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Furniss, Jon; Marwil, Jeremy (ed.) / Wisconsin engineer
Volume 100, Number 2 (February, 1996)

Vokoun, Matthew
The Stueber prize for excellence in writing,   pp. 9-10

Page 9

The Stueber Prize for
Excellence in Writing
Is there an important issue that you
would like to take a stand on? Do
you have any ideas you have researched
and would like to explain to other
people? Have you made any observa-
tions you would like to comment and ex-
pand on? Would you like to present your
experiences or imagination to others? If
you are a UW undergraduate in engi-
neering and answer yes to any of these
questions, you should enter the Steuber
Prize for Excellence in Writing.
The Steuber Prize for Excellence in Writ-
ing is an annual award in the University
of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engi-
neering (COE) that recognizes excellence
in writing by undergraduate engineering
students. The prizes are $5000 for first
place, $3000 for second place, $1000 for
third place and smaller cash prizes for
the remaining finalists. All sophomores,
juniors and seniors enrolled in the COE
are eligible to enter, and the deadline for
the 1996 Steuber Prize was February 2,
Entrants are to submit one original essay
that they have researched, written and
edited. Essays may be informative (ex-
plaining and analyzing ideas you have
researched), persuasive (arguing for a
position you want to take) or expressive
(presenting your observations, experi-
ences or imagination). The entrant can
choose virtually any topic he or she
wishes to write about (see chart for top-
ics of past winning essays). The essays
have a maximum length of 2500 words
(about 10 pages) and must be word-pro-
cessed and double-spaced. Standard ref-
erence citations are required, and no il-
lustrations or equations are allowed. The
winning essays are selected by a judging
panel that consists of a practicing engi-
neer, a library director, an engineering
publications manager, an English profes-
sor, an engineering professor and a
member of the engineering department's
technical communication faculty.
The Steuber Prize for Excellence in Writ-
ing is named for William F. Steuber, a
1930 graduate of the UW whose gener-
ous donations have made this prize pos-
sible since 1992. Mr. Steuber is the former
assistant state highway engineer for the
Wisconsin Division of Highways (now
the Department of Transportation) and
an author of three books. At the age of
93, he currently lives in the city of Madi-
son. Mr. Steuber created this prize to en-
courage engineering students to write.
According to Mr. Steuber, "The combina-
tion of my engineering and writing skills
gave me a tremendous advantage in my
profession and work. Through this prize,
I want to give UW engineering students
the same opportunities and advantages I
had because of these two skills."
They want engineering students to de-
velop both their technical and communi-
cation skills and learn how to success-
fully combine the two. The Steuber Prize
gives UW engineering students this op-
portunity. Professor Alley explains, "En-
gineers have a very important and ben-
eficial role in our society. Engineers need
to be able to present information to the
public, persuade public policy and ex-
press their views, beliefs and opinions to
others. Mr. Steuber created this prize to
help engineering students develop the
communication skills needed to do these
All engineering students should seri-
ously consider entering an essay in the
Steuber Prize contest. One main reason
Mr. William F. Steuber (right) sponsors the Steuber Prize for Excellence
in Writing.
He is shown here with UW-Madison College of Engineering Dean John Bollinger
at last year's Polygon Awards Banquet.
Engineers are generally looked at as hav-
ing excellent technical skills, but weak
communication skills. Mr. Steuber and
Michael Alley, coordinator of the Steuber
Prize and a technical writing professor in
the COE, want to change this conception.
to enter is the money and what you
could do with it. For example, one past
winner used her prize money to help fi-
nance a year's study in France. Also,
placing or becoming a finalist is a presti-
gious recognition and great resume ma-

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