MILWAUKEE, Wis. – University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly announced today the three undergraduate student winners of the fourth annual UW System Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition.  The competition, which was established to support and promote liberal education throughout the state’s public university system, invited students to discuss the ways that a liberal education prepares them to be more engaged and effective citizens at local, national, and global levels.

Three students have been honored for writing outstanding essays:

  • Lisa Braun, UW-Richland, for “A Vote for Understanding”
  • Melissa P. Hepokoski, UW-Superior, for “My Piece of the Web”
  • Gillian Stoddard Leatherberry, UW-Madison, for “The Spaces Between:  Liberal Arts and Citizenship.”

Winners each will receive a $2,000 scholarship to help fund the remainder of their undergraduate education.  Honorable mentions also were awarded to two writers:  K.R. Draeger, a student at UW-Green Bay, and Stephanie Wisnet, from UW-Milwaukee.

“The UW System Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition highlights for all of us the outstanding students we are privileged to educate at each of our institutions,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly.  “A total of 22 students from 12 UW institutions wrote essays this year, making the selection a truly difficult one.  The winning essays articulate creatively and insightfully how a liberal education provides students with the tools, skills, and habits of mind they need to be engaged and effective citizens, wherever they end up in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century.”

The Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition, which is funded by private funds, is sponsored by the UW System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts, comprised of faculty and deans from the System’s 26 institutions.  The competition is part of UW System’s Liberal Education Initiative, which seeks to spark public debate about the kinds of knowledge, skills, and values that are needed to prepare today’s students for their future roles as citizens.  For more information, visit

Media Contact

David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464