The Department of English sponsors a number of awards each year.

The Edward McGrath Medallion, the English Department’s Medallion of Excellence, is awarded to a graduating senior each year. The 2015 Medallion of Excellence winner is John Szot.

Previous Winners:  
2014 - Christine V. Tergis
2013 - Alexa I Pastor
2012 - Theresa Donohoe and Nicole Battisti
2011 - Molly Schreiber
2010 - Max Stendahl
2009 - Joe R. Gonzalez
- Angela S. Allen
2007 -
Emily M. Trovato
- Thomas Emerson
2005 - Kathryn M. Rutigliano  
2004 - John Durnin
2003 - Mari Grace Crosby
2002 - Michael Foley
2001 - Kristin Suga
2000 - Christine Anderson
1999 - Thomas McKinley
1998 - John Giordano and Megan Norcia
1997 - Lisa Tomaszewski
1996 - Mark Spoonauer
1995 - Kelly Beissel

The Jerome J. Fischer Memorial Award is given annually to the most distinguished undergraduate essay written in a Villanova English course. The Fischer Award honors Jerome J. Fischer, who taught nineteenth-century British literature courses, as well as a variety of other courses, at Villanova from 1947 until his retirement in 1983. He died in 1984.  (For details about the essay competition, click here.)

John Szot, from Keene, New Hampshire, is a senior at Villanova with majors in Biology, English, and Honors. During his time at the university, John has been involved in the Special Olympics committee, New Student Orientation program, and Villanova Band. He works in the Curry laboratory in the Biology department, where his work has been recognized with both a Falvey Scholar award and the top undergraduate poster prize at the 2014 Wilson/AFO ornithological conference. He was inducted to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Over the past few summers, John has worked abroad at Hammersmith & Fulham Mind in London, studied chickadees in the field with grants from Villanova University and Sigma Xi, and interned at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City. He will begin work full time with Bank of America this summer.

He wrote his essay, “'That she could have her vision': The Significance of Form in Virginia Woolf’s Experiential Writing," for Prof. Megan Quigley’s Fall 2014 Senior Seminar.

Previous Winners:  
2014 - Megan Plevy
2013 - Shanon Welch
2012 - Theresa Donohoe
2011 - Molly Schreiber
2010 - Max Stendahl
2009 - Jamie Kapalko
- Daniel E. Trucil
2007 -
Emily Trovato
- Stephen Cornell
- Kristy Wessman
2004 - Mark Napolitano
2003 - Valerie Kate Fernandez  
2002 - Rebecca Corcoran
2001 - Michael Foley
2000 - Corinne Welsh
1999 - Jennifer Joyce
1998 - Cara LaColla
1997 - Chris Eagle
1996 - Wendy Anne Tucker
1995 - [not given out]
1994 - Michael DiRuggiero
1993 - Rosemary Scalo
1992 - Mary Kovalchick
1991 - Peter Naccarato
1990 - Sarah Pines
1989 - Anne Marie Ryan
1988 - Jon Lemole
1987 - Jill Stevens

The Margaret Powell Esmonde Memorial Award is given annually to the most distinguished graduate essay written in a Villanova English course. The Esmonde Award honors Margaret Powell Esmonde, who taught at Villanova from 1974 until her death in 1983. She was a specialist in Renaissance literature who also taught courses in science fiction and children’s literature.  (For details about the essay competition, click here.)

Eric Doyle holds a BA in history and philosophy from Baylor University (2008) and an MA in medieval history from the University of York (2011). His research interests are structured around themes of history and (neo)medievalism in popular culture and in imaginative and genre fiction. At Villanova, Eric has been privileged to explore these interests with the patient guidance of many members of the faculty, including Drs. Heather Hicks and Brooke Hunter, under whose direction he is completing a thesis on Margaret Atwood's post-apocalyptic novels. He wishes especially to thank Dr. Alice Dailey for conducting the seminar that produced this present essay and for exposing him to the texts used in its argument. Eric is very grateful for his experiences here in the English department and looks forward to a career in academic publishing.

He wrote his essay, “'I am not here': The Female Corpse-Image in The Second Maiden’s Tragedy," for Prof. Alice Dailey’s Revenge Tragedy course.

Previous Winners:  
2014 - Theodora Hermes
2013 - Rebecca Hepp
           Cara Saraco
2012 - Alexandra Edwards
2011 - Benjamin Raymond
2010 - James McAdams
2009 - Don James McLaughlin
- John Breedlove
- Rebecca Steffy
2007 -
Rebecca Burnett
- Karen Y. Lee
- Marc Napolitano
2004 - Victor Sensenig
2003 - Deborah Gross
2002 - Brian Sweeney
2001 - Patricia Crouch
2000 - Laura Giuliani
1999 - Sharon Cournoyer
1998 - Marc Schuster
1997 - Mary Ann Quigley
1996 - Robert Duggan, Jr.
1995 - Gale White
1994 - Gale White
1993 - Daniel Hipp
1992 - Helen Goff
1991 - Sr. Elaine Marie Glanz, I.H.M.
1990 - Katrien Conlan
1989 - Janet Wallin
1988 - Anne Gallagher
1987 - Gregory Sullivan
1986 - Ellen Wilmot

The winner of the Senior Creative Writing Award for Poetry is chosen each year on the basis of a portfolio judged by an outside poet.

The award for 2015 goes to John Szot. Honorable mention was awarded to Jenny J. Lee, an English major, and Michael Sorenson, an English and History major.

Two of John Szot's poems follow:

The Return to Tug Hill

The deer must have kept the grass short, trimmed
to the edges of the clapboard
porch. There’s no creak, no protest of dried pine
as my father slips open the door –
like a stone turned over, two years of rot uncovered
in search for worms.
To clear the stale taste from the air,
he steps with practiced habit
and grasps the gnawed handle of the broom
set beneath the skylight.

In one deft motion my father lifts the pole up,
pulling my eyes over a table of jumbled bottles
and the cobwebbed cast iron hung from the wall,
until the tip of the handle locks into its place:
the notch in the woodblock nailed to the sill’s
bottom edge, which keeps the window shut.

My father pushes slightly and the block turns –

just as my grandfather’s hand first turned the block on the nail,
letting out the smell of fresh-cut resin stuck on his hands
which he washed in the cold steel sink of St. Elizabeth’s
before the exam, where he put the flat of the
stethoscope on Mr. Pound’s back, and said

“Breathe in,
     Breath out,
          Breathe in,
               Breathe out.”

The air must have come rushing in, flooding
through the years of smoke-filled walls
and half-spoken words born
in such a lonely cage –

though now the block just turns,
and the window comes free,
and Dad sets the broom back in its place.
Marine Biology

And if I took the book from beneath my head,
unread, anchored firmly
to the top of the library table, even as I drift
drowsily away,
would it change anything for you?

If I stood up, scraped the sleep from my lashes,
pulled down the slimmer bound, softer texts
from the surrounding shelves
and lay them before me instead, I could then press
my ear against their front flaps and listen.

Would their music bubble up,
seep through enjambment and line
breaks, until my pillow washes over
with words in stanza and verse?
Then I might know what to say.

But I’m stuck against the hardcover,
filled with dense scrawl and diagrams
that don’t float but pull.
They drown me in the depths
of uncompromising precision
and leave me unable to rise
out of this awkward silence into the murk
to tell you we share the pH of our blood
with seawater.

The winner of the Senior Creative Writing Award for Fiction is chosen each year on the basis of a portfolio judged by an outside fiction writer.

The award for 2015 goes to Emily Powers, a Biology major with minors in English and Communication.  She first started writing in kindergarten. Her major protagonist was a dog, possibly named Spot, and was in no way chosen to influence her parents to let her get a puppy. Despite her outstanding success with her fifth grade work about evil mastermind squirrels, she decided to become a doctor. Four years later, she changed her mind and is pursuing an MFA in creative writing. She hopes her parents will let her get another puppy.

Honorable mention was awarded to Mary Finnegan, an English, Economics, and Honors major.

The Core Literature and Writing SeminarEssay Award is given each semester to the best papers written for English 1975.

The Spring 2014 winner is Nicole Conway.
Nicole's essay, "Chekhov’s Literary Inheritance from Virgil and Dante," was written for Prof. Jody Ross.

The Fall 2014 winners are Sean Campbell and Kevin Madden.
Sean's essay, "The Zombie Capitalist," was written for Prof. Heather Hicks.
Kevin's essay, "Native American Imagery and Savagery in ‘The Scarlet Plague,’" was written for Prof. Heather Hicks.

Previous winners:  
Fall 2013 - Patrick Ciapciak  
Fall 2012 - Paige Kennedy and
Danielle Sekerak  
  Spring 2013 - Roderic Hutton

The Literary Experience Essay Award is given each semester to the best papers written for English 1050.

The Spring 2012 winner is Nicholas Cho.
Nicholas's essay, "The Excavation and Expulsion of Exploitation in Latin America" was written for Prof. Ellen Bonds.

The Fall 2012 winner is Alissa Foti.
Alissa's essay, "Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Metaphysical Poetry" was written for Prof. Cecilia Ready.

Previous winners:  
Fall 2012 - Alissa Foti
Fall 2011 - Monica Solis
Fall 2010 - Lien Trieu
Fall 2009 - Ellie Garbade
Fall 2008 - Greg Cappa
Fall 2007 - C J Hodukavich
Fall 2006 - Jennifer Latz
Fall 2005 - Stephanie Cody
Fall 2004 - John Zurbach
Fall 2003 - Nadia Nauss
Fall 2002 - Adrienne Sanetrik  
Fall 2001 - Matt Nespoli
Fall 2000 - Michael Knerr and Ryan Zitnay  
Fall 1999 - Kate Schramm
Fall 1998 - Megan Knecht
Spring 2012 - Nicholas Cho
Spring 2011 - [not awarded]
Spring 2010 - Anne Stohlquist
Spring 2009 - Michael Tomae, Nakoya Wilson
Spring 2008 - Kailee Fowler
Spring 2007 - Marissa Zator
Spring 2006 - Christina Park
Spring 2005 - Christian Skonier
Spring 2004 - Emily Trovato and Kerri White
Spring 2003 - Monica Borgone
Spring 2002 - Elizabeth Micklow
Spring 2001 - Matt Varga
Spring 2000 - Andrea Flood
Spring 1999 - Jocelyn Trufant

The English Honor Society is composed of senior English majors with high GPAs both overall and in English courses.  Members are selected in the spring of their senior year.  (They do not have to apply.)

  Marielle A. Alexander
Ashley M. Ayoob
Casey L. Berner
Sean D. Campbell
Kathryn F. Connolly
Nicole Conway
Brenna E. Diaz
Taylor D. De La Pena
Caroline M. Edler
Emily K. Frankenberry  
Grace Kim
Megan A. Malamood
Gina M. Mancini
Angelina H. Matarozzi
Mary R. Muldoon
Cristina L. Paluch
Janine M. Perri
Emma J. Pettit
Michael I Sorensen
Lily Suh
Kristina E. Sumfleth
Jessica A. Swoboda
  INDUCTED 2014:
Kate J. Brunori
Christa R. Chirico
Lauren E. Clem
Mary C. Finnegan
Melanie P. Grenier

Nelson B. Rice
Elaine Roghanian
Danielle E. Sekerak
John C. Szot
Rebecca M. Watson
John Szot
John Szot, winner of the 2015 Medallion