Julian Clement Chase Prize

The University Writing Program is honored to announce:

The Julian Clement Chase Prize

for undergraduate writing focused on the District of Columbia

Submission date: May 21, 2018
Award ceremony: October 2018

This annual $1,000 prize recognizes exceptional research writing projects focused on the District of Columbia in all undergraduate classes and in all disciplines at the George Washington University.

Sgt. Julian Clement Chase, 22, was a native of Washington DC, and graduated in 2008 from DC’s Wilson High School. While serving with the United States Marine Corps, he was killed in action in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He was set to matriculate as a freshman at GW in Spring 2013. Julian was born in Washington. He knew and relished his city. His family has established this prize in his honor to recognize others who explore DC with the intelligence and exuberance that he did.

Washington DC is the primary focus of the Julian Clement Chase Prize.  Therefore, engagement with DC plays a critical role in the judging process. Writing from social sciences or humanities might engage DC in terms of place, history, neighborhoods, and cultures; students from arts might engage DC in terms of its artistic expressions, or research related to art that they have created representing DC; students from sciences might submit research projects that address quality of life issues in DC. Collaborative or team projects are welcome, with a clear explanation of how entrants worked together

The winner of the Julian Clement Chase Prize will be invited to present in October as a keynote event at the University Writing Program’s Fall 2018 Research and Writing Conference.

Submission Criteria

Submissions will be accepted for undergraduate work completed in 2017-18, including but not limited to UW1020 and Writing in the Disciplines Courses, senior theses or capstone projects, and other work undertaken at the university.

Complete applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Original research demonstrating in-depth engagement with Washington, DC community from any discipline taught at the George Washington University, including social sciences, humanities, arts, and sciences.  

  • Clear and effective communication of ideas including consideration of whether project makes a contribution to the scholarship in a particular field (e.g. ethnomusicology, sociology of neighborhoods, or scientific analysis of water services that leads to policy recommendations).

  • Adherence to academic standards of a particular field or discipline.

Entries will be reviewed by a committee composed of GWU faculty, representatives from the DC Community, and former winners of the Prize.

Information about how to submit material for the prize will be available in March.  Please contact Phyllis Ryder (pryder@gwu.edu) with any questions.

Past Winners

In 2017, the winner was  Human Services and Social Justice graduate Victoria Rowe, “Seek First to Understand: Exploring the Implementation of Culturally Relevant Education in the District of Columbia.”

Victoria Rowe presents the JCC Award winning paper in October 2017.After demonstrating the educational disparity among DC'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.


In 2016, the prize was shared by two winners:

Kaeleigh Christie (Sociology ‘16) critiques DC's public-school truancy policy in practice. Using DCPS datasets, Christie highlights remarkable inconsistencies in the ways DC 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 (History ‘16) 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 combined research in archives and special collections with with DC-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.

The prize is administered by the University Writing Program. If you have any questions, please contact Writing Center Deputy Director Phyllis Ryder.