GSAL Black History Month Essay Competition 2022

The recently held Black History Month Essay Competition received a number of excellent student entries, all of which are shared below. The purpose of the competition was to encourage students to undertake independent research, think critically and communicate clearly about any aspect of black history specific to the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The challenge was to write a 500-word essay on any aspect of black history in the field of STEM. All entries were anonymously judged by the five Senior Student Editors of the Humanities Journal and Science Magazine, plus Mr Dodd, the Staff Editor. CPD

Winner

Thehara D (Year 12) – Frederick McKinley Jones: successful inventor and entrepreneur

Judge’s comments: Beautifully written, this piece is a detailed and a thorough exploration of a very niche aspect of history, yet manages to celebrate its importance and lasting significance. Particularly thought-provoking by revealing how relevant his invention remains today, but also by investigating the racism he faced, the reader is forced to confront some potent questions about why this man has not been more widely celebrated and to respect his subsequent achievements further. I found the connection to the pandemic especially interesting and profound, and this impressively researched piece is an excellent tribute to Frederick McKinley Jones.

Highly Commended

Anushree J (Year 12) – Dr. Jane Wright: Cancer Pioneer

Judge’s comments: Highly informative and clearly structured essay, that clearly presents the key, relevant examples and very well researched. There could perhaps be more evaluation of the key points and why they are so important today, in order to really solidify your argument.

Heather C (Year 12) – Dr Jane C Wright: The Pioneer of Cancer research

Judge’s comments: Good use of examples of her scientific achievements and their impact on the treatment of cancer. Examples in appropriate detail, such as  the name of the treatment and statistics supporting the success rate. The sentences get a little long towards the end, and often end up mixing 2/3 points together so it would be clearer to split them up into separate sentences each with their own point. Whilst examples were strong for the science aspect, try providing more specific examples of the struggles and discrimination she had gone through.

Lily A (Year 12) – Valerie L. Thomas – Trailblazer, Inventor and Ambassador

Judge’s comments: A fascinating essay exploring the life and contribution of a remarkable inventor and trailblazer for black women in STEM. I like the way in which you divide the essay alliteratively, using the sub-headings intelligent, innovative, and inspirational. You have a relaxed writing style, and it is pleasing to see you pose questions to the reader throughout. You clearly communicate her key works, and go on to discuss her legacy. A little more evaluation of the significance of her work and how this has been viewed through time would have added strength to the closing argument, but overall an excellent piece of writing.

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