Bonnie Spencer essay awards winners announced

Two dual enrollment students and one NTCC sophomore were the recipients of this year’s Bonnie Spencer awards for the best essays in non-honors history courses at NTCC.  Essays could have been entered from any history course from any history instructor, full-time or part-time, on campus or off, including embedded dual history courses.


Marandy Burrow, a dual-enrollment student at Pittsburg who aspires to ultimately attend medical school and become a physician, won $200 and first place for her work on the “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.”  In a beautiful and persuasively written essay, Burrow    argued that the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire played a monumental role in the advancement of working conditions in the early 1900s. From the first sentence she caught the judges’ attention and dramatically relayed the impact of the event, effectively using scholarly source materials such as records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 


Rebecca Yaws, a sophomore from Harleton, Texas, came in second, winning $100, for her essay on the “Emotions of Prohibition.” Yaws made use of turn of the century films available on YouTube to analyze the impact of silent films on attitudes toward alcohol and drinking. 


Kayla Martinez, won $50 and third place for her essay “Saved by the Bell.” In her essay about Alexander Graham Bell, Martinez’ pointed out that Bell’s impact on society goes beyond improving communication and improving opportunities for the deaf, he also contributed to making the world a safer place today by inventing the world’s first metal detector.


Carolina Alcocer-Salas (below), a dual-enrollment student at Chapel Hill, won an honorable mention, for her paper on the Harlem Renaissance.

The first-place winner, Marandy Burrow, noted: “Wow, I am so honored to have won the Bonnie Spencer Essay contest!  Thank you NTCC for awarding me this prize, and thank you Dr. Fulgham for granting me this opportunity!”

The contest honors the student founder of the college’s first history club in 2002. Bonnie Spencer subsequently helped transition the efforts of the NTCC Webb Society and Honors Northeast toward feature-length films.  She has also raised and donated funds for activities in history at NTCC.

Title V Phi Theta Kappa/Honors Coordinator, Andrea Reyes, adjudicated the contest.  History and English department faculty served as judges.

History at NTCC offers courses in American, Texas, and World Civilization.  The college’s Webb Society, linked both to Honors Northeast and to the study of Texas history, recently won a State of Texas Caldwell Award, for its film on Adina De Zavala. Since 2008, students at NTCC have presented works of history nationally, regionally, and locally.  Each year since 2015, NTCC students have published essays in the state’s collegiate journal for Texas History, Touchstone.