2022 Undergraduate Writers' Conference Submission
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To be eligible, entrants must:
- Be a current undergraduate student at USC,
- Complete an online registration form that includes a 300-500 word Writer’s Statement and submission of one piece of writing in one writing style category, and
- Commit to attend at least two sessions on the day of the Writer’s Conference in addition to the Keynote Address and Lunch Celebration the following day in order to maintain eligibility for prize consideration.
- No group writing submissions will be accepted.
Writing Category Descriptions
Please submit one piece of writing in one of the four categories offered:
- Professional Writing/Moral Reasoning: Papers about ethical dimensions of your discipline or future profession. Examples include: Marshall white papers; Annenberg analyses of media industries; International Relations problem-based essays; Philosophy papers; some English & cultural studies essays; WRIT 340 pre-law briefs or memos; researched essays; some GE category C/6 essays; some GE category B/2 essays.
- Analytical Essay: Thesis-driven essays and editorials; use of theoretical and conceptual models; critical theory; close readings of primary text(s); evaluation of books, film, and other media; furthering or interrogating established truths or concepts.
- Research Essay: Multiple source bibliography; hypothesis testing; evidence/data-based argumentation; reviews of academic literature and existing scientific inquiry.
- Creative Work: Short stories, screenplays, collections of poetry, scripts for performance art, one-act plays, multimedia.
All submissions will also be considered for the USC Schwarzenegger Institute Award and Sustainability Award when the writing topic aligns with award criteria.
- 40 pages max per submission
- PDF format only
- There is a 1000MB/1GB limit for each submission
- Double-spaced, 12pt font, is the preferred format with the exception of poetry and screenwriting
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Academic and Nonfiction Publishing Panel (10:00am-10:50am TCC 227)
Professional writers share their experiences and insights on the path to getting academic and nonfiction work published.
Small Group Discussion Session 1 (11:00am-11:50am PST Virtual)
Led by USC Writing Program faculty or senior moderator, small groups offer a space to share work with fellow writers and receive feedback. Participants will be expected to share their Writer’s Conference submission with the group and read 4-6 pieces before the discussion. Participants are assigned discussion groups and receive readings a few days prior to the event.
Past UWC Winners Panel (12:00pm-12:50pm TCC 227)
Previous Undergraduate Writers’ Conference winners will share excerpts from their winning submissions and unique approaches to writing.
Small Group Discussion Session 2 (1:00pm-1:50pm PST Virtual)
Open Mic (2:00pm-2:50pm TCC 227)
Share your Writer’s Conference submission or cheer on fellow writers from the audience during this writer’s showcase.
Small Group Discussion Session 3 (4:00pm-4:50pm PST Virtual)
Creative Publishing Panel (5:00pm-5:50pm PST TCC 227)
Professional writers share their experiences and insights learned on the path to getting creative work published.
Potential Online Publication
All participants gain automatic consideration for publication in Scribe, the USC Dornsife online journal produced by undergraduates, and Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS), an academic research libraries program that preserves excellence in student scholarship.
Thursday, March 31, 2022
Keynote Address, Celebration Lunch & Awards Ceremony (12:00pm-1:00pm Outdoor Venue)
Enjoy a keynote address from an inspirational writer and lunch in celebration with all participants. The most outstanding works will be recognized with First Prizes of $1000, Second Prizes of $500, or Honorable Mention.
At the start of the session, you are encouraged to give a short oral introduction of your work to the group (no more than five minutes). The session is meant to be discussion-based, so PowerPoints and other multimedia presentations are not used as part of your introduction
Judging & Prizes
Judges are USC faculty members primarily from the USC Writing Program, Schwarzenegger Institute and Office of Sustainability. Each category has a panel of 2-6 judges, who are assigned based on their respective expertise in each of the writing categories.
The judges will award the following prizes:
- First Prize (All Categories): One $1000 First Prize will be awarded in each of the four writing categories.
- Second Prize (All Categories): One $500 Second Prize will be awarded in each of the four writing categories. USC Schwarzenegger Institute Award: The USC Schwarzenegger Institute will also award one $1000 First Prize and one $500 Second Prize to students whose work proposes real world solutions to serious policy challenges and improves the lives of people and communities with regard to issues in education, environment & energy, or political reform.
- Sustainability Award: One $1000 First Prize and one $500 Second Prize to students whose work addresses understanding of the threats posed by climate change and other dangerous environmental trends to the well-being of people and planet. In line with President Folt’s vision for a more sustainable USC and recommendations from the Presidential Sustainability Working Group, we encourage submissions related to sustainability, climate change, and climate justice.
All categories will also include an Honorable Mention.
An Undergraduate Writers’ Conference Prize is disbursed as a stipend in the spring as a check issued to the student. This may affect student financial aid packages. Students are encouraged to email the Financial Aid Office through the askUSC portal to discuss the potential effects of a Prize. The award could adversely affect students with Pell grants and/or loans.
For application technical questions contact: Katie Capra
For general questions regarding the Undergraduate Writers' Conference contact: Professor Amy Meyerson