University of Derby Education student wins Critical Writing Prize 2019

14 May 2019

A University of Derby Education student has won the Critical Writing Prize 2019. The annual prize, sponsored by Critical Publishing, is awarded for the best student essay demonstrating a high level of critical thinking.

The prize is open to any undergraduate or postgraduate student from the full range of social work, nursing and education-related disciplines.

Amanda Summers, who is studying for an MA in Education, was nominated by her lecturer Jennifer Marshall for her essay Reducing the Gender Pay Gap: Could more women in STEM be the answer?

She said: “I was completely surprised but absolutely delighted to receive the Critical Prize for Writing for Education. After coming back to university following a long break, it’s been so rewarding return to academic life and I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing this essay. It’s great to know that someone enjoyed reading it too!”

Amanda’s lecturer, Jennifer Marshall, added: "I am absolutely thrilled that Amanda has won the Critical Writing Prize for Education. Her hard work and dedication to her studies is evident in this essay. It is a well-deserved prize!"

Jane Bottomley, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Senior Fellow of the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes, and this year’s judge, commented on the entrants: “I had the great privilege and the great pleasure to judge the Critical Prize this year. However, it was by no means easy to select winners from such a wealth of interesting, engaging, critical student writing! It is marvellous to be reminded of the quality of writing that is being produced by students in these hugely important disciplines.

"The shortlisted entries all delivered cogent, well-supported arguments. Some were more theoretical than others; some were more data driven than others; some were reflective in nature – a hugely important aspect of criticality in these disciplines; some were overtly passionate about what they believed or advocated – a reminder of the possible intersections between criticality and emotion. But all were rigorous in their critical analysis and evaluation of the relevant evidence, genuinely engaged in their field of enquiry, and creative in their response to the task in hand.

"In the end, the winners were the ones who I felt brought everything – concepts, argument, evidence, criticality – together in a particularly elegant way, combining clarity of thought and persuasive writing. But, as I said, it was a really tough call!”

Amanda receives £200-worth of Critical Publishing books. Her winning entry is available on The Critical Blog.

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