Dawn or Doom’16 Student Writing Contest


2016 Winners

We are pleased to announce that the finalists are as follows:

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

Joseph Forte, "Q: Why Did the Computer Dissect the Frog? A: To Decipher the Human Mind"

"Joseph's essay was focused, yet playful, giving the reader a good sense of what the speaker discussed and why it was a worthy topic of discussion. He broke down any concepts he introduced and made attempts to engage the reader throughout—whether with corny quips about corny quips or a well-placed aside." —Katy Steinmetz, Time

"Forte opens and ends strong, with an entertaining 'grabber' or lede, and an ending that smartly revisits that same joke. He builds up to a joke and lands the punchline. In the middle, the paper is well reasoned and flows quite nicely, distilling the ideas of the talk he's reporting on without quoting the entire thing. Well done." —Emily Dreyfuss, Wired

“Forte did a great job engaging the reader from the beginning with a fun but concise introduction that clearly outlines his vision for the piece. I love the way he weaves the ‘A man walks into a bar. Ouch!’ joke throughout his narrative to help the reader understand exactly what he means. Forte was able to explain a complex technological experiment in completely relatable terms — something that’s key in science and technology storytelling. A great variety of sentence structure makes the piece easy to read and understand from beginning to end. Absolutely love the kicker.” —Natalie DiBlasio, USA Today

SECOND PRIZE WINNER

Mikaela Wieland, "Where Does Diarrhea Really Come From?"

THIRD PRIZE WINNERS (TIE)

Russ Gentile, "Designing for Human Instincts at the Dawn of Artificial Intelligence"

"[Gentile] alone tried a synthesis of several talks, found an engaging theme, and made connections among the talks, arriving at a solid ending. It stood out." —Quentin Hardy, The New York Times

Mitchell Terpstra, “From Pipe Dreams to Nightmares”

FIFTH PRIZE WINNER

William Austin, “Re-Evaluate”

SIXTH PRIZE WINNER

Dana Moryl, “Humor Studies; Not a Laughing Matter”

ABOUT

Again this year, Purdue’s future technology conference and event Dawn or Doom is offering a student writing contest.

Students who enter will be asked to attend one or more Purdue faculty presentations at Dawn or Doom’16 and write a journalistic nonfiction piece related to the presentation.

The Dawn or Doom’16 presentations will be held October 3–4, 2016, in Stewart Center.

JUDGES

Entries will be judged by a panel of University science and technology writers, with the finalists judged by a panel of national reporters, including

  • Natalie Diblasio, digital editor and columnist, USA Today
  • Emily Dreyfuss, news and opinion editor, Wired
  • Quentin Hardy, deputy technology editor, The New York Times
  • Katy Steinmetz, San Francisco bureau chief, Time

(Note, contest judges have tentatively agreed to participate. The final list of judges will be announced at the writers’ panel discussion at Dawn or Doom’16.)

PRIZES

Each Purdue student who enters the Dawn or Doom’16 Student Writing Contest will receive a Dawn or Doom T-shirt.

Additional prizes will be given to the top six finalists:

  • Grand prize—Dell Ultrabook Latitude 7370 Computer (a $1,500 value)
  • Second prize—$500 gift card
  • Third prize—$250 gift card
  • Honorable mention—Rankings four through six will each receive a Dell Portable Backup Hard Drive

RULES

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

  1. The Dawn or Doom’16 Student Writing Contest is open to any student enrolled for the fall 2016 semester at Purdue University, including regional campuses.
  2. Students wishing to enter the Dawn or Doom’16 Student Writing Contest must pre-register for both the writing contest AND the Dawn or Doom’16 event.
  3. Students entering the contest must check in at the registration table in the foyer of Stewart Center on Monday or Tuesday, October 3 or 4.
  4. When students check in at the registration table each student writer will receive a free Dawn or Doom T-shirt.

YOUR ENTRY:

  1. Entries must be journalistic nonfiction and between 800 and 2,000 words in length.
  2. Acceptable forms of journalistic nonfiction include:
    • AP-style news story
    • Newspaper feature article
    • Magazine article
    • Commentary or opinion piece
    • Essay (personal, humor, analytical, or persuasive)
  3. Your entry must report on or be based on the presentation of a Purdue faculty member at Dawn or Doom’16.
  4. Your entry must include your name and email in the upper right corner and the appropriate page number on each page of your entry.
  5. Entries can be submitted beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 4, and will be accepted until midnight EDT Sunday, October 9.
  6. No group entries or bylines are accepted.
  7. Student writers will retain the rights to their work, but agree to allow publication on the Dawn or Doom website or in Dawn or Doom promotional materials if selected.
  8. Entries must be submitted electronically via the Dawn or Doom’16 writing contest page.
  9. Contest winners will be notified by Monday, October 24, 2016.

SPONSORS

The Dawn or Doom'16 Student Writing Contest is being supported through the generous support of EMC2 and Dell.

PANEL DISCUSSION

The Dawn or Doom'16 judges will be presenting a panel discussion, "Writing about technology," Monday, October 3, at 10:00 am in Fowler Hall. Attendance at the panel discussion is not required for writing contest entrants.

UPDATES

Additional information about the writing contest will be posted to the Dawn or Doom’16 webpage and/or the Dawn or Doom'16 Facebook page


DOWNLOADS

Writing Contest poster

2015 Winners

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

MARISA HENRY - "BIG DATA IS IMPACTING MORE THAN YOU KNOW"

"This writer has a nice accessible tone that blends information with a touch of wit. Starting off with a personal anecdote draws the reader into the story but she doesn't dwell too long on it, transitioning to a well-informed explainer on the benefits and potential downsides of big data." —Jennifer Bogo, executive editor, Popular Science

"Big Data is Impacting More than You Know" is my top pick because it very nicely and thoughtfully captured the positives and negatives of big data. It also had lots of voice and personality—I laughed out loud at the 'as certified by countless personality tests and a few Buzzfeed quizzes' parenthetical!"

—Torie Bosch, "Future Tense" editor, Slate

SECOND PRIZE WINNER

NAMAN MISRARAJ - "KEYS TO THE NEW PLACE"

"The arc of this piece is well crafted—the transformation of a reluctant technogeek to an unabashed one." —Jennifer Bogo, executive editor, Popular Science

THIRD PRIZE WINNER

ANDREW PRONSCHINSKE - "LESS THAN HUMAN, MORE THAN MACHINE: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE"

"This piece adeptly walks the reader through the development of artificial intelligence, while at the same time providing valuable context for how that advance will influence our relationship with technology." —Jennifer Bogo, executive editor, Popular Science

HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS