Lauren Eng, senior writing major and linguistics minor, is one of the 2021 Dean’s Award winners for the School of Humanities and Sciences, as well as one of the winners of the Sally Parr Memorial Award. This year, the Department has two winners of each of these awards; the other is Mae McDermott.
The Dean’s Award is given to the students with the top records of academic achievement as identified by Dean Melanie Stein. The Sally Parr Memorial Award, given to the writing major(s) with the highest grade point average, honors the memory of longtime faculty member and former chair of the Department of Writing who distinguished herself as both a teacher and an administrator.
Lauren said she was pleasantly surprised to hear she had won the award, and attributed much of her success to devoting most of her time to school and work. Out of her courses, she said she has always enjoyed her fiction classes, especially because she is primarily a genre fiction writer with a focus on Asian-inspired fantasy. However, she said the one that surprised her the most was Poetics. She said she was initially dreading it, but the course ended up expanding her views on writing and media immensely, and that Christine Kitano was a fantastic professor to have.
“All of my writing classes have been great for developing my craft in ways that I never expected in the first place,” Lauren said. She added, “Aside from all that, all of my workshop classes have been wonderful for improving my writing, and all my professors in general have been great.”
Lauren said she would like to thank Joan Marcus, one of her writing professors whom she did her senior project with and who was always supportive of her writing; Katie Marks, another writing professor whom she is currently doing an independent project with and has helped her expand into immersion memoir and creative nonfiction; and Hong Li, her Chinese professor, who has always encouraged her to push outside of her comfort zone with the language. All of these professors, she said, have been immensely supportive of her academic career at the college.
Over the course of her college career, Lauren said, she has learned much about the necessary cutting and restructuring it can take to make a story great, the important step writing is in problem-solving, and the importance of having people who are enthusiastic about what you write and are not afraid of telling you what in your writing needs work. She also said that her work in the department has led her to being much more open about sharing her work, as well as thinking about craft more consistently as she writes.
Congratulations, Lauren, for this outstanding academic achievement!