Congratulating 2016 Susan B. Anthony Writing Award winner Sara Anderson, third from right, are Sharon Green, Dr. Tim Ireland, Dr. Shannon Risk, Dr. Joe Little, and Dr. Hope Russell. Not pictured: selection committee member Dr. Carrie Teresa.

Niagara University freshman Sara Anderson was announced as the winner of the Susan B. Anthony Writing Award. Anderson’s paper, Jane Eyre: Feminist of the Victorian Era, was voted by a group of judges as the best submission this year for the contest. The award ceremony was held Feb. 10 inside Bisgrove Hall, located on Niagara University’s campus.

As Anderson reflected on why she chose to write about Jane Eyre, it was clear that she felt inspired by the character’s strength, independence and determination.

“She entered a marriage based on equality with someone she could speak freely with and be herself around,” Anderson said. “That’s not conforming to society’s standards; that’s choosing happiness.” Anderson’s witty sense of humor stole the show, as she carefully explained why Jane Eyre wanted something great for herself.

Anderson’s past writing professor, Dr. Joseph Little, associate professor of English, spoke about Anderson and her unique approach to writing. Dr. Little expressed that he wasn’t surprised that Anderson won this prestigious award. “She immediately distinguished herself from her peers,” Dr. Little said. “Her writing was unusually precise, unusually concise.”

Dr. Timothy Ireland, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, opened the ceremony and spoke about the strong women in his life. Dr. Ireland mentioned his sister, a strong athlete and student. “She was one of the first women to directly experience Title IX in college,” he said. Dr. Ireland explained that his sister was able to play basketball at a Massachusetts college because of Title IX.

Dr. Shannon Risk, associate professor of history, discussed Anthony’s legacy. “Susan B. Anthony dedicated her entire life, first and foremost, to getting women the right to vote,” she explained.

The event took place during the week of Susan B. Anthony’s 196th birthday. Individuals can learn more about the awards at www.niagara.edu/susan-b-anthony-writing-award.

Article by junior communication studies major Maegan Jones. Photos by Andrew Emmons, a Niagara University sophomore studying communications, and criminology and criminal justice.

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