Trine honors Cunningham winners

ANGOLA (03/01/2019) — Trine University presented awards to the winners of its 10th annual Walter Cunningham Writing Contest at a ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 28, in Wells Theater.

"This year's winners come from a diverse cross-section of Trine's majors and represent the range of writing going at Trine - in and outside of the traditional classroom," said Cassandra Bausman, Ph.D., director of Trine's Writing Center and assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Communication.

Named after Walter Cunningham, a Tri-State University alumnus, the campus-wide competition honors the best in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and academic writing. Early in his career, while working for the U.S Department of Labor, Cunningham and his team were asked to write reports to be used as evidence in federal court cases. He found this experience so challenging that he was inspired to embark on a successful campaign to teach himself to write more effectively.

Cunningham and his wife Don Nell sponsor the Cunningham contest each year.

"It has been my lack of English and writing skills throughout my life that encourages me at this time in life to attempt to help others understand, in some small way, the importance of obtaining these skills early," he said.

Winners for this year's contest were:


First place - "The Huntress and the Hunted," by Jenna Niemeyer, a senior from Hoagland, Indiana, majoring in English Education.

Second place - "Katy Perry's Firework - A Rhetorical Criticism of the Song/Music Video," by Clare Danner, a senior from Indianapolis majoring in communication.

Third place - "Ethical Issues in Overcrowded Prisons and Jails," by Briann Hildenbrand, a student in Trine's College of Graduate and Professional Studies from Fort Wayne, Indiana, majoring in applied management.

Honorable mention - "The Need for Needling," by Caleigh Burkley, a sophomore from Huntington, Indiana, majoring in exercise science; and "The Importance of Paid Maternity Leave," by Haley Bond, a sophomore from Middlebury, Indiana, majoring in forensic science.

Creative Nonfiction:

First place - "Bangs," by Jenna Niemeyer.

Second place - "Chopping Onions," by Anthony Passino, a student in Trine's College of Graduate and Professional Studies from Fort Wayne, Indiana, majoring in applied management.

Third place - "Forever and Always," by Emily Nettesheim, a freshman from Hartland, Wisconsin, majoring in biology.

Honorable mention - "Amy," by Abbey Wang, a freshman from Kentland, Indiana, majoring in communication.


First place - "Your Sinister Poetry," by Ashton Benson, a sophomore from Delaware, Ohio, majoring in civil engineering.

Second place - "Lemonade," by Upasana Shrestha, a freshman from Lalitpur, Nepal, majoring in biomedical engineering.

Third place - "Walking in the Streets of Nepal," by Upasana Shrestha.

Honorable mention - "Empty Suitcase and Broken Dreams," by Chloe Lounds, a senior majoring in management from Waterloo, Indiana.


First place - "The Locket," by Kira Lulko, a freshman from Milford, Michigan, majoring in biomedical engineering.

Second place - "Jarvis' Delirium," by Alex Kromkowski, a junior from Rochester, Indiana, majoring in psychology.

Third place -"Groundsky," by Zachary Hoehn, a freshman from Crestwood, Illinois, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Winners received an award certificate and cash prizes - $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third - as well as their names inscribed on a plaque in Trine's Taylor Hall. They also will have their work published in Trine's online literary magazine, Inscriptions, located online at

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Winners from Trine University’s 10th annual Walter Cunningham Writing Contest. Front, from left, Emily Nettesheim, Caleigh Brukley, Kira Lulko, Alex Kromkowski, Anthony Passino; back, Abbey Wang, Jenna Niemeyer, Ashton Benson and Upasana Shrestha. Not pictured: Clare Danner, Briann Hildenbrand, Haley Bond, Chloe Lounds and Zachary Hoehn. (Photo by Lacie Piekarski)