC’s Culture of Writing Awards:

  • Complete the nomination form and submit to Caryn Stoess no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 30th, 2024. (To receive the award certificate in time for your college’s spring awards event, submit this form as early as possible and include the event information/date.)
  • After the award is processed, the $100 prize — $50 from WIC and $50 from the unit index noted on the nomination form — will be deposited in the recipient’s student account. Winners who graduate prior to June 2023 will be mailed a check.


If your unit would like to recognize a collaboratively-written paper, contact WIC Director Sarah Perrault ( for more information.

by the WIC Team

WIC and participating units strive to foster a commitment to excellence in undergraduate student writing and recognize the value of writing across the disciplines with the annual WIC Culture of Writing Awards in the disciplines.

Participation in the Culture of Writing Awards has thrived since 2006 as students earn recognition and cash awards through either individual or team writing projects. This year, participation continued to be strong. WIC would like to thank all participating units for their continued desire to recognize and reward outstanding student writing.

Congratulations to this year’s awardees!

Team Awards Paper Title College | Unit | Nominating Professor
Bradi Marie Van Atta & Abigail Noel Nagel Northwest Buddies Public Health and Human Sciences / School of Social and Behavioral Sciences / Lori McGraw
Rihana Louise Debler, Charisa Collyn Hohman, & Breanna Wells-Tyrell Family Health and Wellness Grant Proposal Public Health and Human Sciences / Human Development and Family Sciences (OSU Cascades) / Shannon Lipscomb, Jenna Goldsmith

Individual Awards Paper Title College | Discipline| Nominating Professor
Callie Daddario Expiration Date Education: A Movement to Decrease Food Waste Agricultural Sciences | Agricultural  Education and Agricultural Sciences | Becky Haddad
Kate Brazelton What is the most ethical method of tail docking in lambs? Agricultural Sciences | Animal & Rangeland Sciences | Claudia Ingham
Tyler Gustafson Alternative Policy Approaches to Pesticide Use Agricultural Sciences | Applied Economics | Larry Lev
Alberto Gonzalez Sustainability Assessment of Boise Firefighters IAFF Local 149 Agricultural Sciences | Crop and Soil Science | Deanna Lloyd
Andrew Chione New discovery leads to a whole new meaning of “trash fish” Agricultural Sciences | Fisheries & Wildlife | Brian Sidlauskas
Elizabeth Puttman Use of Platelet Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Subclinical Endometritis in Beef Heifers Agricultural Sciences | BioResource Research | Kate Field
Hamza Molvi Personal Ethical Action Plan Business | Marketing | Ted Paterson
Shreya Melkote Personal Ethical Action Plan Business | Business Information Systems | Jon Broome
Macey Hsu Personal Ethical Action Plan Business | Accounting | Angelika Buchanan
Eliza Adams Personal Ethical Action Plan Business | Finance | Angelika Buchanan
Tony Penoyer Mobile Pedestrian Target: Block Design Validation

Mechanical Structure and Motors

Engineering | School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science | Rachael Cate
Annie Dutchover The Loving Embrace Forestry | Tourism, Recreation and Adventure Leadership (TRAL) | Andrew Hawley
Danil Thorstensson Final Paper Liberal Arts | Philosophy | Joseph Orosco
Scott T. Harrington Religion as a Common-Sense Category Liberal Arts | Religion | Courtney Campbell
Chanti Manon-Ferguson Learning Outcomes: Native American Assimilation and Activism Liberal Arts | Ethnic Studies | Natchee Barnd
Rebekah Richardson The Most Wonderful Letters: Leonard Bernstein’s Piano Anniversaries Liberal Arts | Music Education | Kimary Fick
Peter T. Young The Lords of Longitude – How Social and Political Structures influenced the Longitude Problem Liberal Arts | History | Jacob Hamblin
Annie L. Cao Physicians and Treating Addiction in Patients Liberal Arts | School of Psychological Science | Frank Bernieri
Marcus Trinidad Criming going off the rails: Examining the relationship between light rail stations and crime in Porland, OR Liberal Arts | Economics | Camille Soltau Nelson
Brianne Nordin The Gender Wage Gap and Education Liberal Arts | Political Science | Christopher Stout
Shannon Nicole Pastori Does Knowing Someone Who has Taken Their Own Life Increase Support for Gun Control? Liberal Arts | Sociology and Psychology | Rebecca Warner
Addie Howell Politics, Memes, and Culture Jamming: Meme Culture’s Potential to Engage Youth in Politics Liberal Arts | Speech Communication | Trischa Goodnow
Kristin Yeomans Screen Time: A Community-based HIV/AIDS Reduction Program in Multnomah County, based on PROMISE for HIP, an Evidence-based Intervention. Public Health and Human Sciences | School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences | Aimee Snyder
Jenna Beyer Probing the effects of post-translational modifications at a regulatory serine in LC8 using non-canonical amino acids” Science | Biochemistry and Biophysics | Lauren Dalton
Jorie Casey Regulatory Phosphorylation of LC8 Dimerization through Genetic Code Expansion   Science | Biochemistry and Molecular Biology | Lauren Dalton
Cocoro Andrew Nagasaka Preparation and Characterization of Zeolite 5A: Analysis with PXRD, TGA, INAA, Porosimetry, and SEM-EDX. Science | Chemistry | May Nyman
Jade Sentker Embryonic stem cell research: invaluable and ethical Science | Integrative Biology | Meta Landys
Sara Tro Comparing the Polynomial Chaos Debye Model to the Original Debye Model Science | Mathematics | Nathan Gibson
Sydney Kristine Wardan Grant Proposal Prospectus: Hepatitis C Vaccine Study Science | BioHealth Science | Kate Field
Bailey Burk Soil solarization can improve agricultural yield by limiting growth of unwanted organisms and altering microbial diversity without use of soil fumigation Science | Microbiology | Walt Ream
Brennan Douglas Chiral Topological Defects in Nematic Liquid Crystals and Classical Field Theories Science | Physics | Ethan Minot
Trevor A. Whitaker Freeze Stage Analysis of an Indirect Freeze Desalination System Honors College | Mechanical Engineering | Deborah V. Pence
Tessa Barone Just Go Find Yourself a Nice Alpha: Gender and Consent in Supernatural Fanfiction’s Alpha/Beta/Omega Universe Honors College | English and History | Rebecca Olson
Benjamin Nicholas Genetic and morphological evidence suggests cryptic speciation within Torrent Sculpin, Cottus rhotheus, across the Pacific Northwest Honors College | Fisheries & Wildlife | Brian Sidlauskas

by Vicki Tolar Burton, WIC Director

As part of our WIC 25th Anniversary Celebration, we surveyed more than 200 past winners of the WIC Culture of Writing Awards in the disciplines. Nearly 100 of these OSU graduates responded, answering questions about their careers, their workplace and personal writing, and how well prepared they felt as writers. In an open-ended question, many wrote about their gratitude for what they learned in WIC courses and for having their writing recognized through the Culture of Writing award. This is what some of the grads told us:

  • “I was truly honored to be recognized with my department’s WIC award and am happy to be counted among the winners, past and future.” (Liberal Arts)
  • “Thank you, OSU, for helping me to become a published science writer! OSU was the best foundation I could have hoped for, and from that foundation I have been able to put together a slightly odd and highly satisfying career, spreading the joy of birds and birding to a wide audience.” (Ag Sciences)
  • “Writing is honestly a joy. I, among others, have always found a freedom of expression in writing. I am so glad that this program continues to honor writing – thank you!” (Business)
  • “WIC is as important as STEM related course work in engineering. Most students will spend a relatively small portion of their career performing technical calculations. They will spend a significantly larger portion of their career communicating with peers or reviewing/revising the work of employees they supervise.” (Engineering)
  • “Some of the best writers at our company went to OSU. The WIC program was instrumental to their success, whether they acknowledge it or not.” (Engineering)
  • “Thank you for your support. The Culture of Writing Award was the first award I received during my academic career. It’s an accomplishment with significant positive impacts on young scholars during a vital stage of their progressive young careers.” (Science)
  • “It was one of my biggest honors at OSU to receive this award, and it really gave me the confidence to proudly display my writing skills and highlight them as one of my biggest strengths.” (Public Health and Human Sciences)
  • “….The encouragement from my professors truly helped me reframe how I saw myself and my ideas. When Dr. Natchee Barnd presented me with the WIC award, I actually cried because, still, in my senior year, I wasn’t terribly confident in my writing, and I think part of me thought I was undeserving…The award spoke far more to my skills than I realized, and it validated all my hard work…To every professor at OSU, your words of encouragement, validation, and affirmation go such a long way.” (Liberal Arts)

More of these interesting responses in the fall.

Thank you to each WIC teacher who nominated a student for a Culture of Writing Award in your discipline this year. See the list of this year’s winners and their nominating faculty member here. If you are wishing you had nominated someone, remember next year.

I also want to recognize and thank the people who made the 25th celebration of WIC possible. First, thanks to Vice Provost Alix Gitelman and the Division of Undergraduate Education, who approved funding for the events. Second, thanks to my amazing WIC team, who planned and made the event happen, and whose ideas shaped the day: Executive Assistant Caryn Stoess, GTAs Lindsay Schwehr and Ruth Sylvester, and intern Marisa Yerace. Marisa planned the outstanding afternoon mini-conference. Thank you. Thanks also to the WIC faculty who participated in the afternoon mini-conference, and to my friend and WAC colleague, Terry Zawacki, who flew here from Virginia to be our keynoter.

I will lead my last WIC Faculty Seminar in the fall, as I am retiring January 1, 2020. Please encourage WIC faculty who have not had the seminar to ask their chair/head/director to email a nomination to me. I look forward to another great group of faculty in the fall. We will me meeting on Thursdays, 3 to 5, rather than Wednesdays, due to space constraints.

(L to R) The WIC Team: Marisa Yerace, Lindsay Schwehr, Vicki Tolar Burton, Ruth Sylvester, and Caryn Stoess

Finally, thanks to the WIC team for a rewarding year despite many challenges. To WIC GTA fall and winter Lindsay Schwehr, thank you for your endless good cheer and your thoroughness in review of WIC courses. To Ruth Sylvester, who stepped in as WIC GTA when Lindsay took health leave, thank you for devoting two years to interning and working to improve the program and strengthen its research-based foundation. All the best to Ruth as she enters a PhD program in Rhetoric and Composition at U. of Nevada Reno. Thanks to intern Marisa Yerace, especially for taking responsibility for the 25th celebration mini-conference. Marisa will be the WIC GTA next year. Finally, thanks to Caryn Stoess, who has kept all things WIC moving in the right direction this year, even while taking on a new position as Interim Operations Manager for Academic Programs and Assessment. I am deeply grateful, Caryn.

Have a great summer, and keep on writing!

By Jacob Day, WIC GTAWIC Culture of Writing Award

Through the annual Culture of Writing Award, WIC and participating units and schools foster a commitment to excellence in undergraduate student writing and recognize the value of writing across the disciplines. Participation in the Culture of Writing Award has thrived since 2006 as students earn recognition and cash awards through either individual or team writing projects. This year, participation continues to be strong with early results showing 16 awardees, with more expected.  WIC would like to thank all participating units for their continued desire to recognize and reward outstanding student writing. Congratulations to this year’s award winners!

  Student Name Paper Title College / Unit Nominating Professor
1 Crystal Kraft “Harper’s Healing with Horse Therapy” College of Public Health and Human Sciences, School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences Joy Lile
2 Heaven Le Roberts “Ethical Concerns of Testing Toxins in Animals” College of Agricultural  Sciences, Animal and Rangeland Sciences Giovanna Rosenlicht
3 Christopher Heron “Synthesis and Characterization of 4-Ethylbenzophenone” College of Science, Chemistry Michelle Dolgos
4 K.C. Clay “Emotions as Motivations for the Conquistadors” College of Liberal Arts School of History, Philosophy, and Religion Nicole von Germeten
5 Alexandra Joy Bonney “Genome sequencing and annotation of Pseudomonas veronii isolated from Oregon State University soil and 16S rRNA characterization of Corvallis, OR soil microbial populations” College of ScienceDepartment of Microbiology Walt Ream
6 Timothy Michael Chase “The Development of Music Notation:  Notational Practices of the Middle Ages and How They Reveal a Changing Philosophy of Music” College of Liberal Arts School of Arts & Communications Julia Goodwin
7 Peter Killgore “The Fano Plane as an Octonionic Multiplication Table” College of Science
Tevian Dray
8 Hannah Whitley “Support for Capital Punishment:  The Role of Parenthood and Suburbanism in Death Penalty Opinions” College of Liberal Arts, School of Public Policy
Sociology Program
Mark Edwards
9 Alyssa Beamer “Artistic Engineering” College of Liberal Arts
School of Writing, Literature, and Film
Steve Kunert
10 B. Lauren Stoneburner “Aimee Semple McPherson and Writing the Faith into the Modern World” College of Liberal Arts School of History, Philosophy, and Religion Courtney Campbell
11 Kodasha M. Thomas “Targeted Intervention to Reduce HIV Transmission-Atlanta, GA” College of Public Health and Human Sciences, School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences Joseph A. Catania
12 Christopher J. Ratcliff “Carbon Isotopes Show Snowpack Acts as a Valuable Moisture Subsidy to Mountain Forests in the Oregon Cascades” College of Agricultural Science, BioResource Research Katharine G. Field
13 Amanda Leahy “Textile and Apparel Marketing Plan” College of Business, School of Design and Human Environment Tsun-Yin (Tracie) Tung
14 Emily Kolodzy “Textile and Apparel Marketing Plan” College of Business, School of Design and Human Environment Tsun-Yin (Tracie) Tung
15 Zoe Chrisman-Miller “The Effects of Adult Attachment on Exercise” College of Liberal Arts, School of Psychological Sciences Mei Lien
16 Emily Jackson   “The Geologic Setting,History, Hazards, andMitigation of the MountYake-Dake Volcano on Honshu Island, Japan” College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Geosciences Anita Grunder
17 Michael Perlin “Optimizing Monte Carlo   simulation of the square-well fluid” College of Science, Department of Physics Janet Tate
18 Jessica Cesar “Fighting for Fruit:  IPM Strategies for Drosophila suzukii in Blueberry and Raspberry Production” College of Agricultural Science, Department of Crop and Soil Science Jennifer Parke
19 Claire Osterag-Hill “Differentiation of BHV-1 Isolates from Vaccine Virus by High-Resolution Melting Analysis and An Examination of the Interface Between Culture and the Global Prevalence of HSV-2″ University Honors College Ling Jin
20 Alyssa Ekdahl “Ion Exchange System for Strontium Removal” College of Engineering, Chemical Engineering Philip Harding
21 Sarah Seals “Ion Exchange System for Strontium Removal” College of Engineering, Biological Engineering Philip Harding
22 Jana Otero “Ion Exchange System for Strontium Removal” College of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Philip Harding
23 Jordon Walker “Pragmatism, Walt Whitman, and Understanding Liberal Arts, Cascades James Foster

Writing Advice from WIC Culture of Writing Award Winners

The 2015 WIC Culture of Writing Award winners were asked to give writing advice for students in their respective majors and disciplines. Here is what they had to say:

Peter Kilgore, Mathematics:

“If you are going to be writing mathematics, take the time to learn LaTeX; it will make the project much easier and gives a nice professional look to your work. When it comes to getting your ideas on paper, make an outline! It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but this helps develop a nice flow within your paper. Above all, be clear and concise. Mathematical writing must be exact and precise without getting bogged down in superfluous verbiage. Say exactly what you mean in as few words as possible. I think these are the basis for writing a good mathematical paper.”

Tim Chase, Music:

“It’s most important when selecting a topic to choose a subject that interests you most. I suggest taking the one or two aspects of first term Music History that you found the most fascinating and stick with them, even if a thesis statement doesn’t come right away. When I chose to write about music notation, I cycled through different thesis statements multiple times a week until I found one that fit. So my best advice is to choose something, however broad, that makes you curious and excited, and then simply read everything you can. An arguable thesis will come, and then your research will be driven by interest and fascination as well as a deadline.”

Hannah Whitley, Sociology:  

“I think that writing for sociology requires a delicate, yet necessary balance; not only do individuals need to know the tools necessary for writing in the humanities, but there is also the required scientific component when it comes to quantitative and result analysis. I feel like many writers are either comfortable with ONLY writing for science or ONLY writing for humanities, which is why writing for social science has traditionally been so daunting.

“My biggest piece of advice is to acknowledge that (as with any research paper), your process is going to take time. We have always been told to not procrastinate and not leave assignments until the last minute, but in writing major sociological research papers, this piece of advice is a big deal. In order to communicate your ideas effectively, while simultaneously weaving through the humanities/scientific writing maze, make sure to set aside enough time to simply write. I feel like a lot of students struggle with underestimating how long something will take them to write, which is why this is a very important piece of advice! Also, never overlook the power of a second opinion. I like to make sure that all my major papers are seen by a minimum of three other people. This way, I can see if my ideas are communicated effectively and clearly.”

K. C. Clay, History:

“Unless it is a direct quote, every citation should have at least two sources. Other scholars might disagree with your argument or your interpretation, but your facts will be fixed.”

Brittany Stoneburner, Religious Studies:

“Work hard. Don’t just write for the class or a good grade. Seek out your Professors. They will bring out the best in you. Above all else – be creative and have fun.”

 Kodasha Thomas, Public Health:

“The primary advice I have for other writers in the Public Health major is: Write about your passions and what interests you! Don’t hold back from experiencing different types of writing that you aren’t used to. And remember, writing is a process, so be patient with your work!”