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Up Close with Student Award Winners: March 2017

audience listening to student winners

This issue, we're spotlighting four of our student award winners: the winners of the Fall 2016 Boothe Prizes and the Fall 2016 Lunsford Awards. These students will be honored in person at ceremonies in May.

Xinlan Emily Hu: Boothe Prize (Fall 2016)

Xinlan Emily Hu

Emily was awarded the Boothe Prize for her Fall 2016 essay, "Endangered Languages: Rescuing the World's Invisible Libraries."  She wrote this essay for Irena Yamboliev's fall Education as Self-Fashioning (ESF) section.  Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she plans on majoring in CS or Management Science and Engineering. She's particularly interested in interdisciplinary intersections -- between computer science and linguistics, philosophy and technology, etc. Outside of class, she's involved in the Stanford Debate Society, writes for the Stanford Daily, and is a member of the Undergraduate Chinese American Association.  In reflecting on her work in PWR, Emily writes, "PWR 1 allowed me to become conscious of my voice as a writer—to craft my writing carefully and to make impactful rhetorical choices. I also loved writing about a topic that appealed precisely to my core interests. My paper on endangered languages covered linguistics, computer science (in particular, Natural Language Processing), and a complex principled debate about cultural imperialism. It was an interdisciplinary research project for an interdisciplinary student. I also think that the researched project help inspire me for my future studies. Especially after reading about NLP for my paper, I'm hoping to learn more about it in future classes."

Irena writes of Emily's work on her project, "At the very beginning of the quarter, Emily told me that she wanted to embrace our class’s invitation to experiment with her writing, with finding new ways to really reach her audience, to illuminate connections among discourses, developments, and ways of thinking that might at first glance seem utterly disparate, and to find new forms for her essays. In her Research-Based Argument, she did just that. Emily fruitfully weaves together her personal experience with an endangered language (her grandmother’s Shanghainese) with a deft and clear-sighted interrogation of the power dynamics that accompany attempts to preserve such languages (saving them shouldn’t come at the expense of their speakers’ agency and dignity, Emily argues), and she calls on us to think of these languages as holding the answers to questions we may not yet have thought to ask. A pleasure to read, Emily’s essay gives us a new way to think about the delicate task of saving those treasure troves, collaboratively."

Emily's essay will be available online in late May through the Boothe website.

Vienna Kuhn: Boothe Prize, Honorable Mention (Fall 2016)

Vienna Kuhn

Vienna Kuhn received a Boothe Prize Honorable Mention for her essay, "Fighting for Choice," which she wrote as part of Lindsey Felt's fall PWR 1 class, "The New Normal: The Rhetoric of Disability."  Vienna lives in San Diego California, but is originally from the Imperial Valley, California, a small agricultural community two hours east of San Diego. As she writes, "I was always a voracious reader and an avid writer but then fell in love with biology in seventh grade. Academically, since then, I’ve been looking for ways to combine my interest in genetics and its future applications in medicine and health with my writing and people skills. My goal is to end up in some sort of intersection between business and science."  She notes the following about her experience in PWR, "[It]was especially meaningful because it gave me the opportunity to find this intersection of my interests. The skills I gained in presenting a convincing argument and closely analyzing a work of rhetoric were things I didn’t think could be applied to science, but now I know they can be."

Vienna's essay will be available online in late May through the Boothe website.

Juliana Chang: Lunsford Award Winner (Fall 2016)

Juliana Chang

Juliana Chang won one of the Fall 2016 Lunsford awards for her presentation, "Heritage Language Loss in Second Gen East Asian Americans" for Ann Watters' PWR 2, "Don't Stand So Close to Me: Cross-Cultural Communication."  Ann notes that in the presentation, Juliana "present[ed] a compelling discussion about heritage language loss in second generation students of East Asian descent.  She combined rigorous academic studies, poetics, and elegant writing and speaking  to address issues of identity, heritage, and language."

Juliana is a Linguistics major and a Creative Writing minor. She is especially interested in bilingualism, sociolinguistics, and the way that language can inform or even shape identity -- an interest she traces back to her own background: "I spent half of my life in America and half in Taiwan. I was born in Taiwan, moved to California at 6 months old, moved back to Taiwan at age 12, and now I'm back here for college, so for me, multiculturalism is a really big part of who I am and what I care about. PWR 2 was a really way for me to start doing research into bilingualism and heritage languages, which is what I plan on doing my honors thesis on, and the class also vastly improved my ability to make and deliver presentations." Outside of her classwork, Juliana performs with the Stanford Spoken Word Collective and dances with Common Origins, one of Stanford's hip hop dance groups.

Sophia Pink: Lunsford Award Winnter (Fall 2016)

Sophia Pink

Sophia Pink won a Fall 2016 Lunsford award for her presentation, "How the NRA Shot Down the Ivory Tower," which she composed for Erica Cirillo-McCarthy's PWR 2 course,  "Like this Course: The Rhetoric of Public Relations."  Sophia is a Product Design Engineering major from Washington, DC.  Her interest in design extends to many aspects of her academic life: "I’m fascinated with understanding how people think and behave, and using those insights to design systems and experiences. Last summer, I conducted research at the Designing Education Lab on how students feel about asking questions. On the design side, I co-founded the Stanford Voter Project, an initiative to transform voting from a solitary chore to a community activity. We had 41 representatives in 25 dorms, with a reach of over 3,000 students. I’m also a teaching assistant for an exciting new class at the Graduate School of Business called 'Designing for VR/AR.'" She sees the skills she developed in Erica's class as directly contributing to her ongoing work in this field: "In the future, I hope to do work that connects the academic and design worlds. There is a huge communication gap between academics conducting research and designers trying to apply it. The skills I learned in PWR help me begin to bridge the gap between these two groups and the people they serve."

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