University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni and President Charles W. Steger recognized Juanisha Brooks and her poem "Future Flight" as the winner in the competition for the Steger Award for undergraduate poetry. Brooks is a junior majoring in communication and psychology from Portsmouth, Va.

Last fall, students at Virginia Tech were invited to submit a poem about "the future" and compete for "The Steger." The award, now in its second year and established by the Virginia Tech president, carries a $1,000 prize. That reward is recognized as the highest amount for an undergraduate poetry award in the nation, and seems destined to retain that distinction as President Steger announced at the reading that he would double his contribution for next year to be used in any manner deemed appropriate for the contest.

The second place prize of $500 went to Brian Skinner, a senior physics and mechanical engineering double major, for "I Know No Other Way Than This." Tom Dunn, a junior English major, won third place with "Walking With My Unborn Son." Second and third place awards are sponsored by the Master of Fine Arts Program of the English Department.

The student authors read their work publicly at a celebration event, and were joined with offerings from faculty members in the English department's creative writing program.

The competition was administered by Giovanni, an internationally recognized poet and member of the English faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; and judged by a committee of faculty and staff from various disciplines at the university. In addition to the monetary award, a small statue made by local jeweler Faith Capone, was inscribed and presented to the winner.

"We encourage undergraduates to explore poetry and poems in all their aspects," said Giovanni.

Listen to a podcast of Juanisha Brooks reading her poem "Future Flight."

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The College nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of Apparel, Housing & Resource Management; Communication; English; Foreign Languages & Literatures; History; Human Development; Interdisciplinary Studies; Music; Philosophy; Political Science; ROTC; Science and Technology in Society; Sociology; Theatre Arts; and the School of Education.

Share this story