UIMF Hosts 2015 High School Essay Contest on Women’s Issues


Winners of the Essay Contest and Organizing Committee



For the fifth year in a row the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) hosted their annual high school essay contest. This year’s theme “Women of the Mountains of the 21st Century,” brought many fascinating essays from several high school students around Utah.

hs15Members of the Organizing Committee of the essay Contest (L to R): Connie Lamb from BYU, Dr. Keith Snedegar, History and Political Science, UVU, Kiersten Dumas, VP UIMF, and Christine Biehle, UIMF media coordinator.

This contest has grown gradually every year, bringing essays from different students around our state. With the support of the Mountain Partnership, Utah Valley University, and the Orem Public Library we have been able to have a successful event every year. This contest is a group effort between many UIMF members and colleagues. This year helped to organize the efforts of both the UIMF and the high school students who entered.

Dr. Snedegar, a professor in the History and Political Science Department, has continued his support by being a part of the organizing committee and helping to judge the entries. His advising and guidance has made the combined efforts of these student’s a success. Connie Lamb, from Brigham Young University is another dedicated faculty, who contributes to the essay contest on regular basis and we so appreciate her involvement.

On the night of the essay contest, held at the Orem Public Library, contestants were able to give a short presentation on their research and the audience had the opportunity to ask questions. This adds a little more challenging element to the contest that helped the judges determine who the winners would be.

hs152 Chayston Woods, first place winner ( C ) with members of the organizing committee

Chayston Woods from Copper Hills High school earned first place this year with his very well written essay. He brought light to the issues of women who live in mountainous regions and how sustainable development of these areas is vital. Respectively, Caroline Moss and Melissa Hansen from the same school took second and third place. These winners all won monetary prizes and a certificate from the UIMF recognizing their research. Also, these essays will be included in the third edition of the “Youth and the Mountains” journal.

This year we also had an honorable mention. For the first time we had a creative work submitted into the contest. All of the judges were very pleased to see the imagination and creativity that Gabby Andersen showed in her submission, and felt that she need to be recognized separately for her work.

hs153Robin Bucaria, Teacher from Copper Hills High school ( C ) is appreciated for her contribution to the Essay Contest

By engaging these young students to research these issues that are facing people all around the world we are helping them get more engaged in their school and community. We hope that this contest will continue to bring this kind of experience to students all around our state, and that their efforts will be recognized by many people in our own community and beyond.

Kiersten Dumas, co-organizer of the Essay Contest, VP, UIMF