Sixth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest results

Author: Sarah Cahalan '14

Through the personal professional upheavals of postgraduate life, a surprising constant — listening to a 19th-century composer at the beach — keeps life steady. That's the premise of "Mendelssohn on the beach" by Edward Jacobson '13, which won first place in this magazine's sixth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest.

Editors spent a day reading the entries in the 2018 contest and selected the winners after follow-up readings and discussions. The names of the authors were not attached to the essays and were not revealed until after the winning entries were chosen.

Jacobson's first-place essay and two second-place essays written by Gretel Kauffman and Rachel Plassmeyer Bené appear in this issue’s CrossCurrents section. The five honorable-mention essays were published at in early 2019.

The winning 2018 contest essays and their authors:

First place ($500 prize):

"Mendelssohn on the beach," Edward Jacobson '13

Second places ($250 prize):

"Rodent," Gretel Kauffman '16

"I just happened to be there," Rachel Plassmeyer Bené '10

Honorable mentions ($50 prize):

"Playspace," Laura Andrews '10

"Wherever we are," Jacqueline Cassidy '15, '16MSM

"A love letter to the internet," Johanna Kirsch Wilson '10

"Summer magic," Victoria McQuarrie '12

"Father-daughter time," Stephanie Nguyen '09