Professional writers often read other writers to think about new techniques. Although reading a good paper cannot teach you everything you need to know about writing in a given discipline, it can be enormously helpful. The papers below were winners of the Writing Center essay contest from 2007-2012. We hope you find them helpful for expanding your writing repertoire. (You may also want to browse Additional Model Papers, collected in earlier years.)
It can be even more valuable to ask your professors for sample essays that they admire. In fact, if your field is not represented below, please encourage your professors to send us a good paper in that discipline.
"'The Moral Meaning of a Pause': Ethics Committees and the Cloning Debate," by Lindsay Gellman ‘12. English 116: Writing Seminars 2, Professor Raymond Malewitz.
“Muahaha!: Defining Evil Laughter,” by Spencer Katz '13. ENGL 114: Writing Seminars—Laughter, Professor Ryan Wepler.
“The Camera as Dictator: Photography and Fascism at Abu Ghraib,” by Stephanie Lynch ‘09. English 114: Writing Seminars 1, Professor Raymond Malewitz.
“My Secret,” by Lydia Martin ‘12. English 114: Writing Seminars 1, Professor Paula Resch.
“Israel's Withdrawal Gaza: Legitimizing Civil Disobedience from Both Sides,” by Aya Shoshan '10. English 114: Writing Seminars 1, Professor Andrew Ehrgood.
"Round Up These Characters," by Presca Ahn '10. ENGL 469: Advanced Nonfiction Writing, Professor Anne Fadiman.
"Collecting Time," by Kathryn Culhane '15. ENGL 121: Professional & Academic Prose: Writing Nature. Professor John Loge.
"A Security Debriefing with R. Rosarbo on the Subject of Wilbur Cross High School," by Sophie Dillon '17. ENGL 120. Professor Ryan Wepler.
"Prove It," by Jeremy Lent '11. ENGL 467: Journalism, Professor Jill Abramson.
“Choosing Terms,” by Sarah Nutman ‘11. English 120: Reading/Writing the Modern Essay, Professor Richard Deming.
"Why I Powerlift," by Chelsea Savit '13. English 120: Reading/Writing the Modern Essay. Professor Andrew Ehrgood.
"The Flood," by Michael Schulson '12. ENGL 120: Reading and Writing the Modern Essay, Professor Barbara Stuart.
“When Culture Trumps Law,” by Emma Sokoloff-Rubin ‘11. English 454: Non-Fiction Writing, Voice & Structure, Professor Fred Strebeigh.
“Choice,” by Joanna Zheng '14. ENGL 120: Reading and Writing the Modern Essay, Professor Kim Shirkhani.
"'In the Fold of America': Immigration Politics in the Alien and Sedition Era," by Jacob Anbinder '14. HIST 135J: Age of Hamilton & Jefferson. Professor Joanne Freeman.
“The Impossibility of P. Grad. 4 in the Thebaid and Implications for Ptolemaic Rule,” by Jennifer Barrows ‘12. CLCV 204: Alexander and the Hellenistic World, Professor: Joseph Manning; Teaching Fellow Caroline Stark.
“Modern Blood Libels and the Masking of Egyptian Insecurities,” by Matthew Bozik ‘10. History 434: Anti-Semitism in Modern Times, Professor Paula Hyman.
“Dissidence in China and Eastern Europe and the Search for a New Pragmatism,” by Eli Bildner ‘10. History 231J: Responses to Totalitarianism, Professor Marci Shore.
“An Unattainable Salvation: Dirt, Danger & Domesticity in Old New York," by Catherine Carson Evans '13. AMST 207: American Cultural Landscapes. Professor Dolores Hayden. Teaching Fellow Chloe Taft.
“Pruitt-Igoe: Utopic Expectations Meet Tenement-Infused Realities," by Evan Frondorf. AMST 207: American Cultural Landscapes. Professor Dolores Hayden. Teaching Fellow Liz Bondaryk.
“Mr. Madison Meets His Party: The Appointment of a Judge and The Education of a President,” by Ryan Jacobs '11. HIST 135J: The Age of Hamilton and Jefferson, Professor: Joanne Freeman.
“Regarding the Body: The Spectacle of Dissection and its Uses in the 18th Century,” by Mihan Lee ‘10. History of Science, History of Medicine 431: Science/Spectacle in Enlightenment, Professor Paola Bertucci.
“Selling Dentifrice from New Delhi: Chester Bowles in India, 1951-53,” by Harrison Monsky '13. HIST 134: Yale and America, Professor: Jay Gitlin.
“Hearts of Darkness: Opium Dens and Urban Exploration in Late Victorian London,” by Teo Soares '13. HIST 225J: London and Modernity, Professor: Becky Conekin.
"Silent Protection and the Burden of Silence," by Emma Sokoloff-Rubin '11. HIST 160: Topics in Lesbian and Gay History, Professor George Chauncey.
"Stages of Modernity: The Thaw-Nesbit-White Scandal, the New York Press and the Drama of the Century," by Randall Spock '11. HIST 126J: Murder and Mayhem in Old New York, Professor Mary Lui.
"The Numerous Faces of South Korea's Burgeoning Medical Tourism Industry," by Lisa Wang '12. AMST 192: Work and Daily Life in Global Capitalism, Professor Michael Denning.
"Managing History: The Federalist Attempt To Shape the Hartford Convention’s Legacy," by Nathaniel Zelinsky. HIST 133J: Creation of the American Politician 1789-1820. Professor Joanne Freeman.
“Want, Need, and Reason: Milton and Cause,” by Annie Atura ‘11. English 125: Major English Poets. Professor Christopher Miller.
"'Both Soles of Every Sinner Were On Fire': Contrapasso in Canto XI," by Alice Baumgartner '10. Directed Studies: Literature, Professor Shameem Black.
"Paradise Lost, Again," by Eliana Dockterman '13. Directed Studies, Literature, Professor Mark Bauer.
"The Governess Question: Modes of social engagement in Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre," by Helen Knight '13. ENGL 431: The Brontes and their Afterlives. Professor Linda Peterson.
"Whither Hast Thou, Fortune, Led?" by Daniel Pollack '16. ENGL 129: Tragedy. Professor Margaret Homans.
“The essay (which others call the List),” by Caroline Sydney '16. DRST 002: Literature. Professor Mark Bauer.
"Within You, Without You: Cannibalism and Consciousness in the Transatlantic World,” by Carina del Valle Schorske ‘10. English 420: Literature of the Middle Passage, Professors Shameem Black and Caryl Phillips.
“From Ass to Audience: Imagination as an Act of Translation,” by Carina del Valle Schorske '10. English 129: The European Literary Tradition, Professor Laura Frost.
"The Limited Potential of True Reform," by Bianca Yuh '12. ENGL 117: Literature Seminars II, Professor Andrew Karas.
“'That’s What It Is': Musical Potential and Stylistic Contrast in The Most Happy Fella," by Dan Rubins '16. MUSI 246: American Musical Theatre History. Professor Daniel Egan.
"Determining the Ages, Metallicities, and Star Formation Rates of Brightest Cluster Galaxies," by Hannah Alpert '15. SCIE 101: Scientific Research—Process and Presentation. Professors Maria Moreno, Kenneth Nelson, & Kallasnath Purushothaman.
“Evaluating the influence of evolution on human brain size,” by Sarah Foote ‘10. E&EB 122: Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior. Professor Steven Stearns; Teaching Fellow Katy Richards-Hrdlicka.
"Cloning of the Yellow Stripe 1 gene and of the promoter of a Tapetal Development and Function gene in Oryza sativa japonica," by Sabrina Gill '13. MCDB201L: Molecular Biology Laboratory, Professor Maria Moreno. Teaching Fellows Michael Turner & Elaine Lee.
"Visualization of localization and expression of Arabidopsis thaliana gene AT1G52340, an ortholog of Tasselseed2," by Kevin Hochstrasser '15. MCDB 201L: Molecular Biology Laboratory, Professor Maria Moreno. Teaching Fellow Christopher Bartley.
“Recombination in Mitochondrial DNA: Nonzero but Rare,” by Christina Hueschen '10. E&EB 122: Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior. Professor Stephen Stearns; Teaching Fellow Jeremy Draghi.
“Cloning of the Oryza sativa ferric chelate reductase promoter-terminator fusion into a pYU2735 plasmid: generation of a universal construct toward rice biofortification,” by Micah Johnson '13. MCDB 201L: Molecular Biology Laboratory, Professor: Maria Moreno, Teaching Fellow: Michael Turner.
“Fly Sex: Adaptive manipulation of offspring sex ratio in Drosophila melanogaster,” by Tse Yang Lim ‘11. E&EB 240: Animal Behavior, Professor: Suzanne Alonzo; Teaching Fellow Andrea Hodgins-Davis.
“Research Proposal: Do Octopuses Think Like Vertebrates? A New Comparative Test,” by Dakota E. McCoy '13. EEB 122: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Professor: Stephen Stearns, Teaching Fellow: Amanda Subalusky.
"The Hygiene Hypothesis and the Increase of Cancer in the 20th Century," by Stacy Scheuneman '14. E&EB 235: Evolution & Medicine. Professor Stephen Stearns. Teaching Fellow Vanessa Lamers.
“‘Junk’: Breeding Innovation and Complexity,” by Jared Shenson ‘12. E&EB 122: Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior. Professor Steven Stearns; Teaching Fellow: Andrea Hodgins-Davis.
“An Introduction to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy,” by Andrew Yang '12. CHEM 251L: Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Professor Jonathan Parr.
"Cardiovascular Disease in China," by Sudhakar Nuti '13. HLTH 230: Global Health: Challenges and Responses. Professor Richard Skolnik. Teaching Fellow Nidhi Parekh.
"The Prisoner Dis-Analogy as a Defense of Stem Cell Research on Spare Embryos," by Ilana Yurkiewicz ‘10. CSES 362: Bioethics and the Law, Professor Dov Fox.
"Fools & Self-Representation: A Defense of Faretta v. California," by Daniel Cheng '13. PLSC 252: Crime & Punishment. Professor Gregory Huber. Teaching Fellow Jeremy Kaplan-Lyman.
“Telling a Lie to Save a Life: Kant's Moral Failure and Mill's Mere Suitability,” by Brian Earp '10. Directed Studies: Philosophy, Professor Gregory Ganssle.
"The Lottery of Babylon and the Justice of Random Chance," by Nabeem Hashem ‘12. Political Science 118: Moral Foundations of Politics, Professor Paulina Ochoa Espejo, Teaching Fellow Josh Simon.
"Save Yourself from Yourself," by Ryan Hollander ‘12. Political Science 114: Intro to Political Philosophy. Professor Steven Smith, Teaching Fellow Meredith Edwards.
"Reconsidering Broken Windows: A Critique of Moral and Pragmatic Justifications," by Aseem Mehta '14. PLSC 252: Crime & Punishment. Professor Gregory Huber. Teaching Fellow Jeremy Kaplan-Lyman.
"A Reconstruction and Critique of the Refutation of Idealism," by Minh Alexander Nguyen '15. DRST 004: Philosophy. Professor Matthew Noah Smith.
"Charlotte’s Finite Web: Causality in Aristotle’s Metaphysics," by Anya Richkind '16. DRST 003: Philosophy. Professor Epifanio Elizondo.
“Effect of Excuses on Making Moral Judgments,” by Angela Choi '12. PSYC 235: Research Methods in Psychology, Professor: Woo-Kyoung Ahn, Teaching Fellow: Sarah Hailey.
“Imagined Identities: The Tibetan Government-in-exile and the Western Vision of Tibet,” by Emily Kruger '08. Anthropology 455: Religion and Globalization in East Asia, Professor Gareth Fisher.
“Positive, Math-Unrelated Priming and Women’s Math Performance,” by Jason Parad '12. PSYC 235: Research Methods in Psychology, Professor: Woo-kyoung Ahn, Teaching Fellow: Jacqueline Smith.