2010-2011 Don Rothman Endowed Award in First-Year Writing Recipients

1st Place:

Don Rothman, Kiva Silver, Sarah Edelstein Adam Beighly and Maggie Amis

Sarah Edelstein, for

’Til Death Do We Choose

 (Instructor: Kiva Silver)

"This may be an overly bold move..."

Adam Beighley, for

The Twin Forces of a Wave 

(Instructor: Maggie Amis)

"I wrote the essay "The Twin Forces..."



Honorable Mentions:

Briana Bernstein and Brij Lunine

Briana Bernstein, for "Freud’s Model of Civilization and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four(Instructor: Brij Lunine)

"Stevenson Core gave me the opportunity to breath life ..."

Kerianne Doi

Kerianne Doi, for "Mackey Versus Pollan: War of Whole Foods(Instructor: Robin Somers)

"For most of my life, I’ve been a relatively quiet person..."

Jackson Greer

Jackson Greer, for "Getting Back to the Farm"  (Instructor: Jude Todd)

"When I first joined the writing class, "Exploring the ...

Rosalie Evans

Rosalie Evans, for "The Graphic Truth (Instructor: Carol Gerster)

"From the selection of books in the Merrill Core Course..."

    First Prize Winner (Shared)- Sarah Edelstein (Instructor: Kiva Silver)

  • Don Rothman, Kiva Silver, Sarah Edelstein

    "’Til Death Do We Choose"

    "This may be an overly bold move for a college sophomore, but I dare to suggest that, as human beings, life is all about the struggle.  To fully live is to wrestle with ourselves, our ideals, our neuroses, and just about everything else we encounter.  Sure, we will swear our lives by “happiness” and “peace,” but when it comes down to it, what we really love is some good old-fashioned contention.  Ever since G-d and Jacob duked it out next to a heaven-bound ladder, people have been finding ways to challenge all different types of authority, from the divine to the mundane.  It is this exact struggle that inspired my essay, ‘Til Death Do We Choose, in which I analyzed Sartre’s existentialist doctrine, the ancient classic The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the stories of Genesis.  Upon comparing these three texts, it became increasingly clear to me that to struggle with self and society is essential--otherwise, we risk complacency, a fate possibly worse than death itself.

     However, this paper could never have been written without the guidance, wisdom, and insight of my professor, Kiva Silver.  The first quarter of Stevenson core had a truly profound impact on my writing, which would not have been possible without an exceptionally incisive and thoughtful instructor like Kiva.  In addition to facilitating engaging discussions, helping us turn jumbled outlines into well-formed pieces of writing, and guiding us through the ins and outs of the first quarter of freshman year, Kiva found a way to make our class into a community, one that was truly committed to learning and growing, and one that made me incredibly proud to be a UCSC student.  Kiva, thank you for everything.  I would also like to thank my incredible parents and the Stevenson community at large." -Sarah Edelstein

  • First Prize Winner (Shared)- Adam Beighley (Instructor: Maggie Amis)

  • Adam Beighley and Maggie Amis

    “The Twin Forces of a Wave”

    I wrote the essay "The Twin Forces of a Wave" in my spring writing 2 class, taught by Margaret Amis. The selected reading for the class consisted of current New Yorker articles, which supplied an ample supply of diverse reading. For our last assignment, we were allowed to access the entire online New Yorker Archive, and choose whichever article that we would like to write an essay on. With many selections to choose from, the students were able to choose whichever subject caught their interest. 

    I was and still am interested in medicine, so I chose an article called What's the Trouble by Jerome Groopman which was based on heuristics. Heuristics is an experienced based process for problem solving, which doctors use frequently in diagnosis. The subject was very relevant to what I was interested in. Shortly after the end of the school year I was to shadow several doctors, and the means by which they come to a conclusion and a diagnosis was very much a mystery to me. The article gave me a good introduction to how complicated diagnosing can be. A diagnosis is not just a cookie-cutter process, it is more an art form. Many doctors begin diagnosing as soon as the patient walks into the room. The motion in which a patient walks, the sounds of his breathing, the color of his skin, his age and ethnicity are all details a doctor may register before speaking to the patient. The process is still highly debated in the medical field. Diagnosing is a complicated and interesting process, which I have only become more interested in after both contributing to the debate and watching it first hand. - Adam Beighley

  • Honorable Mention - Briana Bernstein (Instructor: Brij Lunine)

  • Briana Bernstein and Brij Lunine

    "Freud’s Model of Civilization and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four"

    "Stevenson Core gave me the opportunity to breath life into my writing; expressing my ideas as my world views expanded dramatically. I was influenced by a wise and compassionate professor who took the time to aide my writing development in such a way that I learned to trust in my own capabilities and produce a paper worthy of notice. As I move forward in my collegiate career I will treasure what I have learned from core, its professors, and the honor of being recognized." - Briana Bernstein

  • Honorable Mention - Kerianne Doi (Instructor: Robin Sommers)

  • Kerianne Doi

    Mackey Versus Pollan: War of Whole Foods

    For most of my life, I’ve been a relatively quiet person­– in my writing as well as my personal life. It’s not as though I’ve lacked something to say, but rather the confidence and voice to say it. I was good at writing but I was not a good writer. Ironically, it wasn’t until I signed up for a class about food that I was able to actually become a writer.

     Every so often, one comes across a teacher that teaches something that extends beyond the curriculum; something that can be taken away and can be readily applied in everyday life. I was lucky enough to have that experience with Robin Somers.

    Robin helped me to find my voice and taught me that what I have to say is important. Throughout the quarter I was inspired not only by her passion for the subject matter, but also by the love for her students. I haven’t walked away from many classes feeling empowered in the end, but “The Meaning of Food” left me feeling just that.

    This class not only taught me everything and more that I could have ever wanted to know about food, but it gave me a new perspective. “The Meaning of Food” opened my eyes to accepting responsibility for what I put into my body, as well as for my role as a consumer. It was also the stepping-stone to my transition into vegetarianism. I never expected I would learn such important lessons from a writing class, but perhaps the most important one I learned is that knowledge truly is power. With the knowledge I acquired from this class, I had the power to change some aspects in my life and to me, that is more important than any other kind of information one can acquire.

    While I may have forgotten how to conjugate a verb in Spanish or how to differentiate a calculus equation, I will never forget what I learned from “The Meaning of Food” and the impact that the class, as well as Robin, have had on my life. 

  • Honorable Mention - Jackson Greer (Instructor: Jude Todd)

  • Jackson Greer

    "Getting Back to the Farm"

    When I first joined the writing class, "Exploring the Human Relationship with nature," I was not excited. I wanted to be in a writing class about satire or something that I thought would be exciting, or at the very least something fun to develop my own opinions about. It turned out very well, and I am extremely glad to have taken the class. I managed to come out with a strong understanding on what my positions are on the environmental issues we face today—not to mention a firm hold on the issues themselves. 

    I did not have any idea what to write about for the research paper in the beginning. What drove me to the idea of writing about the environmental and ethical travesty that is the modern factory farm was a flashback to a health class I took in my senior year of high school. We watched the movie Food, Inc., and it affected me deeply at the time. After seeing it, I made an unsuccessful attempt at only eating "free-farm" meat. I lasted all of a day. It was quite difficult to find enough food of this sort at a reasonable price. So I forgot about it for a long time.

    When I began to think of ideas for a research paper, the guilt came soaring back to me, and I felt I had to make some sort of contribution to the cause. And it really turned out not to be very hard. I think this is one of the reasons I have been told the paper seems to flow well—I had an actual emotional investment in the topic. It was me talking, my voice coming out on the paper. I can't take all the credit for this though. The paper was what it was in part because of Jude Todd's assistance in the editing process. We had "tutorial" groups, in which five or so of us would bring our papers and we would go around the group critiquing each other's. This and the free-writing method of brainstorming were fundamental to helping the paper come together as a cohesive work.

    I am extremely grateful for this honor, and humbled by the work of the people up here with me. Thank you.

  • Honorable Mention - Rosalie Evans (Instructor: Carol Gerster)

  • Rosalie Evans

    "The Graphic Truth"

    From the selection of books in the Merrill Core Course, I found Luis Rodriguez’s work Always Running the most interesting, probably because it takes place in Los Angeles and deals with adolescents. More importantly though, my high school was situated in an area known for gang activity and during my time there several of my fellow classmates fell victim to gang violence.  But it wasn’t until I started looking into the Rodriguez’s position on censorship in the classroom and the statistics of book-bannings in high schools across the US that writing my paper, The Graphic Truth, became less about the assignment and more about my anger at the injustice against literature and the students that was occurring. So I put the writing skills I had learned, developed and polished through Dr. Gerster’s 80B class to good use and worked really hard in putting together a strong, opinionated paper that, at the very least would grab the attention of those who would eventually read it.