Writing Center Awards: Explaining Complexity

Sponsored by:

U.S. News and World Report logo.

The Writing Center is excited to invite you to submit an essay to the 2020 Writing Awards Program, sponsored by US News and World Report.

This year, we are offering $1,000 awards in five categories:

  • Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Data and Computer Sciences
  • Public Policy
  • Pandemic (new!)

Our 2020 awards will celebrate undergraduate writing that makes specialized topics clear and compelling to non-specialists. We want to honor students who can explain complexity. Given the spirit of the moment, we have decided to add an additional category this year, on the topic of Coronavirus and other diseases.

A few academic concepts related to Pandemic in various fields:

  • Outbreak narratives — English, Literary Theory, Gender Studies
  • Game theory of social distancing — Economics, Psychology, Business
  • Limits of monetary policy in a crisis — Economics, Public Policy
  • Externalities during pandemics — Economics, Finance, Business, Health policy
  • Herding behavior during crisis— Psychology, Cognitive Science, Economics
  • Data integrity and teleworking — Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Economics
  • Distributive justice during pandemics — Law,  Justice and Peace Studies
  • Differential mortality rates — Epidemiology, Health Policy, Mathematics and Statistics
  • Stochastic simulation- Mathematics and Statistics, Health Policy, Epidemiology 
  • Coronavirus replicase— Microbiology, Immunology, Epidemiology
  • Zoonotic infection — Biology, Microbiology, Epidemiology 

Instructions: Submit an essay on a topic that’s well understood within an academic specialty but not among the general public. In 1,500 to 2,500 words, make this topic clear and compelling to college-educated, non-specialist readers, without trivializing or oversimplifying it. This can be an essay written for a class, an adapted version of another assignment, or an essay written specifically for this contest.


  1. You must be an enrolled Georgetown undergraduate to apply
  2. You may submit multiple entries in multiple categories
  3. You must review your essay(s) with a Writing Center tutor before submitting. If you previously reviewed an essay with a Writing Center tutor, it does not need to be seen again!

  4. Submit your essay before the deadline, April 24

Our judges will include not only Writing Center staff members but also well-regarded content experts.

The author of the winning work in each category will receive a $1,000 prize, the highest monetary award at Georgetown. We will also publish the winning works on the Writing Center website and invite the authors to meet editors and writers at the US News & World Report headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Please contact writingcenterawards@gmail.com with any questions.