News • April 20, 2022

CBU graduate student wins President’s Award for Excellence in Writing

CBU graduate student wins President’s Award for Excellence in Writing

Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, presents Morgan Vandiver a certificate for winning the 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Writing.

Riverside, Calif. (April 14, 2022) – Morgan Vandiver, a graduate student in English at California Baptist University, was unanimously named the winner of the 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Writing. 

Vandiver’s research paper, titled “The ‘Madwoman’ is Not Your Metaphor: A Feminist Disability Studies Perspective on Wide Sargasso Sea,” explores mental illness and disability through the lens of feminism. 

“This is a clear and persuasive literary criticism paper that intervenes across several important topics from mental health and disability studies to feminism and ethnic studies,” Dr. Tae Sung, dean of student success and member of the selection committee, wrote of the paper. “By acknowledging the attempt by feminist scholars to treat madness as a form of agency, the paper carefully pushes back against reductive attempts to interpret mental illness and disability metaphorically in a way that substitutes and erases the lived experience of people with such conditions.”

Vandiver said she was amazed to win the award and drew her inspiration from her interest in disability studies.

“I have friends who have disabilities, and it is a crucial, underrepresented field,” Vandiver said. “We were learning about a character in a book with a mental disability, and I approached it from a feminist perspective.”

Vandiver received a certificate and a check for $600.

Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, presents Morgan Vandiver a certificate for winning the 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Writing.Michael Dome, an aviation management junior, received first runner-up for his paper, “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Southern California Flight Schools.” The paper explores the timely topic of experiences with COVID-19 and provides those who are unfamiliar with aviation education a better understanding through research conducted in the paper.

This paper is a surprisingly engaging presentation of original research on what initially seemed an esoteric topic,” Dr. Amy Stumpf, professor of society and religion and a member of the selection committee, said of the paper. “The entire project demonstrates a maturity of thought and skill, and the written presentation of the project is technically outstanding.”

Dome received a certificate and a check for $360.

Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, presents Morgan Vandiver a certificate for winning the 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Writing.Bethany Bruce, an English senior, received second runner-up for her paper, “Not Just a Piece in Their Games.” Her paper observes an analysis of the novel “The Hunger Games” and argues that the book is a critique of the mass media and its destructive influence on personal identity.

“It highlights the unique power of stories to inspire us to examine our own lives in this case, primarily our engagement with social media,” Dr. Thomas Schneider, associate professor of English, wrote of the paper.

Bruce received a certificate and a check for $240.

A six-member faculty selection committee used a formal voting process to choose the winning entries.