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Undergraduate Writing Awards Spring 2024

Virginia Rucker Walter Scholarship   

This award acknowledges an outstanding English major. It is named for Virginia Rucker Walter, who was an undergraduate at UGA in the 1980s. Virginia Walter was killed by a drunk driver before she was able to graduate, but her family presents this prize in honor of her memory and in celebration of her love of literature.  

Ryan BohnWinner: Ryan Bohn (nominated by Dr. Rosenbaum)

Ryan Bohn is a third year at UGA with majors in English and Linguistics, a minor in Cognitive Science, and an area of emphasis in Studies in the Novel. His research investigates the relationships between form and genre, as well as the intersections between literature, politics, and science in late 19th century and 20th century American literature. He will be pursuing a PhD in American literature and will be applying to grad schools this fall. Ryan also loves to write poetry, collect records, and is an avid film watcher.  

Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize for an Undergraduate Student Poet 

1st Place: Ashley Beresch for her poem “standing still for the strawberry moon”
Honorable Mentions: Lauren V. Girod for the poem “I AM THE DEER AND THE DEER IS ME”  & Jason G. Hawkins for "NIGHTSCAPE.”

Poetry Winners

This year's judge, Anna Morrison, is the author of Long Exposure (2023, Moon City Press) and a filmmaker living in Iowa City where she is a professor of screenwriting at the University of Iowa. She earned her BA from the University of Georgia and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Anna's work has appeared in Best American Poetry and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in dozens of literary magazines and publications including West Branch, The Hopkins Review, and Brink. You can find her at

 Undergraduate Essay Prizes   

The Undergraduate Essay Prizes are supported by the Robert E. Park Memorial Fund.

Essay focused on primary materials:

Winner: Anna Hicks, “‘I AM MAD’: Perceptions and Expression of MWhitney Bramlett adness in Lady Audley’s Secret” (nominated by Dr. Steger)

Honorable Mention: Whitney Bramlett, “Focalization through Vocalization: The Importance of Voice in Postcolonial Literature (nominated by Dr. Santesso)

Whitney Bramlett is a third-year English major from Fairmount, Georgia with minors in Theatre and Political Science. Whitney has served as a staff member for UGA’s Stillpoint Literary Magazine for the past two years, and is a newly inducted member of Sigma Tau Delta.


Essay using secondary sources:

Winner: Samantha Smallwood, “The Tragedy of ‘Love’s Troubled Waters’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’: the Haunting Reality of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette” (nominated by Dr. Menke)

Honorable Mention: Brianna Groves, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman (nominated by Dr. Camp)

Smallwood and Groves

Samantha Smallwood is a third-year undergraduate student from Snellville, Georgia. She is majoring in English with an intended certificate in British-Irish Studies, and she will be returning to study in Oxford through UGA’s program this fall. She likes to go on walks and read in her free time. Her favorite novel is James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. She is interested in nineteenth and early twentieth-century English and Irish literature, especially works from Joyce, the Brontë sisters, and D.H. Lawrence, and she is incredibly grateful to all of her teachers who have inspired her and supported her love for such studies both before and during her time at UGA.

Brianna Groves is a graduating English major with an emphasis in Medieval Studies and minors in International Affairs and Military Science. 

Anita Morrison Thomas Essay Award 

Meagan Runner

Named in honor of English alumna Anita Morrison Thomas, this fund supports an award to the student author of the best essay devoted to a culturally diverse and/or female author. :

Winner: Meagan Runner, “Syncopating History in Tyehimba Jess’ Olio (nominated by Dr. Rosenbaum)

Meagan Runner is a third-year English major with a minor in Theatre and a New Media Certificate. Outside of classes, she enjoys writing plays and watching Korean dramas.


Elizabeth A. Kraft Award

This award provides a monetary award for undergraduates or masters students to support research within the department, focusing on the period of 1640 to 1832. When creating this award, Dr. Kraft says, “I want students to think imaginatively about the eighteenth century, which is, after all, the time period during which both the University of Georgia and the United States of America were born.” 

Zackary DowWinner: Zackary Dow

Zack is a fourth-year English and history double major with minors in Latin and African American studies. His current research looks at the intersection between race and technology in the early Atlantic world, a topic he hopes to pursue further in grad school and, eventually, as an historian. In addition to his studies, he enjoys making period furniture, lifting weights, and reading.



Digital Humanities Prize   

The Digital Humanities Prize is awarded to an outstanding student project at the intersection of English studies and electronic technologies. It is supported by the Robert E. Park Memorial Fund.

Katie BurnettWinner: Katie Burdett, “Red Penned Podcast” (nominated by Dr. Harding)

Katie Burdett is a 4th year English major with a minor in philosophy, certificate in Interdisciplinary Writing, and AoE in Fiction Creative Writing. Katie is graduating this coming spring from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and afterwards will be attending Columbia's Summer Publishing Institute with hopes of working in New York full-time after completion of her coursework. She is passionate about creative, experimental, and women’s writing and is constantly seeking opportunities to incorporate these passions into her work. Her hobbies include tons of reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and playing badminton with UGA’s competitive league, of which she is the president.

The H. Grady Hutcherson Memorial Scholarship   

H. Grady Hutcherson, a Double Dawg (BSED Science Education, 1949; MA English, 1951), began teaching in Park Hall in 1951 and retired in 1991. He and Mary Hutcherson (AB English, 1951) were married in 1955 and had two sons, both of whom attended UGA. Grady died in 1996, and Mary decided to honor her late husband’s work by establishing the H. Grady Hutcherson Memorial Scholarship in English.

Winner: Ashley Beresch

Winner: Abigail Page

Beresch and Page

Ashley Beresch is a 3rd-year English major with an emphasis in creative writing. Her work appears in Roi Fainéant, Apple in the Dark, Maudlin House, and other places.
Abigail Page is a third-year English and English Education double major with an area of emphasis in Medieval Literature. Formerly, they have been involved with Experience UGA and Stillpoint Literary Magazine; currently, they are interning with the Georgia Review, serve as Vice President of Marketing and Communication for University Union, and are looking forward to spending the summer as a Teaching Fellow with Breakthrough Collaborative at Kent Denver. 


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