Bradley sweeps top awards for sociology paper contest

December 14, 2012

By Emily Laidley ’14

Two students and two recent alumnae received a pleasant surprise this semester when they won first and second place in the Illinois Sociological Association’s Undergraduate Student Paper Competition for academic essays.

Dr. Darcy Leach, assistant professor of sociology, entered the papers in the statewide competition for papers written by undergraduates in sociology courses. Out of the works submitted, sophomore Maggie Cipriano and junior Jess Marder took first and second place respectively in the lower (freshmen and sophomores) division while alumnae Marisa Saenz ’12 and Christina Richards ’11 won first and second place respectively in the upper (juniors and seniors) division.

The president of the ISA and three others judged the entries and the winners of the competition were announced in late October.

Dr. Leach said she hopes the ISA competition will become an annual challenge undertaken by other professors in the Department of Sociology.

“If everybody in the whole department knows about it and we decide to do this every year, we could promote it,” she said. “Students in our classes do a lot of work and it’s nice to have some recognition.”

Cipriano, an English major, won first place in the lower division with her paper “An Analysis of Family in: A Home at the End of the World” in which she argued for the emphasis of “a new, all-encompassing, family ideal” that was evident in the movie “A Home at the End of the World.”

Marder, studying interactive media, took second in the lower division with her paper “The Family” about how family members in the film “The Kids are All Right” both reflects and rejects the traditional nuclear family dynamic.

Saenz earned first place in the upper division for her paper “Keeping America Clean,” which uses the theories of German sociologist Herbert Marcuse to analyze the split nature of the main character in the movie “Fight Club.”

Richards won second place in the upper division with her paper “Fight Club” in which she employs the same film to support Marcuse’s theory of the one-dimensionality of advanced industrial society.