Each year, the Writing Program recognizes the best essay written for WRI 1000 and for WRI 1100 with the Rauer and Hedges Awards.

The WRI 1000 Rauer Award is named in honor of Ruthanna Rauer, Dr. Peter Moe’s sixth grade teacher. Every exam she gave was an essay exam, as Mrs. Rauer believed students must write to learn, whatever the subject matter, her pedagogy aligning so well with what both WRI 1000 and 1100 teach.

The WRI 1100 Hedges award is named in honor of Richard Hedges, who graduated from Seattle Pacific College and then earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in counseling. Dr. Hedges worked for decades as a wise and effective clinical psychologist, and was a fine athlete, scholar, and supporter of SPU. He co-founded the Friends of the Library endowment and contributed generously to it.

Together, these awards celebrate students and their writing, the teachers teaching them to do it, and the teachers who taught those teachers.


Submissions for each award are accepted every spring, from week 10 through Finals. Essays must have been written within the previous academic year. Entries can be emailed to Rachel Johnson, the Administrative Assistant for the Humanities. Awards are given the following fall.

Winners of the WRI 1000 Rauer Award

2023 First Place Katelyn Flolo, “An Examination of Private Religious Education in the United States,” written in Professor Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum’s WRI 1000

2023 Honorable Mention Malia Schumer, “Racialized Housing: A Descendant of White Supremacy,” written in Dr. Traynor Hansen’s WRI 1000

2022 First Place Jaylen Wilson, “Schindler’s List of Personal Stories,” written in Professor Jeffrey Overstreet’s WRI 1000

2022 Honorable Mention Tani Yoshioka, “Howl’s Moving Castle: Miyazaki’s Fairytale is Closer to Reality Than We Think,” written in Professor Jeffrey Overstreet’s WRI 1000

2021 First Place Carissa Ing, “Clarity Nurtures Community and Change,” written in Dr. Sam Hushagen’s WRI 1000

2021 Honorable Mention Hailey Hooper-Gray, “The Office: ‘There’s a Lot of Beauty in Ordinary Things, Isn’t that Kind of the Point?'”, written in Professor Jeffrey Overstreet’s WRI 1000

2020 First Place Amber Easterling, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Diversity; An Old Classic That Keeps Evolving,” written in Professor Jeffrey Overstreet’s WRI 1000

2020 Honorable Mention Katherine Kuang, “Blue-Collar Brilliance in a Gen Z’s World,” written in Professor Paul Anderson’s WRI 1000

2019 First Place Claire Conway, “The Answer to Seattle’s Homeless Crisis is More than a Number,” written in Professor Gedney Barclay’s WRI 1000

2019 Honorable Mention Noel Goodwin, “The Evolution of Women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” written in Dr. Yelena Bailey’s WRI 1000

2018 First Place Marissa Lordahl, “He Did, She Did: An Examination of Reparations,” written in Dr. Traynor Hansen’s WRI 1000

2018 Honorable Mention Lydia Helt, “Ignorance: Bliss or Blindness: A Response to the Effects of Knowledge as Discussed in Materialism: A Fable by Alfred Döblin,” written in Dr. Mischa Willett’s WRI 1000

Winners of the WRI 1100 Hedges Award

2023 First Place Caroline Rich, “The Stories of Patients and the Patience for Stories,” written in Professor Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum’s WRI 1100

2023 Honorable Mention Mateo A. Cuadros, “The Captivating Allure of Abusive Love: Why Adolescents Stay in Abusive Relationships,” written in Dr. Marcia Webb’s WRI 1100

2022 First Place Lola Duropan, “Hovering Over Your Child: The Effects of Helicopter Parenting on College Students,” written in Dr. Marcia Webb’s WRI 1100

2022 Honorable Mention Stella Bailey, “The Capability Rhetoric of Feminism and Its Ableism,” written in Professor Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum’s WRI 1100

2021 First Place Annika Esvelt, “The Prevalence and Effect of Eating Disorders in Female College Athletes,” written in Dr. Marcia Webb’s WRI 1100

2021 Honorable Mention Jorie Skipper, “God’s Megaphone,” written in Dr. Doug Koskela’s WRI 1100

2020 First Place Emily Stinson, “Student Protests in Murakami: Fighting the System,” written in Dr. Luke Reinsma’s WRI 1100

2020 Honorable Mention, Zeth Bolosan, “More Than What Meets the Eye,” written in Dr. Mark Walhout’s WRI 1100

2019 First Place Noel Goodwin, “Reducing Nativism Against Arab Refugees: The United States’ Inability to Fulfill Allport’s (1954) Theory of Intergroup Contact,” written in Dr. Ruth Ediger’s WRI 1100

2019 Honorable Mention Megan Nixon, “The Imitation of Nature: Photography’s Role in the Rise of Modernism,” written in Dr. Mischa Willett’s WRI 1100

“How I Learned to Write” Speakers

Our annual award ceremony includes the “How I Learned to Write” keynote address. In the address, a member of the SPU faculty reflects on their life as a writer, key moments in their education, key figures and teachers along the way, and important lessons learned about writing and about life.

         2023, Dr. Sara Shaban, Assistant Professor of Communication

2020–22, no award ceremony or keynote due to COVID-19

2019, Dr. David Leong, Associate Professor of Missiology

2018, Dr. Eric Long, Professor of Biology