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College of Arts and Humanities

CWU Announces Finalists for 2013 Liberal Arts Essay Contest

Central Washington University has announced the student winners of its 2013 Liberal Arts Essay Contest. Each will receive a $500 tuition waiver and move on to the statewide competition sponsored by the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts. The statewide prizes are $1,000 for first place and $750 for second place. State winners will be announced this month.

The 2013 Liberal Arts Essay Contest challenged entrants to consider how liberal arts education has helped them and to connect it with a larger truth about being liberally educated. Of the 17 entries, four were selected to move on to the statewide contest.

“I think that Central can be really proud of the four essays that we’ve selected,” said Matthew Altman, CWU philosophy professor, William O. Douglas Honors College chair, and member of the contest judges panel. “All of them used a personal, individual experience through which they drew conclusions about larger truths. They demonstrated that the liberal arts are important for future employment as well as for producing well-rounded people.”

CWU’s contest winners were (you may read their essays, which are linked below):

Talea Anderson
In her essay, “Learning from Lita,” Anderson demonstrated how liberal arts education allows people to overcome their differences. While student teaching in Puerto Rico, she bonded with an elderly woman through their mutual love of books despite barriers in language and ideology. Anderson is a graduate student from Walla Walla working on her master of arts in history.

Tarra Hall
Hall’s essay, “Boundless,” asserts that studying a wide range of subjects helps students to develop different areas of their brains, while discovering new opportunities. She recounts how a chemistry course inspired her to minor in chemistry and focus her career on science illustration. Hall, a junior from Moses Lake, is pursuing a bachelor of fine arts in painting and drawing.

Olivia Hirschey
In Hirschey’s essay, “Tea and Twelve Pages,” she explains that studying the liberal arts has helped her to approach issues from a variety of perspectives. Hirschey is a junior from Newcastle working toward a bachelor of arts in English writing with minors in Spanish and linguistics.

Anne Parfitt
Parfitt’s essay, “Critical Thinking: One Skill to Rule Them All,” describes how taking anthropology classes led her to ask more questions in every facet of her life. She stateed that liberal arts education has taught her “how to think rather than what to think.” Parfitt is a senior from Quilcene pursuing bachelor of science degrees in both geology and anthropology with an emphasis in archeology.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

June 4, 2013

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