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Write on the Money

Annual Student Writing Contest

Are you a Mid-State student who enjoys writing or has a strong example of a research paper or essay that you’ve already written? Submit your writing to compete for a $100 gift card and a chance to showcase your work! 

This contest provides two categories for submission (Research Paper and Essay). Students can compete in one or both—the winner of each category will receive a $100 gift card from the location of their choice, donated by the Student Leadership Board

Students are encouraged to submit existing writing that qualifies and adheres to the submission categories and guidelines, or write a new paper or essay just for the contest. 

Qualifications for Entry

  • You must be currently enrolled as a student at Mid-State Technical College for the spring 2024 semester.
  • You may enter one paper per category.
  • Your paper must be original, unpublished nonfiction (no fiction or poetry).

Submission Categories

  • Research Paper: On any topic. Up to 2,500 words, double spaced, in APA style.
  • Essay: A descriptive, definition, narrative, personal, persuasive, opinion, comparison, classification/division, process analysis, or cause and effect essay. Up to 2,000 words, double spaced, in APA style.

How to Enter

For instructions on how to submit your work, email your name and student ID # to Communication Instructor Jill Quinn

Contest Timeline

  • Friday, February 23, 11:59 p.m. – Deadline for submission.
  • Friday, April 5, 4:00 p.m. – Contest winners notified.


Freesia McKee – Essay Judge
Freesia McKee (she/her) writes about gender, genre, history, and place. She works in poetry, creative prose, book reviews, and literary criticism. Freesia is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and she is the author of two poetry chapbooks, How Distant the City (Headmistress Press, 2018) and Hummingbird Vows (Bottlecap Press, 2023). Freesia’s writing has been featured in CALYX, Painted Bride Quarterly, Plume, Nimrod International, Fugue, Flyway, The Boiler Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Essay Daily, Cleaver Magazine, The Slowdown, and many other venues. She’s participated in collaboration with the O, Miami Poetry Festival, Riverwest Radio, and La Prosette. Freesia has presented poetry craft talks and creative writing pedagogy research at a variety of conferences including the Midwest Modern Language Association, the CD Wright Women Writer’s Conference, the Illinois Faculty Summer Institute, and Outwrite DC. Freesia believes poetry is for everyone.

Chia Gounza Vang – Research Paper Judge
Chia Gounza Vang is a Hmong American author and teacher. She was born in Laos during the Vietnam War conflict and had limited access to education. Her life changed when she immigrated to America as a teenager, which allowed her to pursue her dreams. She has been a middle school teacher for twenty-two years and recently published her debut novel, The Illiterate Daughter (Scarsdale Publishing, 2021), a YA historical fiction centered around the Secret War conflict in Laos, focusing on the challenges faced by a Hmong family as they strive to survive and seek refuge in Thailand. The Illiterate Daughter is the first book in the Young Guardian series. Readers can look forward to the upcoming release of the second book, The Dreamer's Dream. Chia is a fan of historical fiction and has found it to be a valuable tool for learning about history. By immersing herself in the world of the characters, she can truly experience their pain, struggles, love, happiness, and overall lives. Through her book series, The Young Guardian, Chia hopes to bring history to life for her readers.

Judging Criteria

  • Research category – Originality of ideas, clear expression of ideas, unified and cohesive structure, logically supported thesis, credibility of sources, synthesis of source material, and correct APA format.
  • Essay category – Originality of ideas, clear expression of ideas, unified and cohesive structure, well-supported thesis, and unique voice.