Prompt: Write about an experience you've had related to your own or another culture, and how it has impacted you

(click on each piece title to read it)

***ties are in no particular order, simply the order in which we received those submissions



Second Prize (tie):

Third Prize (tie):

Honorable Mentions:


First Prize (tie):

Second Prize (tie):

Third Prize:

Honorable Mention:


Dr. Margaret Baker

(Ann Arbor, MI)

Margaret Baker is a private writing tutor and college essay consultant from her home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from Princeton with a degree in Comparative Literature, received an M.A. from Harvard in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard, then a Ph.D. in Chinese Literature at the University of Michigan. Privileged to teach English in China for several years, she has also written one children's book with award-winning illustrator Mark Ludy (When I Was a Girl I Dreamed), and is the proud parent, with her husband David, of five children, who now range from 14-22. She loves reading (especially classic children's books), swimming, walking, and playing from the American Songbook on the piano.

Mr. John Fitzsimmons

(Concord, MA)

John Fitzsimmons is a poet, folksinger and teacher who works at the Fenn School in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated from UMass with an English degree and a minor in Chinese. He also attended the Beijing Teachers College. He is the author of three books of poetry and two books of essays. He has released three CD’s of music and is a noted performer on the New England music circuit. John is married to Denise Fitzsimmons and have raised their seven children in Maynard, Massachusetts.

Mr. Kena Gilmour

(Pomfret, CT)

Kena Gilmour is a humanities teacher and learning specialist at Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut. He attended The Kent School and recently graduated from Hamilton College, where he majored in Government and minored in Women's and Gender Studies. As his Pomfret School introduction says, "Kena is passionate about both English and History, and analyzing the experiences of marginalized and minoritized groups through these lenses. He also cares deeply about DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) work, and how these practices can be brought into positions of leadership and athletics."


Dr. Amanda Mathieson

(Pittsburgh, PA)

Dr. Amanda Mathieson, who currently serves as an elementary principal in the North Allegheny School District, is a former reading specialist, learning support and elementary teacher. Her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion as the former chairperson of the North Allegheny School District Diversity Committee has expanded to serving as a Pennsylvania Area Diversity Council (PADC) Advisory Board member in addition to serving on the Education Committee for the National Diversity Council. Dr. Mathieson has recently worked with students and parents on initiatives through the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate" ® program, presenting opportunities for students to actively engage in culturally conscious learning opportunities and providing staff with training in culturally responsive instructional practices. Together with her husband, Glenn Mathieson, Dr. Mathieson is the proud parent of two adult daughters: one residing in Manchester, England, and the other in Savannah, Georgia.


Mrs. Yujun Pian

(New York City, NY)

Yujun Pian is a senior data and information management professional working in an international organization. She has travelled and worked in different capacities in China, South-east Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and America, leading and assisting missions of strategic planning and operationalize information and data to support peace building, humanitarian assistance, human rights, legal investigation, sustainable development and decision-making. Ms. Pian is a seasoned professional in multi-culture environment, has deep understanding of the importance of respect to diversity and culture identity, and has been managing teams with members coming from different countries representing a wide variety of cultural background.

Sharing culturally diverse stories to educate, inspire, and empower others.