Reflection Contest

Campus-wide Conversation

Case Western Reserve is currently seeking entries for our MLK Reflection Competition; essays, poetry, short stories, art, photography, music and media will all be accepted. The contest is open to students, staff and faculty/administrators from Case Western Reserve University and Cuyahoga Community College.

First and Second place winners will be chosen from the categories of Written and Non-Written expression, and the awarding of Honorable Mentions will be at the discretion of the judges. First and Second place winners will receive prizes. 

All submissions must be received by February 1st, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Send submissions to

Winners will be invited to read from and discuss their work at a reception and celebration to be held in late February, which will be open to the community.

For detailed guidelines about submissions for each category and prompts, visit

Students, staff and faculty/administrators from both campuses are also needed as volunteers to judge and to help with the reception. Those interested in volunteering should email by January 15.

Please direct questions to Allison Morgan, Cleveland Humanities Collaborative, at 216-368-0588, or email

The Martin Luther King Jr. Reflection Competition and celebration are sponsored by Cleveland Humanities Collaborative, Voices from the Village, Kelvin Smith Library, and the Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity, with support by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Past winners

Each year, the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest invites participants to reflect on the application of King’s values and vision in response to an annual theme. Essay contest winners from previous years are listed below. 


Student Category: 

  • First place, written expression: Nailah Mathews, poetry, Case Western Reserve University
  • Second place, written expression: Christopher Cannon, poetry, Cuyahoga Community College, East Campus
  • Honorable mention, written expression: Fadi M. Assaf, poetry, Case Western Reserve University
  • First place, non-written expression: Ishita Gupta, photography, Case Western Reserve University
  • Honorable mention, non-written expression: Anmol Nigam, photography, Case Western Reserve University

Staff and Faculty Category:

  • First place, non-written expression: Matthew Shiffler, photography, Case Western Reserve University
  • Second place, written expression: Vincent Briley, essay, Cuyahoga Community College, Metropolitan Campus
  • Honorable mentions, written expression: Ann Marie Stock-Ghazy, essay, Case Western Reserve University, and Keisha Davenport, essay, Cuyahoga Community College


  • First place student prize: Mikel Jordan of Cuyahoga Community College
  • Second place student prizes: Unnati Amin and Sierra J. Lipscomb, both of Case Western Reserve University
  • First place staff prize: Liza Reed of Case Western Reserve University
  • Honorable mention staff prize: Dorothy Oluonye of Case Western Reserve University

Based on the strength of their work, students Austin Stroud and Shadi Ahmadmehrabi were invited to read at the reception along with the winners.


  • Faculty - Dr. Susan Klein
  • Staff - Lisa Board-McShepard
  • Graduate/Professional Student - Jonathan Kinser
  • Undergraduate Student - Candice McCloud


First Prize

  • Faculty - Sarah Gridley, Assistant Professor of English
  • Staff - Venota Pride, Human Resources
  • Graduate/Professional Student - Abby Omojola, School of Law
  • Undergraduate Student - Justine Ly, Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism

Second Prize

  • Faculty - Wells Addington, lecturer Department of English
  • Staff - Melissa Persensky, Enrollment Management
  • Graduate/Professional Student - Sam Duncan, Department of History
  • Undergraduate Student - Elizabeth Huddleston, Theater and Psychology




Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Share a personal story that illustrates your refusal to remain silent and willingness to make a personal sacrifice in order to advocate for justice.


Before he died, Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I want you to say on that day, that I did try in my life... to live and serve humanity." Write about how you see his commitment to humanity carried out in our current society.

  • First Place: Eric Hammond
  • Second Place: Joung Hyun Park
  • Third Place: Alex van Voorhees


Each year we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. How does his life, purpose and dream affect your life? What does it mean to you?

  • First Place: Aqueelah Jordan
  • Second Place: Jessica Stork
  • Third Place: Eric (Ruo-Yang) Xu