Exemplary Essay Awards

Outstanding Essays from the First-Year Writing Program

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2017-2018 Exemplary Essay Awards Winners!

Natalie Angulo, “We Are What We Are” (WRIT 105 - Prof. Meagan DeJong)

Natalie Angulo is an intended Jurisprudence major who plans to pursue a minor in history and a minor in studio art while attending Montclair State. She is interested in attending law school after earning her undergraduate degree and in eventually becoming a practicing attorney in New Jersey. Natalie is currently an ambassador at the Office for Undergraduate Admissions, as well as a member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Some of her other passions include the arts and trying to lead the healthiest lifestyle she can.

Alexa Gallardo, “Materialism and Virtue in a Profit-Driven Society” (WRIT 106 - Prof. Gerrie Logan)

Alexa Gallardo is a commuter from Haworth, NJ. She is in her fourth year at Montclair and is a Psychology major with a minor in Cognitive Science. She has enjoyed reading since she was very young; her favorite genres are drama, mystery, thriller, fantasy, and romance. Alexa also really likes to sing, be active, hang out with loved ones, and watch Netflix.

Doha Elsayed, Multimodal Composition: “The Negative Perception of Muslim Hijabi Women” (Prof. Christine Giancatarino)

Doha Elsayed is a freshman from Paterson, NJ. She is majoring in Biology and hopes to move on to Dental School. She also chose Biology because science has always been her favorite subject. Doha has struggled with writing since she came from Egypt six years ago. At MSU, however, she has developed great writing skills and credits her writing 105 professor, Christine Giancatarino, who helped her build all of her writing skills.

Stay tuned for next call for submissions for the Exemplary Essay Awards competition

Congratulations to all previous award recipients:

WRIT 100 winner: "Hire Me for Who I Am, Not for Who I Was," Curtis Watkins (Professor Catherine Keohane)
WRIT 105 winner: "Daily Double: The Effects of Being a Minority Diagnosed with a Mental Health Disorder," Mariah Zenobia Pogue (Professor Lauren Schmidt)
WRIT 106 Studio winner: "Zombieland: A Post-Apocalyptic Nightmare or Adulthood Reality?," Nicole Marquez (Professors Melissa Adamo and Rick Reid)


WRIT 100 winner: "Self-Portrait," Talia Nuesi (Professor Regina McNamara)

WRIT 105 winner: "Stress of the Minority," Kevin Kohlhauf (Professor Emily Hoeflinger)

WRIT 106 winner: "Man Versus Writer: Exploring the Ways that Literature can Expose the Harmful Effects of Enhancement Technology," Cassandra Sardo (Professor Tatum Petrich)


WRIT 100 winner: "The Power of a Word," Charlotte Vangsnes (Professor Theresa Waters)

WRIT 105 winner: "Finding DREAMers' 'Equality of Recognition'," Cassandra Zarina Calle (Professors Stacie McCormick & Wilson Santos)

WRIT 106 winner: "Culture Shock Leads to Identity Crisis: A Culture Study on Judith Ortiz Cofer," Thalia Ramirez (Professor Christa Verem)

2011 - 2012:

WRIT 100 winner: "Language and Identity," Elizabeth Mejia (Professor Margaret McCrea McGlone)

WRIT 105 winner: "Student Debt," Erin Candrilli (Professor Karla Greenleaf-Macewan)

WRIT 106 winner: "Paradox of Selfishness," Jaqueline Granja (Professor Barbara Morris)

2010 - 2011:


WRIT 100: Rakan AlSabah, "How Words Matter"

WRIT 105: Melissa H. Najimian, "You Say You Want a Devolution?"

WRIT 106: Matthew Dougla Lock, "A Tale of Two Quests"

Honorable Mention:

WRIT 100: Nicol Valentin Rivera, "The Hidden Appeal of an Adidas Advertisement"

WRIT 105: Fabio P. Simao, "Blinded by Color"

WRIT 106: Kamila Kolodynska, "No Layers"

2009 - 2010:

WRIT 100 winner: Jade Moskovitz, "Establishing an Identity: Past, Present and Future"

WRIT 105 winner: Maya Curry, "But Did We Have A Good Time?Examination of the Media Massacre of Michael Jackson"

WRIT 106 winner: Sarin Taslima Ahmed, "The Chivalrous Sir Gawain"

Note: Maya Curry's essay is unusual for a WRIT 105 documented essay because it is significantly longer and more in depth, reflecting Maya's particular enthusiasm and dedication to her writing and topic.