Where are they now?



Marla Greenway was published in the 2013–2014 edition of Prized Writing. She wrote “The Mosque, the Imam, and Lessons in Islam: A Skeptic’s Inquiry into Muslim Religious Concepts, Rituals and Practices” for her UWP 104C Journalism course. Her essay explored the Islamic Center of Davis and how it sparked her interest in Islam and its many differences from “traditional” American culture. After graduating in 2014 with a B.A. in Communications, she began her M.A. in Social Anthropology at Goldsmith’s University of London. Marla is currently working on a dissertation on the anthropology of art, studying how activist artists explore the relationships of existing art and art criticism in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Greenway Photo.jpg


Jessica Liu was published in the 2012–2013 edition of Prized Writing. Her literature review, "Resting State Functional Connectivity as a Pre-clinical Diagnostic Tool for Alzheimer’s Disease," was written for UWP 104F: Writing in the Health Professions and explores the potential of resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) in earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. After graduating from UC Davis in 2014 with a degree in Human Development, she went on to attend the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. There, she attends medical school while concurrently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health. She has continued to write both personally and professionally, publishing a short story in a literary and visual art journal called Connective Tissue as well as co-authoring a medical article published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.



Rachel Aquino published her essay “Let Them Eat This: Applewood Bacon Cupcakes, Noah’s Ark, and Tasty Cake Creations” in the 2009-2010 edition of Prized Writing, originally written for UWP 101: Advanced Composition. Her work is an essay and interview all in one, profiling the family that runs the business “Let Them Eat Cake” in downtown Davis. After graduating in 2012 with a B.A. in Communications (and a professional writing minor!), she began work as a grant writer for the Drug-Free Communities Project. This past year, she received the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Scholarship, allowing her to enroll in courses to strengthen her skills in young adult fiction and novel writing. Aquino Photo.jpg


Daniel Swain has the rare honor of being a triple Prized Writing winner. The 2007–2008 volume of Prized Writing saw the publication of his first essay, "Of Superposition and Solipsism: A Survey of Quantum-Mechanical Approaches in Addressing ‘The Hard Problem,'" which tackles the complicated topic of quantum physics. The 2009–2010 volume featured two pieces written for UWP’s Science Writing course. While both topics discuss the effects of sea ice melting on atmospheric conditions, “Artic Sea Ice and a Changing Climate” is a literature review and “Of Ice and Men” is science journalism. Daniel graduated from UC Davis in 2011 with a B.S. in Atmospheric Science and continued on to Stanford University, where he will soon be receiving his PhD in Earth System Science. Through his academic career as a climate change researcher, he has written articles for peer-reviewed scientific journals and journalistic pieces for KQED and Outside Magazine, using media to report on a variety of climate change topics. He also created the California Weather Blog (weatherwest.com). Daniel is widely known for having coined the term “the ridiculously resilient ridge” to describe an atmospheric anomaly. Swain Photo.jpg



Matt Stauffer wrote his prize-winning essay, “James Brown Is Alive!” for an English 4 course focusing on “Sound in Poetry,” taught by Seth Forrest. Matt graduated from UC Davis in Spring 2008 with a B.A. in English, an emphasis creative writing, and minors in film studies and African American studies. He went on to work in the office of Governor Schwarzenegger until December 2008, and is currently studying screenwriting at UCLA and living in Long Beach. He writes poetry, short fiction, screenplays, and creative non-fiction. Stauffer Photo.jpg




Arianna Smith wrote her prize-winning essay, "Why Contemporary Americans Need to Understand J. Edgar Hoover's Role in the Assassination of Marton Luther King, Jr.," for Dr. Kathryn Olmsted’s history senior seminar on the role paranoia and conspiracy theories have played in shaping American culture, politics, and history. Arianna earned her B.A. in English and history from UC Davis in 2005. After graduation, she served in a year-long fellowship as a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow with the California State Legislature. She has made her career in the Capitol, working her way up to Legislative and Communications Director for a state Assembly member. In 2013, she earned a Master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento, graduating with distinction. She continues to write extensively in her role, where she works to explain complex public policy concepts clearly and concisely.  



Brandon Bussolini wrote his prize-winning essay, “The Crisis of Profitability and Starbucks’ Discourse of Cultural Appropriation,” for a course on “Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.” Bussolini graduated from UC Davis in 2006 with degrees in comparative literature and French and a minor in cultural anthropology. Since graduating, he has worked as a paralegal, a web marketing assistant for Chronicle Books, and a freelance writer and proofreader. Bussolini has continued to write about music since his experience writing for the UC Davis' California Aggie art section. He was a staff writer for Dusted magazine until 2006 and regularly contributes to The San Francisco Bay Guardian and XLR8R magazine. He has also been published in McSweeney’s and The Believer. Bussolini is currently living in Oakland, freelancing and working as a proofreader for advertising agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partner. Bussolini Photo.jpg
Mingzhao Xu wrote her prize-winning essay, “The Negotiation of Political Identities: Being Queer and an Asian Pacific Islander,” for a course on Asian Americans in Pop Culture, taught by Professor Sunaina Maira.  Mingzhao graduated from UC Davis in Fall 2004 with a degree in Asian American studies, went on to complete a law degree at the University of Iowa, then took the California Bar exam.  Currently, she is a Legal Volunteer with the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego. She writes legal documents, and has recently published the article “Sexsomnia: A Valid Defense to Sexual Assault Crimes?” in The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice. Xu Photo.jpg



Erinn Knyt (formerly Erinn Losness) wrote her prize-winning essay, “Johann Sebastian Bach and the Lutheran Chorale,” for Music 121: “Topics in Music History,” taught by Jeffrey Thomas. Erinn received her B.A. in Music (Music History and Piano Performance) with highest honors from the UC Davis in 2003, an M.M. in Music from Stanford University in 2007, and Ph.D. in Music and Humanities from Stanford University in 2010. She has articles in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, American Music, the Journal of Musicology, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, the Journal of Musicological Research, Musicology Australia, 19th-Century Music, and Twentieth Century Music, and has presented papers at conferences throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her book, "Ferruccio Busoni and his Legacy," was published in 2017 and was awarded an AMS 75 Pays Endowment Book Subvention Grant. She’s presently teaching music history as associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Kyle Dunst wrote his prize-winning essay, “The Not-So-Reality Television Show: Consumerism in MTV's Sorority Life,” for an American studies senior seminar, taught by Carolyn de la Peña. Kyle graduated from UCD in 2004 with a B.A. in American Studies and Communications and earned his MBA in Management and Marketing from Loyola Marymount University in 2007. He served as general manager for Northern California Region Central Parking System, Inc. for 5 years and is now director of Contracted Parties Solutions Delivery for ICANN, a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. He co-authored “Market for Third Screen: A Study of the Market Potential for Mobile TV and Video,” published in the International Journal of Mobile Marketing and Loyola Marymount University Graduate Journal. Now he mostly writes emails . . . and more emails. Dunst Photo.jpg


Amanjit (Amy) Sekhon-Atwal wrote her prize-winning essay, "Haven’t Heard of Hepatitis C? You May Have It and Not Even Know," for a scientific writing class taught by Anne Fleischmann. At UCD, Amy earned a B.S. in Exercise Science in 2002 and an M.S. in Exercise Physiology in 2003. She went on to medical school at the University of Vermont, where she received her M.D. in 2007. She then returned to California, completing her residency in Family Medicine at UCD Medical Center in 2010 and started a Sports Medicine fellowship through the UCD Medical Center and Cal Berkeley. She currently serves as the Medical Staff Supervisor at Student Health and Counseling Services at UCD and specializes in Family Medicine. Since being published in Prized Writing, she has continued to write—mostly newspaper articles and case abstracts.

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Heather (Thompson) Baron wrote “The Female Impressionist as Flâneuse” for an Art History course on Impressionism and Post-Impressionism and her technical report, “Buying Textbooks: A Feasibility Study for UC Davis Students,” for a business writing course. Heather graduated in 2001 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Comparative Literature. She went on to work as a technical editor and freelance document designer, before joining a cultural resource management firm, Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., where she is currently Production Supervisor. Her Prized Writing pieces represent the two types of writing she enjoys: technical and analytical. Her career has provided her the opportunity to write educational guides and other instructional material, as well as to design the layouts for books and monographs. She also takes pleasure in writing for daily business communication needs (proposals, emails, company literature, etc.), which is, she says, “not exactly a sexy type of writing, but one which is important and a lot more effective with a background in strong writing skills. This retrospective reminds me, too, that although I love my line of work, I want to return to the practice of writing more often.” Baron Photo.jpg

Dawn Lairamore wrote her prize-winning essay, “Women with Exciting Underwear,” for an English 46A course—a survey of literature in English from its origins to 1640—taught by Professor Marijane Osborn. Dawn graduated from UCD in Spring 2000, with a B.A. in English and a minor in Communication. Since then, she has worked as an editorial assistant, a technical writer, and civil litigation paralegal. Currently, she is living in Sacramento, working as a paralegal by day, and as a children’s book author by… “well, whenever I can find the time to write!” She has written book cover copy and sales sheets as an editorial assistant, software manuals and user’s guides as a technical writer, and finally a novel: a fractured fairy tale for middle-grade readers called Ivy’s Ever After about a princess and a dragon who team up to thwart a handsome prince. The sequel, Ivy and the Meanstalk, was pulished in 2011.

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Carolyn Lex wrote her prize-winning essay, “Early Intervention May Reduce the Severity of Autism,” for the composition course, “Writing in the Health Sciences.” Lex graduated in Spring 2000 with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior. From 2000 to 2004, she attended Case Western Reserve University, finishing her Emergency Medicine residency at Baystate Medical Center in 2007. She has been practicing for over 17 years since graduating from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and getting her license to practice in Maine. She is currently working as a psysician in emergency medicine with St. Joseph Hospital to provide care.



Jennifer L. Lee wrote her prize-winning essay, “Fantasy or Reality?” A Closer Look at the Characterization of Young Girls in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Ozma of Oz,” for an English course in Children’s Literature. She graduated in Spring 1999 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. After graduating from UCD, Lee attended UC San Francisco School of Medicine and then returned to UCD to complete her internal medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship. After UCD, Lee worked as an editor for Synapse, UCSF’s campus newspaper. She has turned her attention towards writing medical literature, with published articles on topics like giant cell arteritis, calcific uremic arteriolopathy, Libman-Sacks endocarditis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and rheumatic fever. She currently lives in Fremont and works in Los Gatos as a rheumatologist in private practice. Lee Photo.jpg



Doreen Anderson wrote her prize-winning essay, “A History Student’s Reflections on History,” for a writing adjunct course focused on History, taught by Eric Schroeder, that was paired with Clarence Walker’s upper-division History course on the Jacksonian era. Doreen graduated in Winter 1995 with a B.A. in History and went on to graduate school in education. She is certified in secondary education and holds a Master’s equivalent in education from the Baltimore County Public School system. Currently, she is a middle school teacher in Baltimore County, Maryland, where she teaches 6th grade World Cultures in a Title 1 school in a lower socio-economic neighborhood.


Poonam Sachdev wrote her prize-winning essay, "Coming to terms with Hyphens: The Politics of Identity," for a Comparative Literature course on Narratives of Self and Nation, applying the theoretical frameworks studied in the class to a self-study. Writing the piece helped her to see her personal story within a larger social and political context. Sachdev graduated from UCD in 1996 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature, writing her Honors Thesis on the theme of Exile. After living in Malaysia for 2 years, she returned to UCD, receiving her Ph.D. in English in 2008. 



Katy Pye wrote her prize-winning essay, “Nature: Mirror to the Soul and Window to the Family,” for a course on “Wilderness Literature” taught by Professor David Robertson. Pye graduated in June 1993 with an individual major in Communication of Natural Resource Issues. After graduating, Pye worked as Executive Director of the Yolo County Resource Conservation District in Woodland, California, writing grants that garnered several million dollars for award-winning, on-farm eco-restoration projects statewide. In 2013, Pye published "Elizabeth's Landing," a young adult novel about ecology, land use, political activism, and family that won several children's awards. Today, she volunteers at organizations focused on conservation and still writes, primarily about her primary passions: sea turtles and pollinators. Pye Photo.jpg


Elizabeth Garone was published in the very first issue of Prized Writing, with her prize-winning essay, “Not Simply Pure—Olive Oil,” originally written for Eric Schroeder’s English 103C course (what is now UWP 104C). Garone graduated in June 1990 with a B.A. in American studies and an English minor. After graduating, she moved to Coos Bay, Oregon, where she got her first taste of the daily newspaper experience, writing for The World. She then headed off to Japan for two years on the JET Programme, teaching English to junior high school students and editing a magazine for English teachers in her free time. She later went on to receive her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. In Pheonix, Arizona, she worked first as an editorial assistant then as online editor of Pheonix New Times, and in the Bay Area, she was the only (and first) technology reporter at the San Mateo County Times. She has experience writing and editing for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, BBC Capital, Business Week, The Washington Post, and Money Magazine. She is currently a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, writing features for BBC Capital,The Wall Street Journal, and Catholic Health World. Garone Photo.jpg