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Student Essay Contest

Student Essay Contest Winner Selected

Shepherd alumni (December 2018 graduate) Rob Hill was selected as the winner of the 2018-2019 Common Reading Student Essay Contest. His essay, “Transforming North Korea from Within”, was chosen by our panel of judges as the winning essay. Hill believes that the more informed we as Americans become to the plight of North Korean citizens, the more we must do to help them oppose the oppressive dictatorship that limits their freedom. “North Korean citizens appear to be learning that the outside world is much different than what their government has told them,” he states in his essay.

Hill chose to use his $350 prize toward the purchase of a new laptop. Thanks to all who entered the Student Essay Contest, and to our judges, Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, Dr. Julia Sandy, and Dr. Laura Robertson for reading the entries and selecting the winning essay.

Common Reading Student Essay Contest
Shepherd students are encouraged to enter the Common Reading Student Essay Contest. Please share these guidelines with students and encourage them to enter. Entries should be emailed to and are being accepted now through April 1. The winner will receive $350 towards Shepherd University tuition or the purchase of an education-related device or tech gadget. Entries are judged by a panel of three faculty members using a rubric developed by the English Department. Essays written for a specific class or other assignment are acceptable. 

The Girl with Seven Names: Common Reading Essay Contest Prompts

A winning entry does/has the following elements:

Special thanks to our judges: Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, Dr. Laura Robertson, and Dr. Julia Sandy