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The John D. Wilson / Phi Beta Kappa Essay Contest

The Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa invites applications for the John D. Wilson Essay Contest to recognize excellence in undergraduate writing. The selection committee will award a prize of $500 for the best analytical or interpretive essay. 

All interested undergraduate students should read the rules and entry form carefully before submitting to the prize. Essay rules and the entry form are available below. 

Note that your name must not appear within the essay itself, but only on the entry form. Essays, with the entry form copy-pasted on the first page, should be emailed to Shelia Collins, Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2024. Please include "Wilson Contest" in the email's subject field.

Address any questions to Shaila Mehra.

Wilson Essay Entry Form_Spring 2024.docx
Wilson Essay Rules_Spring 2024.docx

The Albert Lee Sturm Award for Faculty Excellence

The Phi Beta Kappa Sturm Awards honor the memory of Albert Lee Sturm (1911-1998), a founding member of Virginia Tech’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and a University Research Professor in Political Science. Through these awards, the Mu of Virginia chapter recognizes excellence in research (one award) and in the creative arts (up to two awards) performed by our university’s faculty.  

The Sturm Awards honor excellent work that is recognized as significant by a wider, educated audience, not just a narrow group of specialists. Previous creative arts awards have gone to original works of fiction and poetry, musical compositions, stage and lighting design, and an intermedia arts project. Books recognized by the research award have spanned the humanities, sciences, and social sciences on topics ranging from Moses to Darwin to the White House staff.

Awards consist of cash prizes to be presented at the Phi Beta Kappa spring initiation ceremony. Winners of the Sturm Creative Arts Awards are invited the following academic year to serve as guest speakers at the chapter's Fall and Spring luncheon meetings. The winner of the Sturm Research Award is the featured speaker at the annual Faculty Authors Recognition Event, for which PBK and the library are co-sponsors.

Who may be nominated?

Virginia Tech faculty (full- and part-time, tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track, active and retired). Nominees need not be members of Phi Beta Kappa.  

What may be nominated?

Work should be nominated within three years of its original publication, presentation, or exhibition. A work may be nominated more than once. Recipients of the award must wait at least five years before submitting another work for consideration.

Who nominates?

Appropriate department-level committees (e.g., personnel, promotion and tenure, executive) or department chairs/heads. Self-nominations and nominations from colleagues are also accepted.

How to nominate?

The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 16, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. Address questions to Shaila Mehra. Nomination forms are available online:

Sturm Award Creative Arts Nomination Form_Spring 2024.docx
Sturm Award Research Nomination Form_Spring 2024.docx