The Charles H. Monson Essay Prize honors Charles H. Monson Jr., a distinguished member of the University Philosophy Department from 1958 to 1974. Professor Monson earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Utah and received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. During his years at the University, he served as chair of the Philosophy Department and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. He received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1970. In his honor, an annual prize is awarded to an undergraduate who writes an outstanding paper on a subject having to do with social change (the application includes submission of an original piece of work that is 5-20 pages in length).
2022 Monson Prize Awardee
Kassie John (Prof. Elpitha Tsoutsounakis)
DINÉ BIZAAD LANGUAGE CUBES: EXAMINING THE REFORMATION OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE PRESERVATION
Language is key to understanding cultural values and imperative sustaining a community’s cultural identity. Diné Bizaad Language Cubes explore ways to redesign how the Diné language is taught and preserved for my Diné. This design research project was an opportunity to ‘protect’ my Indigeneity (ways I identify as an Indigenous person) and to help ‘contain’ the Diné language for future generations to come. Diné Bizaad Sound Cubes is a tool for Diné youth and their communities to initiate their own “play” while aiding in the development of initial phonemes with Diné Bizaad pronunciation, reclaiming our pre-colonial ways of language acquisition through oral teachings.
2021 Monson Prize Awardees
My research tackles the inequities that immigrants and refugees face with accessing information about sexuality. I compiled personal definitions of sexuality topics and artwork from the kids at Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center into a Zine to be printed and distributed to the kids, SNC, and local libraries. Not only does the Zine include concepts explained by the kids themselves, but it prompts the youth to look further into sexuality topics. This project is a collaborative effort between the students and myself to produce a piece of work that will be shared with their peers. It will expand the knowledge around sexuality to kids that are not part of our program and incite social justice.
National Parks are commonly positioned as the peak of “wilderness” conservation. However, they fail to acknowledge their violent histories of colonialism and imperialism on Indigneous peoples. Consequently, western models of land management and conservation are based upon principles of colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy, rather than place-based frameworks that are characteristic of Indigenous worldviews. This research concludes by presenting National Parks as central in Indigenous efforts toward decolonizing the settler, capitalistic views of environmental conservation and contemporary land management through actionable decolonial measures.
Past Monson Prize Awardees
“A sociocultural approach to addressing the rising stress and anxiety levels involves shifting current attitudes towards mental health. Just because mental health is invisible to the human eye does not mean it contributes any less to one’s overall health and wellbeing than physical health does. Instead of mental health being an uncomfortable and largely avoided topic of conversation, it should be widely normalized, encouraged and prioritized just as much just as much P.E. classes and gym outings prioritize physical health. The educational system could make a major sociocultural impact on future generations of kids equipping them with healthy behavior skills that can be used as lifelong tools.”
“The results of this research may have long-term implications on both psychiatric treatment options for veterans with PTSD and the policies and procedures for reintegrating military personnel back into civilian life. Additionally, by increasing our understanding of mental illness it helps to destigmatize these conditions. The study of how mental illness is acknowledged and treated in non-western cultures could provide a novel approach to our understanding of mental health problems.”
Jasmine Robinson (Prof. David Derezotes)
The Black Perspective: Historical and Structural Violence to the Black Community
Rebecca Higham (Prof. Akiko Kamimura)
Stress Management Classes for Uninsured Free Clinic Patients in the United States
Kai Sin (Prof. Akiko Kamimura)
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes among refugees in the USA
Kyle Criddle (Prof. Leslie Francis)
Feasibility of the Lake Powell Pipeline Development Act and Proposed Water Conservation Alternatives
Colette Ankenman (Prof. Marissa Diener)
Understanding youth educational and occupational goals in after school programs
David X. Elwell
Osmotic power generation using natural salinity gradient in Great Salt Lake
Accessibility to HIV/AIDS medications in resource-limited countries
Laurel L. Baeder
WWW.ENGL.ISH: The effect of internationalized domain names on web content and design
Recreational re-creating: A cultural critique of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides
Leonel Nieto (Prof. Julie Stewart)
Susan Akok (Prof. Kim Korinek)
Are there barriers to basic prenatal care in refugee communities? A case study of Sudanese women in Salt Lake City