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Three Mount Students Win Four Spots in National Writing Competition

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Three Mount St. Mary's University seniors took four different places in the Delta Epsilon Sigma (DES) Fall 2023 writing contest.

e_daly-in-text.jpgErin Daly, C’24, earned first place in the critical/analytical essay category and won second place for poetry. Claire Doll, C’24, placed second for short fiction, while Michael Murphy, C’24, took first place in scholarly research.

DES is a national honor society open to students at Catholic colleges and universities. Associate Professor of History Charles Strauss, Ph.D., acts as moderator of the Mount’s DES chapter. Each fall, students at higher education institutions with DES chapters can submit writing pieces for the annual Fitzgerald Writing Competition, in which Mount students have placed in the past.

“I have been moderator of this group since 2019 and have been consistently impressed by our students' achievements in this contest,” said Strauss. “Special thanks to Tom Bligh and Greg Murry who joined me in selecting the nominations for this year.”

Daly’s prize-winning essay is titled, “Marquez, ‘Hermeneutical Delirium,’ and the Banana Massacre.” Written for the Latin American literature course taught by Professor and English Department Chair Indrani Mitra, Ph.D., the essay compares the historical account of the 1928 Banana Massacre in Colombia and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ fictional retelling in his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Daly, who is an English and accounting double major, wrote the poem she submitted, “Heavenly Bodies,” for the introductory creative writing course taught by Associate Professor of English Tom Bligh, Ph.D. The poem explores love and heartbreak, using imagery inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18.

claire-doll-in-text.jpg“I’m so honored to have placed in the DES competition and so grateful to Dr. Bligh and Dr. Mitra for their help,” she exclaimed.

Doll, who is studying English and secondary education, took second place for her short story, “Dear Gracie,” which is written as a letter from a young woman to a friend she lost years ago after a shooting at their high school. The piece was written for Rachel Loveridge’s Descriptive and Narrative Writing course.

“I am very thankful for Delta Epsilon Sigma for generous prizes sponsored by the writing competition,” shared Doll. “It has been an amazing way to receive validation for my writing, as well as read exceptional works by other talented writers.”

murphy-in-text.jpgMurphy’s first-place essay is titled “Seeking the ‘Sacred Rights of Justice’ and Salvation: Black Catholic Representation in Gilded Age America.” He is majoring in history and economics.

“During [the Gilded Age], educated Black men organized themselves on the national level to call on the Catholic Church to begin a nationwide conversion campaign of the newly freed African American population and to open schools for the Black populace,” explained Murphy. “In doing this, the Church would also have to combat racism within its ranks, and Black Catholics sought to cooperate with white Catholics in making this a reality.”

“I would just like to thank the Mount history department for always being such great mentors, especially Dr. Strauss, Dr. (Timothy) Fritz, and Dr. (Jamie) Gianoutsos, all of whom provided invaluable feedback and encouragement,” shared Murphy.

Murphy and Daly’s essays will be published in the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal. Each April, new Mount DES members are welcomed in a special induction ceremony. They will be honored along with Doll.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19