Christina R. McDonald, Ph.D.
Institute Director of Writing

Ph: (540) 464-7240
Fax:  (540) 464-7779

English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA 24450 

Contact Institute Writing

The following cadets and their mentors have been selected by faculty judges for awards for outstanding written work produced across the curriculum for academic year 2010-2011.

First-year Composition

  • 1st Place: Cadet Sean Murphy (Mechanical Engineering major, 2014), “The Boston Massacre: A Causal Argument” Instructor: MAJ Mary Beth Pennington
  • 2nd Place: Cadet Katie Purpura (Biology major, 2014), “Small Class Sizes: A Luxury or Necessity?” Instructor: CDR Alexis Hart
  • 3rd Place: Cadet John Partin (Civil and Environmental Engineering major, 2014), “The Third Triumphant.”Instructor:Mrs. Sue Coleman-Croushorn

Writing Across the Curriculum and Undergraduate Research

  • 1st Place: Cadet Tyler R. Secrest (International Studies major, 2010), “Danger on the Border: The Collapse of the Mexican Government.” Instructor: BG Charles F. Brower IV
  • 1st Place: Cadet Cabell Willis (History major with minor in writing, 2014), “Manipulative Persuasion: Shakespeare’s Use of Rhetoric in Henry V as a Window to Early Modern England.” Instructor: COL Emily P. Miller
  • 2nd Place: Cadet Andrew Luxhoj (Biology major, 2011), “An Investigation of Estrogen and its Influence on Motor Neuron Development in the PNS of Embryonic Zebrafish (Danio rerio).” Instructor: COL James E. Turner
  • 2nd Place: Cadet Matthew Waalkes (Biology major with minor in writing, 2013), “Possible Chemical Attractant to White Tail Deer in Campanulastrum americanum.” Instructor: MAJ Anne Alerding
  • 3rd Place: Cadet Kimberly Gragg (International Studies major, 2013), “”Feminine Power in Shakespeare.” Instructor: COL Emily P. Miller

ePortfolio Project

  • 1st Place: Cadet Chase Bailey (International Studies major, 2011), “Reflective Essay: The Problem of Child Labor in Mexico and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” Instructor: COL Mary Ann Dellinger
  • 2nd Place: Cadet Frederick Dawson (Biology major, 2013), “A Powerful Fear: How Early Modern England’s Fears Developed Into a World Power.” Instructor: COL Emily P. Miller
  • 3rd Place: Cadet William Thompson (History major, 2014), “Tracing Italian and German Influences in Business and Advertising Practices in Argentina.” Instructor: COL Mary Ann Dellinger

Institute Honors

  • 1st Humanities/Social Sciences, (B. Drummond Ayres 1916 Award in Writing Excellence Fund): Cadet Jessie Rende (English major and writing minor, 2011), “Käthe Kollwitz’s Dance of Death: A Centuries-Old Obsession, A Modern Perspective.” Instructor: COL William D. Badgett
  • 1st Engineering/Science, (B. Drummond Ayres 1916 Award in Writing Excellence Fund): Cadet Taylor Godsey (Biology major, 2011), “The Modified Erlenmeyer Reaction: The Clandestine Chemist's Answer to a Precursor Problem.” Instructor: LTC Stan Smith

The Academic Writing Contest Awards are made possible by Robert S. Spilman ’96 and Robert S. Spilman, Jr. ’28 Fund for Excellence in Writing and the B. Drummond Ayres 1916 Award in Writing Excellence Fund.