Writing for the Web

Judges' Report

222 Entries

Gold Award

University of Chicago (IL) - Microbial Me


  • Lydialyle Gibson's investigation into the microbiome and the pivotal role it plays in human health starts with a "love story gone wrong." The once-happy couple are the bacterium E. faecalis and the gastrointestinal tract, who turn on each other following GI surgery. Their tale echoes the larger saga of how antibiotics and other efforts to eradicate germs jeopardize the hoped-for happy ending-and reveals the potential of more fully understanding the vast universe of microorganisms in and around us.

Silver Award

Stanford University (CA) - A Hard Look at How We See Race

  • Stanford social psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt is one of the world's leading authorities on implicit bias-subconscious associations with race that influence everyone's behavior. Sam Scott's piece profiles her life story and her work at Stanford, while asking how her findings may transcend the academy and affect society. And at a time when the country is wrestling with questions about race in everything from hiring practices to police killings, her work is more important than ever.

Bronze Award

Columbia University (NY) - "After the Deluge"


  • Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has attracted a flood of people, money, and attention. But is the Big Easy really better off? We asked a native New Orleanian - journalist and TV writer Lolis Elie - to reflect on the changes and challenges facing the Big Easy.

Duke University (NC) - The Legal Burden


  • As she tries to help a man gain his freedom, a law student struggles to find her place in the justice system.

Fordham University (NY) - "The Metadiplomat" 


  • Hollywood meets history in the real-life story of Fordham alumnus James B. Donovan, the gritty, principled Bronx-born attorney who faced down Nazis, the KGB, and Fidel Castro-and who's portrayed by Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg's Academy Award-winning 2015 film Bridge of Spies.

Johns Hopkins University (MD) - Invisible Wounds


  • It is well known that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a signature wound of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The story explores an issue that is not as widely recognized: so-called "mild" TBIs that frequently went undocumented by the U.S. military. Two students at JHSPH-one doing research for her dissertation-found that nearly 33,000 combat veterans suffered TBIs that were never recorded, making it difficult or impossible for them to obtain treatment from the VA. This piece explores a devastating yet little-studied health problem in the military, the work of determined student researchers, the stories of veterans struggling to cope with the often-disabling long-term effects of TBIs and their efforts to appropriate health care for their "invisible wounds."

Johns Hopkins University (MD) - "Moment of Truth"


  • When the New Horizons spacecraft completed its 10-year voyage to Pluto, Johns Hopkins Magazine was there to report on the tense hours as scientists and mission control waited to learn if the mission had been a success.

University of California, Berkeley (CA) - In the Deep Freeze: What Kind of Person Gets Cryonically Preserved


  • This is a story about the first man ever to have his body purposely frozen after death. He was a retired psychologist and UC Berkeley alumnus named James Bedford.

University of Iowa (IA) - "Rising Stars of Anthropology"


  • "Rising Stars of Anthropology" tells the story of three young alumnae who-following a landmark fossil discovery-set off on a South African adventure to help shed light on the mysteries of human origins.