Linda K. Shamoon Scholarship in Public Writing

Writing & Rhetoric

Linda K. Shamoon Scholarship in Public Writing

An award for a sophomore or junior Writing major who is committed to public writing/community action and who has a deep understanding of rhetoric as a social good. This student will have demonstrated a willingness to go outside of the classroom and use his or her writing to change actual rules, ordinances, or laws. Linda Shamoon presents at the Portfolio Showcase in May.

The Linda Shamoon Public Writing Award is awarded to a sophomore or junior student that is using public writing to seek greater change around them, whether this means an audience of the local community or a wider outreach. The award was established by Professor Linda Shamoon, who established the public writing course (WRT303) in the Writing and Rhetoric major during her time at the University of Rhode Island. After her retirement from teaching in 2010, emerita Shamoon wanted to keep the public writing focus alive at URI and generously started the Linda Shamoon Public Writing Award. To Shamoon, public writing inspires empowerment and leadership to students who may not have realized that they could make a difference by using their writing skills. Public writing is a way for citizens all over, whether they are professional writers or not, to lobby for causes that are important to them, and drive others to care about issues previously unknown to them.

Last year’s recipient was Gina Atanasoff, who had this to say about the public writing genre and her experience with it: “Public writing is what keeps our democracy alive. It preserves the voice of those willing to advocate for underrepresented people, minorities, local or national issues, and countless other causes. It’s important to maintain a public forum where people can voice their opinions and call for change they wish to see in their communities. Without a driving force of the people, how will the governors know what the people want? How will citizens learn to instigate change in a system or government, or advocate an organization or cause for the common good? Ultimately, I believe being a public writer takes passion. If you are passionate enough about an issue, bring it to light for the world to see. We exist in a democracy to voice ourselves for a reason.”

Quote from Gina Atanasoff, 2015 Scholar:

“Let whatever passion you have drive your force for change; don’t be afraid to voice your opinions, because the purpose of democracy is for everyone to have an equal say in their government. Don’t let that fear limit you.”

Past recipients:

Gina Atanasoff, 2015
Chloe Simpson, 2013
Cristian Izurieta, 2012
Sara Gilman, 2011