UC Engineering Students Cash In on Clear Communication

Most engineers, at some point in their professional careers, have to be able to take their technical knowledge and make it approachable, accessible and comprehensible to a “lay” audience. For example, grant administrators, hiring managers and the news media are people with whom engineers will want to communicate and with whom engineers will need to communicate in a non-technical fashion.

Through the S. Ted Isaacs Prize Paper Contest, pre-junior, junior and senior engineering students can be rewarded for writing well. The prize paper is to be an essay of 500 to 1,250 words. (This equates roughly to two to four double-spaced pages.) The deadline for entries is April 15. The winning entry will be announced later in the spring and recognized at or before commencement.
The University of Cincinnati offers many different majors in engineering. As such, the topic of the paper will not be focused on a specific type of engineering. Rather, the topic will be one that all engineers can address. Contestants must write an essay that answers one or a combination of the following prompts: 

  • How has your discipline changed over the past 100 years?
  • What does your field of engineering offer society?
  • How has your particular field of research benefitted real-world situations? 
  • Where do you see your field of engineering going in the next 100 years? 
  • What is one problem that you would like to solve, given your chosen field of study?
  • Who is one of the pioneers in your discipline, to whom you look for inspiration?

To enter the contest, contact Marsha Brandt in the Office of the Dean, Mark Bowers — Assistant Dean/Academic Affairs, 665 Baldwin Hall, ML 0018, (513) 556-5427. For more information on the contest, visit the College of Engineering's Web page. A helpful writing checklist and the judging criteria are also available.

It is assumed that the student’s writing is his or her own original, individual work. Any student found to have plagiarized his or her essay will be barred from future competition in the S. Ted Isaacs Prize Paper Contest.

About S. Ted Isaacs

Ted Isaacs received his bachelor’s degree in 1936 in engineering. He returned to UC to earn an associate’s degree from the College of Arts & Sciences, because he felt it was important to be well rounded, especially when it came to writing. He has even published a book of his own poetry! Here's a sample from one poem: 

At my old school U of Cincinnati
I have endowed a prize paper contest.
Those students will receive prize money,
Who in the S. Ted Isaacs contest were best.

Because of these things someone may ask,
Who was this Ted Isaacs anyway?
In a dusty old issue of Who’s Who
My footprint will exist to that day.

President Zimpher chats with Ted Isaacs at the Herman Schneider Luncheon.

President Zimpher chats with Ted Isaacs at the Herman Schneider Luncheon.

Isaacs established a fund for an annual contest to reward excellent writing skills while demonstrating sound engineering principles. Would you like to

learn more about Ted Isaacs


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