Undergraduate Essay Prize

The undergraduate essay competition is open to all undergraduate students in Women's and Gender Studies courses. Essays are anonymously reviewed by a committee of approximately 3-5 people, and assessed using the following criteria:

  • Was a relevant argument set out in the paper? If so, was the argument fully developed throughout the paper?
  • Were other studies/reports/research referred to? In other words, was there a detailed analysis conducted on the issue?
  • Was this paper unique in some way? Was there any evidence of originality/creativity?
  • Was the writing style at an acceptable level? Were there any grammatical errors or spelling errors? Did the paper flow?
  • Did I learn something from reading this paper?
  • Was this paper relevant to Women’s and Gender Studies?

Winners receive a monetary prize of $100.00, a complimentary one-year membership to the association, and are invited to read their papers at the Awards ceremony during the annual conference. (Up to $500.00 is available to help defray travel costs). Honourable mention receives a monetary prize of $50.00.

Read the application instructions here: WGSRF Undergrad Essay Call (38.5 KB)

Previous Winners

First-Place Prize 
Jacqueline Kittel (University of Victoria), “Women in the Cannabis Industry: Is There a Green Ceiling?”​
First-Place Prize
Courtenay Nielsen (University of Victoria), “Women, Trans and Non-Binary Bike Mechanics: Wielding Wrenches, Defying Expectations, and Fixing Your Bike.”

2015- 2016:
First-Place Prize:
Jane Alice Keachie (University of Toronto), “The Sacred Spaces of Black Queer Resistance.”
Second-Place Prize:
Maria Martinez (University of Toronto), “Accounting for the Afrolatina Presence in the Colombian Salsa Imaginary.”

2014-2015: University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
First Place Essay Prize
Sam Eldridge (University of Victoria), “’Climbing the Mountain’: Negotiating Dis/Ability and Fitness”
Second Place Essay Prize Co-Winner
Julia Dyck (University of Winnipeg), “Threads Among Women: Globalized Capitalism and Female Labour in the Two Thirds-World”
Second Place Essay Prize Co-Winner
Curtis Tanner Sell (Western), “The Political Body A Foucauldian and Butlerian Analysis of Wrongful Birth Litigation’s Regulation of Life”
2013-2014: Brock University, St Catharines, ON
First Place Essay Prize
Jodi Beniuk (University of Victoria), “All of My Relations: Reclaiming the Stories of Our Indigenous Grandmothers.”
Second Place Essay Prize Co-Winner
Astri Jack (UBC Okanagan), “Geography of the Call Girl: The Plating and Consumption of Working Women.”
Second Place Essay Prize Co-Winner
Michelle Moreno (University of Victoria), “In Search of Home: A Critical Self-Exploration in History, Identity and Diaspora Subjectivity.”
2012- 2013: University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

First Place Essay Prize
Johanna Lewis (University of Toronto), “Canadian Imperialism, Queer Diasporas, and Pinkwatching Jason Kenney.”
Second Place Essay Prize Co-Winners
Roxanne Runyon (University of Alberta), “Fear of a Fat Future: Child Obesity, Maternal Bio-Citizenship, and Reproductive Futurism.”
Tyler Carson (University of Toronto), “‘He’s Got a Rainbow Gun’: Homonationalism and the Israel-Palestine Conflict.”

2011-12: Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON

First Place Essay Prize
Jamie Pitt, “Inescapable ‘Human Porosity’: Dis/ability, ‘Ethnicity’ and Language in Hélène Cixous’ The Day I Wasn’t Here." Memorial University of Newfoundland

Second Place Essay Prize
Jennie Thompson, "The ‘Secret Sin’ of Victorian Men: The Masturbation and Spermatorrhea ‘Panic’ of Mid-to-Late Nineteenth-Century Britain." University of Prince Edward Island
2010-11: University of New Brunswick, Frederticton, NB

First Place Essay Prize
Sinéad Charbonneau, “Space, Power, and Difference: The Murder of Ariana May Simpson.” University of Victoria

Second Place Essay Prize:
Tara Paterson, “Choice by any other name: The Abortion Art Controversy and the Limits of Liberalism.” University of Victoria

Honourable Mentions
1) Ashley Pleasant, “Safe for Whom? The Politics of Safe Space at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.” McMaster University

2) Shelagh Pizey-Allen, “Queering the Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Homonormativity, Settler Homonationalism, and the Erasure of Difference.” University of Winnipeg

3) Roxanne Runyon, “Navigating Two-Spirited Identities: Towards a Queer Theory of Decolonization." University of Alberta

2009-10: Concordia University, Montreal, QC

not awarded this year

2008-09: Carleton University, Ottawa, ON

First Place Essay Prize:
Sarah Dack, "Dancing with Ellen: Queer moments and acceptable queer aesthetic." University of Winnipeg

Honourable Mention:
Janine Aube, "A look at racial ambiguity." Lakehead University

2007-08: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

First Place Essay Prize
Molly McCullough, "A Long Way Home: A Glimpse at Transnational Adoption." University of Victoria

2006-07: University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

First Place Essay Prize
Lauren Warbeck, "Problematizing Whale Rider: Maori Story, Pakeha Storytellers." University of Victoria

2005-06: York University

First Place Essay Prize
Trish McIntosh, "VIATHAI: White Men's Erections and Neocolonial Representations of Thai Sex Workers." Concordia University

2004-05: University of Western Ontario, London, ON

First Place Essay Prize
Joanna Campbell, "The Cultural Taboo of Breastfeeding in American Culture." Concordia University