Five students win Dunbar Prize

Last Wednesday, the College awarded the Dunbar Student Life Prize, whose monetary value ranges from $1000 to $5000, to five students: Lauren Agoubi ’13, Taylor Bundy ’13, Ashley Ray-Harris ’13, Chelli Riddiough ’14 and Monica Torres ’13. Each student was asked to submit an article or essay on a topic relating to student life.

Agoubi wrote her essay on mental health at the College, investigating the support that the College does and does not provide to its students. “I used the example of my grandmother’s passing in my sophomore year to discuss how difficult it can be to deal with some of the most ‘human’ aspects of life at Williams when we live in a context that is so fast-paced and filled with ‘busy traps,’” Agoubi said. She intends to save the money for after graduation. “I am going to Ireland on a Fulbright research grant next year, and I want to use the Dunbar money to help out with the existing grant,” Agoubi said. Agoubi is a chemistry major.

Bundy was awarded the prize after submitting an article published in the Record titled “‘Fisher’ brings question of race in college admissions to forefront’” (Dec. 5). Bundy is a former managing editor for the Record. The article looks at the role of race in the college admissions process and details the ramifications of several Supreme Court cases regarding affirmative action, including Fisher v. University of Texas. “For my Dunbar application, I submitted an article I wrote for The Williams Record’s last issue of the semester, which was particularly meaningful not only because it marked the culmination of my career as a member of the editorial board as writing staff, but also because I was able to research and write about an issue I am interested in and invested in,” Bundy said. Bundy, who will be working as a teacher in New York City after graduation, plans to use the money to facilitate her transition to teaching after graduation. Bundy is an English and philosophy double major.

Ray-Harris submitted an alternative application, offering the pilot episode of a comedy series she is writing. “I’m currently in an independent study on television screenplay writing. In this course, I’m writing a 30-minute, six-episode comedy series on student life and race called No Coast.” After graduation, Ray-Harris intends to seek a career in television. She will use her prize money to pursue this goal. Ray-Harris is a history and English double major.

Riddiough is a philosophy major and plans to save her prize money until after graduation and use it to travel or as seed money to help her start her career. “I received the Dunbar for two submissions: a speech about the power of language in changing our societal attitudes towards women and an essay about elitism and health at Williams,” Riddiough said.

Torres submitted an essay regarding the complexity of her choice to major in English. Her essay details how her family’s Spanish-speaking background contrasted with her study of English, a language she writes is “the language of conquest.” Torres uses the study of language to more broadly explore the principles of inclusion and exclusion of minorities, particularly in higher education. Torres’ essay is published in The Feminist Wire. “I intend to use the [prize] money to fund my graduate studies with NYU Journalism’s Studio 20 program in the fall,” Torres said. “As a new collective member of The Feminist Wire, I intend to use the prize money to continue recruiting writers and editing submissions to their new college column.” Torres is an American studies and English major.

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