Being Human in the 21st Century

Event Date: 

August 20, 2012 - 8:30am to November 16, 2012 - 8:30am


Erskine Hall, Center for Dominican Studies

This fall, The Center for Dominican Studies is sponsoring an essay contest for ODU undergraduates about:
Being Human in the 21st Century

We are offering three first prizes of $100 each, encouraging ODU students to give us different answers to the question. Essays are to be emailed to the Center no later than November 16, 2012.

The essay contest is open to students of all disciplines in the university. We are looking for distinctive papers from various perspectives or disciplines that deal well with being human in the 21st century from the perspective of that discipline. For instance, a Political Science student could write about political challenges to affirming human rights; an Ecology student could write about how the human race can survive ecological disturbances such as global warming or environmental degradation; a Sociology student could write about how we might keep body and soul together amidst technological changes that are far to rapid for culture to absorb and adapt to; a Theology student might muse on how an ancient Semitic religion such as Christianity might maintain relevancy to 21st century space travelers.

We will be awarding three first prizes of $100 each, and these winning writers will be brought together for a panel discussion on February 14, 2013 to bring these different perspectives in dialogue with each other and to lead a discussion about how these ideas might work together or be in competition with each other.

  • The essay must be no longer than 1000 words and double spaced
  • The MLA Writing Style must be employed
  • The essay should show that the writer is well informed on the topic, reflecting a quality liberal education.
  • Although we are not looking for research papers, citations need to be fully referenced.
  • The essay is due to The Center for Dominican Studies electronically by November 16, 2012. Please email the papers to and include in the paper your name, degree program, and projected year of graduation. We will send a reply email to confirm your submission.
  • Participants must agree that if they are a winner they will participate in the Panel Discussion on February 14, 2013 and allow their paper to be posted online for comment.
  • The contest is open to all ODU students enrolled in an undergraduate program.
  • We will look for:
  1. A strong thesis
  2. A well written paper with a compelling vision
  3. Creativity in approach
  4. An application of a reflective process


  • Martin Brick, PhD., Assistant Professor of English
  • Michael Dougherty, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy
  • Becky Graham, PhD., Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Ann Hall, PhD., Professor of Arts and Letters
  • Virginia McCormack, Ed.D., Professor of Education
  • Dinty Musk, PhD., Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Matthias Sterner, O.P., M.A., Director of the Center for Dominican Studies
  • Scott Steinkerchner, O.P., Ph.D, Associate Director of the Center for Dominican Studies
  • Stephen Thomas, PhD., Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Timothy Walker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Math, Computer, and Natural Sciences
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