In a university-wide initiative to give those who feel marginalized a chance to tell their stories, more than 50 University of Delaware students participated in the Voices of the Divide Audio Essay Contest during the fall 2017 semester. Students submitted personal and emotional stories about a variety of topics, including racism, immigration, religious differences, partisan politics, sexual harassment, homophobia, and geographical differences.
Judging was based on originality and creativity; understanding of the theme; delivery; and production value. The views and opinions expressed by the contest participants do not necessarily reflect the views of the university, its administration, or faculty.
The CPC announced the winners at an awards banquet on February 26 and presented awards of $500 to $50 to first-place, second-place, third-place, and three honorable mention recipients. Delaware Public Media (WDDE 91.1 and WMPH 91.7) and WVUD Radio (91.3) will air the winning essays.
After Dinner―Oscar de Paz, a Ph.D. student studying energy and environmental policy, describes an encounter while cleaning up after dinner with his family in his story of innocence lost.
Afraid―Madeline Merritts, a junior studying media communication, depicts the anxiety and fear that women and girls experience because of unwanted attention and sexualization.
Fitting In―Monique Harmon, a junior studying English, shares her perspective of belonging to a religion that isn't considered to be part of mainstream American society.
Division in Mental Health―Alex Baker, a junior studying communication, describes his own struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the stigmatization that people with mental illness must confront.
Pretty Hurts―Michelle Dao, a junior studying art history, examines the reductionist complement, "You're pretty for an Asian."
Occupying Space: A Case Study of My Female Identity―Taylor Garbowski, a sophomore studying environmental and resource economics, reconciles the conflict she feels between her personal identity as a female and the expectations of society.
The CPC commends the remaining finalists:
Fight Like a Woman―Kristina Curran, a senior studying English, shares her experience of being treated unfairly because of her gender.
Life Against the Narrative―Jessica Jenkins, a junior studying English, recalls a sexual assault and the frustration of not being believed.
The Struggle―Stacy Rahaka Mahiga, a senior studying communication, describes her struggle to feel accepted in America since emigrating from Kenya when she was 12 years old.
Still Standing―Katie Mazur, a junior studying political science and media communication, shares her passion for politics and desire to express her conservative views.