Carver contest seeks essays

Melissa Berg

The African American Studies Program is sponsoring an essay contest dedicated to celebrating the spirit and legacy of George Washington Carver.

Carver was the first African American student and faculty member at Iowa State. He became extremely accomplished in the field of agriculture with his innovative experiments.

Herman Blake, professor of African American studies, said the purpose of the contest is “to promote student excellence in the context of the African American experience.”

John McCarroll, director of University Relations, said the project is Blake’s brainchild.

“[The contest] is an outgrowth of the yearlong Carver celebration,” he said. “Dr. Blake initiated an effort to have students personally learn about George Washington Carver.”

McCarroll said the essay requires research and thought about Carver’s achievements.

The topic of the essays, however, does not have to focus on Carver.

Prizes will be awarded by the African American Studies Program. The first place award is $500, second prize is $300 and third place is $200.

Faculty and staff will be reviewing the entries and selecting the winning essays.

Phyllis Harris, program assistant, said last year there were not many entries, but the committee is expecting more this year since entire classes are being encouraged to enter.

Blake said he is hoping the contest will inspire students to become educated about African American history.

“We are seeking more students to get involved in issues related to African American studies and diversity at Iowa State,” he said.

The contest is limited to ISU students.

Essays must be eight to 10 pages in length, and the topic must pertain to African American history.

Entries must be submitted by April 5 and can be dropped off at Carrie Chapman Catt Hall.