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2022 Betty G. Headley Senior Essay Award Winners Announced

2022 Betty G. Headley Senior Essay Award Winners Announced

Date: Tuesday, March 07, 2023

St. Jerome’s University (SJU) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Betty G. Headley Senior Essay Award. The annual competition honours the memory of the mother of SJU graduate Sara Elizabeth “Sally” Headley, BA ’04 (English Language and Literature). The award features essays written by upper-year undergraduate students that are distinguished by their eloquence, originality, and persuasive power. Congratulations to Madeline Medensky for placing first in the Course Essay category with their paper Visionary Imagination: Seeing Beyond in Gilead, and Scout Ruppe, winner in the Best Personal Essay category for their paper Jumping with Both Feet: Reclaiming My Identity in a Disabled Community.


“In creating this award, Sally Headley has provided upper-year undergraduates with an amazing opportunity to showcase their writing talents,” noted the non-voting chair of the award’s Selection Committee and SJU Librarian, Michelle, Atkin, PhD. “Having the opportunity to hone one’s skills as a writer takes time, but these early opportunities can have a lasting impact.” 


Each year students follow award submission guidelines to have their essays considered by a Selection Committee for either the Course Essay or Best Personal Essay categories. Course Essays include those written for a third- or fourth-year level course taught at St. Jerome’s University, the University of Waterloo, or an affiliated institution. The winning submission is awarded a $1,500 prize and the Personal Essay winning submission is awarded a $500 prize.

The 2022 Selection Committee, chaired by Atkin and made up of Mark Spielmacher, PhD (Department of English); Andrew Moore, PhD (Department of Medieval Studies | DRAGEN Lab); and Caley McCarthy, PhD (DRAGEN Lab), had the difficult task of choosing from several excellent essay submissions. The decision to select Medensky’s and Ruppe’s essays was unanimous.


Medensky is a fourth-year student studying Honours Arts (Literature and Rhetoric), who is currently on an exchange at University College, London. Ruppe is a fourth-year English major, who has been actively involved with The New Quarterly Canadian literary magazine, housed on the SJU campus. To read their winning essays, visit the Library’s Betty G. Headley Senior Essay Award page on the University’s website.


“We look forward to honouring the winners at our 2023 Graduation Ceremony,” added Atkin. “and to the start of the 2023 contest in April.”


Information about the upcoming 2023 Betty G. Headley Senior Essay Award and copies of winning past entries are available on the Award’s website page.



Madeline Medensky photo
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Scout Ruppe photo
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Madeline Medensky

First Place Winner - Course Essay

Scout Ruppe

First Place Winner - Best Personal Essay





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