Mid-State Technical College student Carly Knutson, Pittsville, winner of the essay category in the Write on the Money with her piece, “A Day in the Life of a Showgirl.” The Mid-State Technical College logo is on the right.

Mid-State announces winners of annual Write on the Money contest

May 4, 2021

Mid-State Technical College recently announced the winners of its fourth-annual student writing contest, “Write on the Money.” This year’s contest drew submissions from 15 students in the research paper category and 27 in the essay category. 

In the research paper category, Brian Grzesik, Liberal Arts–Associate of Arts student from Stevens Point, took first place with “Fighting the Tide: Diversity in the Publishing Industry.” Nicole Hoff, Digital Marketing student from Marshfield, was named runner up with “Donating Blood.” In the essay category, Carly Knutson, Industrial Mechanical Technician student from Pittsville, took first place with “A Day in the Life of a Showgirl.” Klayton Havlovic, Welding student from Nekoosa, was named runner up with “A Headstone Full of Memories.”

"Winning the contest means a lot to me,” said Knutson. “English has never been a strength of mine, and I have worked hard to better my skills."

“I’m always excited to see who the judges select, as there are so many well-written entries for Write on the Money,” said Communication Instructor Jill Quinn, one of Mid-State’s General Education communications team members charged with organizing the contest. “This year, I was delighted that both winners in the personal essay category are students in manufacturing programs, indicating that Mid-State students enter the workforce with a diverse array of skills and talents.”

Author and judge Carrie Hagen had this to say about her selected winners in the research paper category: “Grzesik’s ‘Fighting the Tide - Diversity in the Publishing Industry’ begins with a focused abstract that offers a clear thesis for an important topic. The paper begins with an engaging anecdote and opens into a discussion that considers an impressive number and type of sources without overwhelming the writer’s voice. The writer's quote selection and integration calls attention to the breadth of the research, and the organization of the paper reflects a respect for the writing process. In ‘Donating Blood,’ Hoff communicates a commanding knowledge of the topic through a measured discussion of the health benefits of blood donation. With clear sentences, ‘Donating Blood’ incorporates basic anatomy into its argument, using education to motivate readers.”

Writer Nick White, who judged the personal essay category, noted that Knutson’s "A Day in the Life of a Showgirl" perfectly captures in vivid language the grit and gumption and care required for showing livestock. “The author is clear-eyed and funny, reminiscent of the work of Maile Meloy and Kim Barnes.” About Havlovic’s "A Headstone Full of Memories," he said, “This essay explores the nuances of grief without an ounce of sentimentality, and yet is still quite moving: no easy answers here, only questions, which reflect a writer coming to terms with the uncertainties of life and death.”  

Finalists in the personal essay category are as follows:  

  • “My Son’s Advocate” by Elizabeth Downs, Respiratory Therapy, Wisconsin Rapids
  • “Struggles Often Lead to Treasure” by Kitt Covi, Nursing, Wisconsin Rapids
  • “My Turn” by Lauren Koopman, Non-Degree Seeking, Loyal
  • “Never Came Home” by Adam Spaw, IT Network Specialist, Friendship
  • “Forgiveness” by Rhana Schroer, IT Computer Support Specialist, Wisconsin Rapids
  • “Becoming a Statistic” by Kylie Marchel, IT Network Specialist, Stevens Point
  • “Everlasting Mourning Dove” by Lianna M. Schoen, Nursing, Nekoosa
  • “The Harbor” by Brayden Hulce, Liberal Arts–Associate of Arts, Stevens Point

Following are the essay category finalists:

  • “Reflection Report—Three Phases of the Developmental Methodology” by Ashley Spink, Medical Coder, Portage
  • “The Declining Mental Health of American Females Caused by Social Media” by Miranda L. Rusin, Health & Wellness Promotion, Plover
  • “An Issue at Hand: Vaccinations” by Bailey Femling, Accounting, Plover
  • “The Amish—Cultural Scholarly Paper” by Amanda Frederick, Nursing, Merrill
  • “Amish Culture” by Lauren Schwarz, Nursing, Stevens Point

Learn more about Mid-State’s programs at mstc.edu/programs.