Scholarships and Prizes

Scholarships for current English majors:

Eligibility: only open to students currently enrolled as English majors who also will be enrolling at MU as undergraduates in the following academic year.

Application Deadline: March 1.

How to Apply: Log in to Scholarship Universe, search for the scholarship, and follow the instructions there.

English Alumni Scholarship ($1000)

This scholarship, funded by English Department alumni and created by the English Department Leaders Board, is given to an outstanding undergraduate English major. Among equally qualified candidates, preference will be given to a student with some financial need.

Mabel Owen Scholarship ($3000)

In order to apply for the Mabel Owen Scholarship, students must be an English major and must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Financial need is not a requirement for this scholarship.

Marian Lindsey Smith Scholarship ($3000)

In order to apply for the Marian Lindsey Smith Scholarship, students must be an English major and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students must demonstrate financial need by attaching a one-page statement of financial need (FAFSA is not required for this award).

Hardin Craig Scholarship ($500)

In order to apply for the Hardin Craig Scholarship, students must be an English major, must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and must demonstrate financial need by having applied for FAFSA.


Peggy Ewing Prize ($500)

Deadline: March 1.

This award honors the best essay of at least 5 pages concerning any topic in British literature pre-1900. The essay must have been originally written for a class during the previous calendar year. However, students may revise the essay prior to submission. You do not need to be an English major to apply for this award. To apply, log in to Scholarship Universe, search for the prize, and follow the instructions there.

Hightower English Essay Award ($100)

Deadline: March 1.

This award honors the best essay of up to 1000 words on any topic originally written for an English literature class during the previous calendar year. Applicants must be of sophomore or junior standing and may revise the essay prior to submission. Include in the submission the semester, course, and instructor for which the paper was originally written. You do not need to be an English major to apply for this award. To apply, log in to Scholarship Universe, search for the prize, and follow the instructions there.

Honors Thesis Prize ($500)

Deadline: April 20.

The Honors Thesis Prize is awarded to the best honor thesis written during that calendar year. The prize is open to all students registered in English 4996 in the fall and who are writing an Honors Thesis the following spring. To apply, log in to Scholarship Universe, search for the prize, and follow the instructions there.

Mahan First-Year Writing Award ($250 first prize; $175 second prize)

Deadline: April 11.

The Mahan First-Writing Award is a competition for first-year students enrolled in English 1000. View submission details.

Creative Writing Contests (various awards)

Every year, the Creative Writing Program gives away over $3,000 in prizes for undergraduate students. Send us your short fiction, poems, and other creative writing for the chance to win one of these awards. Submissions are due March 15 unless otherwise noted:

Mahan Short Story Award ($175, $100)
Margery McKinney Short Fiction Award ($250, $250)
Kerr Award in Fiction ($250, $150, $100)

Mahan Poetry Award ($175, $100)
Academy of American Poets ($100)
Kerr Award in Poetry ($250, $150, $100)
Margaret Leong Children’s Poetry Award ($350, $250, $150) due April 1
Sibyl Pommer Freshman Poetry Award ($200) due April 1

Creative Nonfiction
Creative Writing Program Award ($200, $100)
Kerr Award in Creative Nonfiction ($250, $150, $100)

Kerr Award in Playwriting ($250, $150, $100)

For more information, visit

MU Libraries Undergraduate Research Paper Contest (2 prizes of $500 each)

This contest seeks to recognize and reward outstanding student research. It differs from other research paper contests in that it does not judge only the paper itself, but also the research process and the student’s ability to articulate his or her experience conducting research. View details about this contest.

Previous Award Winners

English Alumni Scholarship

2021-2022: Sherell Williams and Shea Wilson

2020-2021: Ethan Anderson and Katy Bond

2019-2020: Ethan Anderson and Annalee Roustio

2018-2019: Rebecca Oliver and Emmalee Wilkins

2017-2018: Allyson Chapman and Jamie Berry

2016-2017: Ameerah Sanders and Jamie Berry

2015-2016: Kaitlin Beardmore

2014-2015: Erin Niederberger

2013-2014: Tegan Blackwood

2012-2013: Jaclyn Herr and Arriana Hayes

Mabel Owen Scholarship

2021-2022: Rebecca Jackoway and Sherell Williams

2020-2021: Vivan Herzog and Lauren Hynes

2019-2020: Alyssa Ripley and Macy Mundwiller

2018-2019: Lauren Pike and Peter Baugh

2017-2018: Sarah Pribe, Lauren Pike, and Amy Taylor

2016-2017: Taylor Ysteboe, Sherell Barbee, and Autumn McLain

2015-2016: Bradford Barnhardt, Erin Niederberger, and Tonya Eberhard

2014-2015: Katherine Hobbs, Hannah Salings, and Jennifer Para

2013-2014: Enrique Meijia and Kristin Carranza

2012-2013: Edward Hart, Grace McNamee, and Karlyn Skinner

Marian Lindsey Smith Scholarship

2021-2022: Katy Bond

2020-2021: Ethan Anderson

2019-2020: Ethan Anderson

2018-2019: Shelby Hart

2017-2018: Emily Hanneman and Rebecca Jaeckels

2016-2017: Marleigh Anderson and Sarah Judd

2015-2016: Marleigh Anderson and Marek Makowski

2014-2015: Jacqueline Land

2013-2014: Tegan Blackwood

2012-2013: Enrique Meijia and Charnissia Smith

Hardin Craig Scholarship

2021-2022: Shea Wilson

2020-2021: Olivia Flagg-Bourke

2019-2020: Annalee Roustio

2018-2019: Emily Hanneman

2017-2018: Shelby Hart

2016-2017: Jamie Berry

2015-2016: Lindsey Marschka

2014-2015: Hannah Salings

Peggy Ewing Prize

2021: Katy Bond, "Mouths in a Glass: Reflections Between Cordelia and Hamlet" (written for Prof. Bill Kerwin's ENGL 4167: Shakespeare's Tragedies)

2021: John Romer, "Pedagogy and the Complex of Voice, Body, and Place in the Old English Judith" (written for Prof. Johanna Kramer's ENGL 4206: Old English Literature)

2020: Ethan Anderson, “Mere Friendship: Queer Desire in Theseus’s Athens” (written for Prof. Lee Manion’s English 8220: Resistance, Rebellion, and Revolution in Premodern Britain)

2020: Devon Hoerr, “Carmilla and the Queer Experience” (written for Prof. Lee Manion’s English 4996W: Honors Seminar in English)

2019: Andrew Frein, "Shakespeare's House of Cards: The Social Critique of Family and Politics in King Lear" (written for Prof. Anne Myers’ English 4167W Major Authors, 1603-1789)

2018: Elorm Nutakor, for “An Exploration of Pride in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels” (written for Prof. Stephen Karian’s English 4996W: Honors Seminar)

2018: Andrew Frein, for “The Subconscious of the New Woman in The Romance of a Shop” (written for Prof. Elizabeth Chang’s English 4188: Major Women Writers, 1789-1890)

2017: Andrew Frein, for "The Picture of Dorian Gray as an Immoral Tale" (written for Prof. Julie Melnyk’s English 3210: Survey of British Literature, Romanticism-Present)

2017: Bruno Vernaschi, for "Botched Intentions: On Chaucer, Jews, Calumny, and Hypocrisy" (written for Prof. Lee Manion’s English 4210: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales)

2015: Marleigh Anderson, for “Punctuation and Pulsation: William Blake’s Period” (written for Prof. Lily Gurton-Wachter’s English 4168: William Blake) 

2014: Bradford Barnhardt, “King Henry IV’s Machiavellian Call for the Crusades” (written for Prof. Bill Kerwin’s English 4166)

2013: Kristen Carranza, “Abdicating the Seat of Life: Man in the Stomach of Paradise Lost” (written for Prof. Anne Myers’ English 4167)

2012: Tegan Blackwood, “Topical Polemics in ‘The Life of Christina of Markyate’” (written for Prof. Johanna Kramer’s English 4210)

Hightower English Essay Award

2021: Della Rodenbaugh, "A Close Reading of Fun Home" (written for Prof. Anne Myers' ENGL 2100: Literature and Memory)

Honors Thesis Prize

2021: Ethan Anderson, “The Yearning Dove: Sodomy and Shame in ‘The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale’” (Advisor: Emma Lipton)

2021 (Honorable Mention): Vivian Herzog, “Salty Sweet: Iberian Essays” (Advisor: Julija Šukys)

2020: Sean Dolan, "Everything All At Once: Stories & Studies in the Second Person" (Advisor: Phong Nguyen)

2020 (Honorable Mention): Sabrina Heffern, "The Anatomy of a Strange People: A Study of Ambiguous Loss in Extraordinary Communities" (Advisor: Phong Nguyen)

2019: Abagail Guinn, "Woman Unapologetic: 'something worth learning'" (Advisor: Kimberly McCaffrey) 

2018: Sherell Barbee, “My Mama Meat: An Exploration of African American Women’s Mental Health” (Advisor: Julija Šukys and Christopher Okonkwo)

2017: Marleigh Anderson, “You've Got Mail: Epistolography, Mapping, and Authenticity in Early Literature of Alexander the Great” (Advisor: Lee Manion)

2016: Katherine Hobbs, "‘Immortal Harps’: Milton and Musical Morality in Handel’s Samson” (Advisor: Anne Myers)

2016 (Honorable Mention): Bradford Barnhardt, "‘My Madness Singing’: The Specter of Syphilis in Prufrock’s Love Song" (Advisor: Frances Dickey)

2015: Emily Holtzman, "Indispensable Lives: Magical Realism and Postcolonial Resistance in Ana Castillo’s So Far from God and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (Advisor: Guadalupe Perez-Anzaldo, Romance Languages)

2015 (Honorable Mention): Delia Rainey, "Summer of the Sabra Cactus: The Body, Landscape, and Numbed Tourism” (Advisor: Lily Gurton-Wachter)

Mahan First-Year Writing Award

Matt Bond (2021): First prize for "They Belong Too: Increasing Accommodations to Combat Poor Mental Health in the Transgender Community"
Micheal Aguirre (2021): Second prize for "What's the Difference"

Jayda Moss (2020): First prize for “Literacy’s Effect on Black Women: A Personal Narrative
Michelle Gershkovich (2020): Second prize for “Rushin to Learn English

Gabriella Salinas (2019): First prize for “First
Colby Thornton (2019): Second prize for “The Best Men Can Be

Destiny Landsman (2018): First prize for “Dialectical Issues In The Classroom
Sara Marquardt (2018): Second prize for “A Face Without a Page
Fanya Sun (2018): Honorable mention for “The Treasure of Chinese Civilization”

N.F. (2017): First prize for “The Boy of Isolation
Faramola Shonekan (2017): Second prize for “Social Media and Activism

Catelyn Williams (2016): First prize for “Why is my Black Culture Only Appreciated When a White Person Is Appropriating It?
Clemency Neville (2016): Second prize for “The 70s and Saturday Night Fever: The Limitations of Hollywood

Homer Gaidarski (2015): First prize for “Learning Computer Science: A Secret Wall of Zeros and Ones
Joseph Henke (2015): Second prize for “Eradicating an Epidemic: How Universities Can Better Protect Women from Sexual Assault

Amy Brianne Schmiegelow (2014): First prize for “The Word Weavers: A Reader’s Influence on Ever-Changing Definitions
Derrick Lin (2014): Second prize for “Bryson: Enlarging Vocabularies for a Fuller Language

Helena Kowalewski (2012): First prize for “Abridging Speech vs. Abridging Lives
McCullough Mischke (2012): Second prize for “Society in Bell, Book, and Candle and Practical Magic"
Emily Rothove (2012): Honorable mention for “What I Learned at the Kitchen Table

Kristine A. Kerns (2011): First prize for "Misfortune: Creating Opportunity, or Impeding Happiness?"
Stephen M. Cady (2011): Second prize for "Ramblin' Woman"

Rebecca Taylor (2010): First prize for "The Collapse of the Nuclear Family"
Hannah Spratt (2010): Second prize for "The Dark Side of the Good Women"