Newnham Essay Prizes

We are pleased to announce the winners for the 2018-19 Newnham College Essay Prizes! 

You can read the winning entries below. Congratulations to all who took part, and contributed to an extremely high standard of work across all subjects.

All female students currently in Year 12 at a UK school may enter the prizes, which are offered in Biological Sciences, Engineering, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, MusicPhilosophy, and Physical Sciences, as well as our annual ‘Woolf Essay Prize’ with questions inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

This year, we are pleased to introduce two new essay prizes in Computer Science and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences.

Each of the Newnham Essay Prizes has a first prize of £400, a second prize of £200 and a third prize of £100.

We welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Each competition has a slightly different word limit, so please consult the questions and information sheet for each of the prizes. All essays must reference sources (including websites consulted) and provide a bibliography.

Students may only submit an essay for one subject. Each school may only submit 5 entries per subject.

The submission deadline for all entries is midday on Friday 8 March 2019.

Cover Sheet for all subjects

Not sure where to start? Take a look at our ‘2019 Hints and Tips For Aspiring Essayists’ guide, written by Newnham staff and students!

You can also read the 2018 winning entries for each subject.

If you have any questions, please email slo@newn.cam.ac.uk.

The Woolf Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

In 1928, Virginia Woolf addressed the Newnham Arts Society on the Subject of ‘Women and Fiction’, and from this talk emerged her seminal text, A Room of One’s Own. Newnham is very proud of its place in the history of women’s education, and we are delighted in the continuation of the Woolf Essay Prize. A Room of One’s Own raises a number of questions surrounding the place of women in society and culture, and the competition allows students to contemplate these themes and ideas while developing the independent research and writing skills essential to university-level study.

This prize may be of particular interest to those studying English Literature, History, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in ‘2018 Questions & Information’ above, which should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words (including footnotes and captions). All sources must be appropriately acknowledged and cited, and a bibliography – including websites consulted – should be attached (though excluded from the word count). Up to five entries may be submitted per school.

The winning entries from previous competitions can be found above and may be useful as you decide how to answer your chosen question. However, it is to be noted that there are many angles from which to approach each question and those available here are only a limited sample. Good essays will present a clear argument using specific examples, but outside of this many different approaches are welcome.

Winners of the Woolf Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Ariana Rubio
2nd Prize: Hollie Noble
Joint 3rd Prize: Naomi McKeown
Joint 3rd Prize: Clara Wittmann

Highly Commended

En-rei Soon
Jess Steadman

Commended

Lydia Fontes
Eleanor Grossel
Saira Nabi
Lottie Swainston

The Computer Science Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

The Computer Science Essay Prize is a new addition to our annual essay prizes. This prize may be of particular interest to those studying Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or Chemistry, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Winners of the Computer Science Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Chloe Wong
2nd Prize: Celeste à Brassard
3rd Prize: Verity Powell

The Engineering Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

Newnham is offering an annual prize for a submission on Engineering, intended to encourage students to think creatively about how some of the scientific knowledge gained at school may be applied in later life, in particular in industry, so as to improve matters (the aim of most engineers). The prize also aims to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students and those who teach them, and also to encourage more girls to study Engineering at University.

Winners of the Engineering Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Emma Allen
2nd Prize: Deborah Smith
3rd Prize: Natalie Tsang

Highly Commended

Sonya Kalsi
Ella Lord
Katie Young

Commended

Hannah Landsman
Katy Nicol
Clarissa Pereira
Dulcie Turner

The History Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

The Newnham History Essay Prize may be of particular interest to those studying History, Politics, English Literature, Philosophy or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in ‘2019 Questions and Information’.

Winners of the History Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Francoise Dyer
2nd Prize: Kirsty Tennant
Joint 3rd Prize: Ines Mubgar-Spencer
Joint 3rd Prize: Ava Smith

Highly Commended

Shaima Begum
Stella Horrell
Ruby Levy
Flora McIntyre

The Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

This prize may be of particular interest to those currently studying languages, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in the ‘2018 Questions and Information’. Essays should be written primarily in English.

Winners of the Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize 2019

Joint 1st Prize: Emily Coatsworth
Joint 1st Prize: Natasha Festenstein
2nd Prize: Giulia Moretti
3rd Prize: Katie Pruden

Highly Commended

Lucy Allan-Jones
Kitty Liu

Commended

Vidhi Kohli
Izzy Lepine
Niamh Sayers
Xyla Taufaniska

The Music Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

The Music Essay Prize is now in its second year. This prize may be of particular interest to those currently studying Music or History, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in the ‘2018 Questions and Information’.

Winners of the Music Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Jemma Jeffery
2nd Prize: Evie Press
3rd Prize: Ella Jackson

The Philosophy Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

The Newnham Philosophy Essay Prize is designed to give students the opportunity to think and write about philosophy and philosophical matters in the broadest sense, while developing their independent study and writing skills. This prize may be of particular interest to those either currently studying, or considering studying, Philosophy, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Winners of the Philosophy Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Sharon Chau


The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Essay Prize

2019 Questions & Information

The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Essay Prize is a new addition to our annual essay prizes. The prize may be of particular interest to those studying Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Winners of the Psychological & Behavioural Sciences Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Georgia Hewett
2nd Prize: Michi Aneez
3rd Prize: Melissa Adams

Highly Commended 

Kathryn Beck

The Weston-Smith Physical Sciences Essay Prize and The Biological Sciences Essay Prize

The Newnham Science Prizes may be of particular interest to those studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Geography but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit one response to either a Physical or Biological title.

The Physical Sciences Prize is kindly sponsored by Meg Weston-Smith, a scientist and author, who read Natural Sciences at Newnham.

2019 Questions & Information (Physical)

2019 Questions & Information (Biological)

Winners of the Weston-Smith Physical Sciences Essay Prize 2019

1st Prize: Holly MacDonald
Joint 2nd Prize: Shannon Clark
Joint 2nd Prize: Helena King

Highly Commended

Louise Blackman
Isabelle Goddard
Simran Iswaran
Olivia Sutton
Helen Underwood

Commended

Jennifer Hardwick
Rosa King
Madeleine Vince

Winners of the Biological Sciences Essay Prize 2019

Joint 1st Prize: Clodagh Bottomley
Joint 1st Prize: Alexandra O’Callaghan
Joint 3rd Prize: Catherine Coffey
Joint 3rd Prize: Isabella Woodward

Highly Commended

Madeleine Boardman
Siyuan Song