Julian Clement Chase Prize

Rainbow Pride Douglass Bridge Norman E Jones DCDOT
Photo credit: Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, photo by Norman E. Jones, courtesy DCDOT.

The GW University Writing Program’s three $1,000 annual prizes honor Sgt. Julian Clement Chase, a native of DC who knew and relished his city. His family established these prizes to celebrate others who explore D.C. with the intelligence and exuberance that he did. 

The prizes “ recognize and honor: appetite, boldness, the striving toward humane excellence, and the building of community.”

Three Julian Clement Chase Prizes

Julian Clement Chase Undergraduate Research Writing Prize
  • This prize recognizes exceptional research writing projects demonstrating an in-depth engagement with the District of Columbia. 
  • Prize amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: 4th Monday in May
  • Administered by: University Writing Program
  • Contact: Phyllis Ryder. See Application Guidance for details.
Julian Clement Chase Creative Writing in Washington Prize
  • This prize recognizes outstanding prose–a prize for fiction/creative nonfiction, given to a GW student, for creative writing that includes or incorporates the District of Columbia, utilizing the city as a backdrop, or for thematic purposes, in the narrative.
  • Prize amount: $1,000 
  • Deadline: March 29th
  • Administered by: Creative Writing Program, English Department
  • Contact: Lisa Page.
Julian Clement Chase Prize for Community Impact in the District of Columbia
  • This prize recognizes a GW student (or a team of students) for excellence in community service impact. It illuminates excellence and effective practice in student community engagement and provides exemplars to the DC, GW, and broader community of the impact that students can have when working with members of the community to enhance the quality of life in the DC community.
  • Prize amount: $1,000
  • Administered by: Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement & Public Service.
  • Deadline: 4th Monday in May
  • Contact: Amy Cohen. See Application Guidance for details.

2023 Ceremony Details


The Julian Clement Chase Prize is named in honor of Sgt. Julian Clement Chase, a native of Washington, D.C., who graduated in 2008 from DC’s Wilson High School. While serving with the United States Marine Corps, he was killed in action at the age of 22 in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He was set to matriculate as a freshman at GW in the spring of 2013.

Born in Washington, Julian knew and relished his city. His family has established this prize in his honor to recognize others who explore D.C. with the intelligence and exuberance that he did. 

Application Guidance for Undergraduate Research Writing Prize

Entries will be reviewed by a committee composed of GW faculty, representatives from the community and former prizewinners. To apply, complete the application form and email it to [email protected].

Download the Application Form (PDF)

Submission Criteria for the Undergraduate Research Writing Prize

Complete applications will be evaluated based on the values shared by the Founders: 

  • Appetite, a hunger for & responsiveness to the city of Washington, D.C.

  • Boldness, a commitment to a new idea.

  • Striving toward humane excellence, with discipline and integrity.

  • Building and joining a community with other (re)searchers.

  • Weaving university and city

For a fuller sense of these criteria, we invite you to read The Intentions of the Founders.

Potential Topic Areas for Undergraduate Research Writing Prize

Washington, D.C., is the primary focus of the Julian Clement Chase Prize. Therefore, engagement with D.C. plays a critical role in the judging process.

  • Social sciences or humanities students might engage D.C. in terms of place, history, neighborhoods and cultures.
  • Students in the arts might engage D.C. in terms of its artistic expressions or research related to art that they have created representing the District.
  • Students from the sciences might submit research projects that address quality of life issues in D.C.

Collaborative or team projects are welcome, with a clear explanation of how entrants worked together.

Past Winners for Undergraduate Research Writing Prize

Note: Winning papers are archived in GW's institutional repository.


Izy Carney

"Dirty Work” Pay: Environmental Racism and the 1970 Washington, D.C. Sanitation Strike"

Izy Carney summarized her archival research project, which demonstrated the workers in the 1970 DC Sanitation Strike were at the forefront of environmental justice work. Carney argued that the strike was the first time that a city recognized and compensated garbage collectors for the environmental hazards of the work: local and national AFSCME union workers won extra compensation for “dirty work.” Although the strike happened within days of the first national Earth Day celebration, few at the time made the connection between environmentalism and workers’ rights. Carney argues, however, that the 1970 DC Sanitation Strike was the beginning of the environmental justice movement.


Chase Kleber

"Sundays in the Park”

Chase Kleber’s capstone essay Sundays in the Park is an analysis of the drum circles in DC’s Malcolm X/ Meridian Hill Park with a particular focus on sound. Kleber explains his project this way:

“I seek to study space, specifically being Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park – this designated, bordered, and monitored land – and I wish to encounter the various ways of being in it with a careful approach to sound. I highlight the importance of care, as I require methods beyond an objectifying imperial gaze.”

2021 Award Ceremony


Beatrice Mount

"Imagining One D.C.: Using Feminist and Queer Theory as a Basis to Combat Gentrification"

 Gentrification is a growing, urban phenomenon with specific implications for feminist and Queer theorists. Yet despite the overwhelming amount of women and queer communities driving anti-gentrification activism, the intersections of gentrification, feminism, and Queer theories remain understudied. In an effort to understand how feminist and Queer theories may inform or interact with anti-gentrification activism, I conducted a five-month-long, participatory research-based case-study of one organization in the District of Columbia: Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC. Using materials and notes drawn from ONE DC’s online sources and meetings ONE DC, I argue that ONE DC roots itself within feminist and queer theories to develop successful strategies to fight against gentrification. By focusing on intersectional identities, avoiding hierarchies, and imagining a future outside of current power structures and ideals, ONE DC develops a concrete understanding of and concrete resistance strategies to gentrification, exemplifying potential resistance strategies against nebulous, interlocking oppressions.

2020 Award Ceremony



Adam Graubart

“Pursuing Tzedek: DC Synagogues Building Movements for Social Justice”

Graubart researched involvement in social justice work among Jewish congregations in D.C. His project — his senior thesis — used interviews and quantitative research to examine how these congregations seek to align actions with values.

2019 Award Ceremony



Lydia Francis

“The Irony of Capital Development: A Critical History of the Origins of Meridian Hill Park from the Perspective of Washington Residents”

Francis’s paper is a layered historical analysis of the development of Meridian Hill Park. She reframes the common narrative about urban park development by providing evidence that the community that was demolished was likely a thriving, established and diverse working class area.

Xavier Adomatis
“Re-Segregate D.C. Schools: An analysis of Gentrification’s Peculiar Consequences on Francis-Stevens”

Adomatis offers a provocative analysis of one of Georgetown's public elementary schools, School Without Walls, Francis-Stevens. When the school recruited more neighborhood students, parents sent their children to preschool and then transferred them to private schools after kindergarten. As a result, the school lost its Title IX funding without benefiting from parents' ongoing participation with the school.

2018 Award Ceremony



Victoria Rowe

“Seek First to Understand: Exploring the Implementation of Culturally Relevant Education in the District of Columbia”

After demonstrating the educational disparity among D.C.'s black and white students, and reporting the dissatisfaction that black students have expressed about local school climate, Rowe reviews education scholarship and finds that culturally relevant education could have a positive effect. She then interviews a pool of DCPS teachers to discover whether they use culturally relevant teaching strategies and whether the DCPS professional development programs have helped them do so. She concludes with policy recommendations.

2017 Award Ceremony



Kaeleigh Christie

“An Evaluation of the Implementation and Enforcement of Washington D.C.’s Truancy Policy”

Christie critiques D.C.'s public school truancy policy in practice. Using DCPS datasets, Christie highlights remarkable inconsistencies in the ways D.C. public schools practice early intervention for truancy, suggesting that more resources might allow schools to offer more potentially beneficial support to at-risk students.

Emily Niekrasz
“Washington, D.C.’s 1973 Acquisition of Home Rule After One Hundred Years: Confronting the Issues of Race and Representation in the Nation’s Capital”

Niekrasz advances an argument that is as timely as it is historically grounded: that the national civil rights movement is tied up with the status of the nation's capital — and vice versa. She combines research in archives and special collections with D.C.-related sources tracked down as far afield as South Carolina to demonstrate how the most rigorous historical methodology can examine Washington's recent past to address issues of the broadest importance.

2016 Award Ceremony



Related Writing Award

  • The Eckles Prize for Freshman Research Excellence
    Hosted by GW Libraries, this award offers three cash prizes each year of up to $500 to recognize students research that demonstrates significant and meaningful use of GW’s library services and collections.