UM Veteran wins 20th Annual Webster Memorial Essay Award

Krystine Smith, a Marine Corps veteran, calls attention to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in “Songs of Freedom: Music Therapy with Veterans Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”

Veteran Krystine Smith being presented with the first place Audley Webster Memorial award by President Donna Shalala

The University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences honored excellence in first year writing at the 20th Annual Audley Webster Memorial Essay Award Ceremony held on March 4. This annual contest allows the English Composition Program to acknowledge the best of what UM students are writing as well as the faculty that help to inspire those student to write their best.

This year’s winners included essays by Krystine Smith, Christian Mock, and Corey Jansen.  First place went to the essay by Krystine Smith, a Marine Corps veteran, drew on statistics, her own experiences, and music therapy research, to call attention to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in “Songs of Freedom: Music Therapy with Veterans Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”  Smith read a selection from her essay in an audience attended by President Donna Shalala, faculty, students, and the Audley Webster Family.

Mary Taylor, the daughter of Audley Webster, gave a brief introduction about the essay contest stating it “continues to raise the bar for skillful, insightful, and effective writing.” 

President Shalala also emphasized the importance of the Humanities, before presenting the awards. “I want to congratulate the English Composition Program and the College of Arts & Sciences for making our students better citizens but also more thoughtful human beings.”

Second place went to “Enter the Dream State: A Study of the World behind Closed Eyes” by Christian Mock. Mock's essay delves into the science of sleep and dreaming and explains how science has still yet to grasp its true complexity.  Corey Janson won honorable mention for his analysis of Robert Lowell’s “For the Union Dead” in his essay “Frayed Roots of a Nation ‘For the Union Dead,’” which critically examines moral issues in Boston, and thereby the issues of America as whole. The three winning essays were selected, from the over 100 submissions, by a panel of 24 judges of faculty and graduate students.

These winning essays are due in part to the leading faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of English. Audley Webster, for whom the contest is named, was a member of the faculty who taught English composition. Beloved by alumni, Webster “believed that the greatest gift is the gift of learning, and that gift is not complete until it is passed on.”

For more information on the Department of English, UM College of Arts & Sciences, please visit

March 04, 2014