Winthrop University: Education Student Named a Finalist in Highly Competitive Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest
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Education Student Named a Finalist in Highly Competitive Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

June 09, 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sandra Reyes ‘21, a graduate student studying secondary education in the Richard W. Riley College of Education, took inspiration from her Honduran and Guatemalan heritage and the COVID-19 pandemic for her essay. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – A Winthrop University student was recently a finalist for the prestigious and highly competitive Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

Sandra Reyes ‘21, a graduate student studying secondary education in the Richard W. Riley College of Education, took inspiration from her Honduran and Guatemalan heritage and the COVID-19 pandemic for her essay.  

The Greenville native wrote about the hardships and challenges that Latinos face in the American workplace, citing specific instances, as part of an ENGL 507 assignment. She also focused on how the pandemic further exasperated the discrimination that Latinos face. Leslie Bickford, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (ONCA), and Assistant Professor of English Joyce White encouraged her to submit to the foundation. 

While Reyes did not advance to the next level of the competition, she appreciated the experience.

“The research I conducted and the time I spent writing this essay taught me that not only is this topic incredibly important, but it’s one that must be acknowledged within the American landscape,” she said. “I’m incredibly proud of my essay and honored.” 

After her anticipated 2022 graduation, Reyes hopes to continue the conversations her essay started through future educational opportunities – and ultimately becoming a professor of women and gender studies and racial theory. 

“I think that it’s important to explore and research racial theory in America because I have so many questions and not enough answers,” she explained. “I am a young person who was born in the 20th century. With that being said, the 20th century left a multitude of scars, social norms and ideologies that have affected, and continue to affect, the 21st century. So we, as citizens of America and the world, regardless of how we identify, cannot try to live without acknowledging what people from prior centuries experienced and/or fought.”

Reyes also believes research in these fields will allow stories from more people of color to be told.  

“Although America has come a long way when it comes to respecting and acknowledging the differences within and between various communities, I feel like there’s always more that can be learned and taught,” she continued. “Not all stories have been told and not all voices have been heard so I think it’s important to study, research and understand the various ways in which discrimination still harms those who are different in America. Whether this difference comes from socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality identity, or race, or any intersectional identities…I’m interested in learning and maybe teaching this topic one day!”

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or chisarin@winthrop.edu

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Last Updated: 10/4/21