Essay Prize in Ethics
The Schellhase Essay Contest asks students to think critically about the moral principles that drive human actions and behavior. The Schellhase Essay Contest was created in honor of Richard T. Schellhase, a former professor at Ursinus College.
Topics to Consider
- The fundamental differences of what is “right” and “wrong”
- Competing advocacy for the best course of action
- Personal dilemmas
- Unexpected consequences that resulted from a well-intended action
- Important policy decisions and their implications
- The obligation to help humanity and/or the environment
The topics above and many more can drive the thesis of an ethics essay. An ethics essay can be any essay that explores ethical situations and ideas.
Any current Ursinus student may submit one essay. Students of all disciplines and grade levels are eligible to compete. Your essay submission can be from any class or from your independent writing outside class.
How to Submit
Submission instructions coming, Fall 2023
Up to $3,500 in prizes!
Judging and Scoring
Winning essays will be selected by a panel of Ursinus alumni. Submitted essays will be scored on their capacity to confront important topics with a sense of perspective, tenacity, and eloquence while maintaining a captivating flow. A draft of the full rubric is available here.
Past Essay Contest Winners
First Prize: “Consent in Conversation: Education of Sexual Violence in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Emily Benning
Second Prize: “Unchallenged Myth: Abolish the Family and Structure” by Julian Barocas
Third Prize: “The American Dream: Living Paycheck to Paycheck” by Ben Henwood
Honorable Mentions: “The Hidden Victims of War” by Drishti Khandelwal and “Surrogacy as a Means of Survival” by Emma Reyes
- First Prize: “Persistence in the North Pacific: the Makah people and their fight to protect their cultural heritage” by Jeff Cocci
- Second Prize: “Unlovable Labour: Rejecting the Do What You Love Ideology” by Trey Dykeman
- Third Prize: “Uneasy Is the Head that Imagines the Burden” by Michael Adelson
- Honorable Mentions: “The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice?” by Abigail Coachi; “The Role of the Filmmaker: Truth and Awareness” by Amy Litofsky; and “The Ethics Surrounding DIY HRT” by Ted Studt
- First Prize: “Defending the Genetic Selection of Intelligence: A Moral Exploration of Principle” by Chase Opperman
Second Prize: “Ethical Considerations Regarding Paternalism in Medicine” by Lola Holcomb
Third Prize (tie): “Community Psychology’s Impact on Public Health and the Experience of Marginalization” by Katie Hudick
Third Prize (tie): “Fill the Gap: Assessing moral permissibility of rejections in dental practices, and promoting pro bono dental work through a non-profit organization” by Min Son
- The 2017 contest winning entry by Christopher Tan.*
- The 2016 contest winning entry by Alexander Lowe.*
*Note: past contests had different topics and themes.
Have additional questions or concerns?
Reach out to email@example.com for clarification on requirements, dates, and eligible topics for the essay.
Need inspiration for your essay topic?
Check out this external link containing over 200 ethical topics to dig into.
Ethics is the difference between knowing what you have the right to do and what is the right thing to do.
- Potter Stewart