Bradley Students Find Success at Statewide Paper Competition for the Second Consecutive Year

December 2, 2013

By Liz Cachey ‘15

Earlier this semester, one current Bradley student and two recent graduates were happily surprised to discover they had tied for second place and claimed third place in the Illinois Sociological Association’s Undergraduate Student Paper Competition for academic essays.

The papers were judged by and chosen as winners by the President of the Illinois Sociological Association and a panel of respected judges.

Dr. Darcy Leach, assistant professor of sociology, entered the best papers turned in to her classes the year prior to the contest.

“They were papers written for my Social Theory and Political Sociology classes,” Leach said. Because papers were written for her class, there was no extensive revision process to prepare the pieces for the competition; they were exceptional on their own.

Hannah Driscoll ‘13 and Andrew Benson ‘14 tied for second place in the upper-division of the competition. Driscoll’s untitled paper focused on the debate around the use of genetically modified organisms in food, while Benson’s paper, "Marcuse and Fight Club,” evaluated Herbert Marcuse’s theory of one-dimensionality in the context of the film “Fight Club.”

Katie Spoden ‘13 placed third with her paper “Power Relations and the Gender Wage Gap,” where she used Luke’s theory of power to attempt to explain the gender wage gap.

All of the winners were invited to attend the annual Illinois Sociological Association Conference.  While two of the students were unable to attend, Andrew Benson participated in the conference.  While there, he received his award and presented his paper to those in attendance. 

“This is a wonderful experience for Andrew.  It is a significant event any time an undergraduate student gets to present work at a major conference,” said Assistant Dean Lee Newton. “These students and Professor Leach should be proud of what they have accomplished.” 

Last year, Bradley student Maggie Cipriano ‘15 won the competition. Jess Marder ‘14 and alumni Marisa Saenz ’12 and Christina Richards ’11 placed highly at the competition as well.

“I am really proud of these students,” Leach said. “They are great examples of the level of rigor and excellence that we expect from our students in Sociology.”