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Aleyda Gonzalez Mckiernan Undergraduate Essay Prize

Aleyda Gonzalez Mckiernan Undergraduate Essay Prize in Southwest Studies

Aleyda Gonzalez Mckiernan  Undergraduate Essay Prize Southwest StudiesThis prize was established in November 2018 to foster undergraduate research that builds toward a more cross-border understanding of the Southwest. The picture features Aleyda Gonzalez Mckiernan, an educator with a long career teaching high school in northern New Mexico. She is an immigrant and a bedrock member of many local communities across New Mexico and by extension, the Southwest. To take account of this moment in the Southwest, it is important to understand the many ways communities take shape in the past and the present.

The award will celebrate undergraduate research that best promotes broad humanistic inquiry into the physical and cultural ecology of the diverse peoples of the Southwest. The student who writes the essay that garnishes the Aleyda Gonzalez Mckiernan Undergraduate Essay Prize will receive $250 of scholarship funds, to be disbursed the following fall.


Guidelines and Criteria
This essay does not need to be an original essay. It can be something already submitted to another class. Essay submissions will be ranked by their contribution to Southwestern Studies; quality of evidence; quality of  analysis or research methods; engaging narrative; and a contribution to a more cross-border understanding of the Southwest—the Southwest defined as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southern California, southern Nevada, parts of Oklahoma, and Northern Mexico.

Finalists and the prize-winner will be asked to share their work at the Center for the Study of the Southwest in early May.

Eligibility and Criteria Include:

  • Being a full-time Texas State undergraduate student;
  • Having a 2.99 overall Texas State GPA;
  • Submitting all required attachments before 5pm on April 17, 2019.

 Required Attachments (must be PDF or MS Word documents)

  • An essay that meets the following criteria:
    • Double spaced with 11 or 12 point font;
    • Must be a minimum of 6 pages (not counting works cited/bibliography, cover page, and statement of purpose);
    • Must follow either Chicago Manual of Style or MLA citation formatting;
    • Cover page must include essay title, student’s name, and student’s AO number.
  • A statement of purpose no longer than one page in length explaining why the essay matters to the Southwest; and
  • A copy of the applicant’s transcript