English Studies Scholarships and Awards

English writing award recipients 2024

The department of English Studies is very proud to offer a range of scholarships and awards to qualified students. These scholarships and awards recognize and support the hard work and talent of our students across all concentrations. All English Studies majors who meet the criteria are automatically entered for consideration by English Studies faculty, and students will be notified when they have been selected or if more application materials are required. 

Two of these awards are creative writing contests–Louis P. Shepherd Creative Writing Award and the Matti Antila Poetry Award–are open to all students on campus. The campus will be notified when applications for those awards open each spring.


Colin Bourn '63 English Scholarship ($1500)

The Colin Bourn Scholarship is awarded to a qualified undergraduate English major demonstrating academic excellence.

Louis Shepherd Memorial Scholarship ($1000)

The Louis P. Shepherd Memorial Scholarship Award is presented to three qualified students who demonstrate outstanding performance in the Middle and Secondary Education or Professional Writing concentrations in English Studies. The scholarship was created by friends, family, and students in honor of Dr. Louis Shepherd, a dedicated professor of English at Fitchburg State (1952-1985). The prize is made possible by the Ruth and Louis Shepherd Fund for Teaching and Writing.

Patricia A. Hess Memorial Scholarship ($500)

The Patricia A. Hess Scholarship is awarded to a non-traditional female student. The candidate must be an undergraduate English Studies and/or History major with at least 30 earned credits.

Robert E. Cormier Memorial Scholarship ($500)

The Robert E. Cormier Scholarship in Literature for Young Adults is intended to promote excellence in the study and teaching of literature. The scholarship is awarded to one English Studies juniors demonstrating excellence in either the Secondary Education or Literature concentration. The award commemorates Robert E. Cormier, a premier writer of young adult literature and the author of such classic American novels as The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese.

Department of English Studies Scholarship ($250)

The English Studies Department Scholarship is awarded to deserving a student for their promise in the discipline and demonstrated love of literature.

Leo J. Hines Memorial Scholarship ($100)

The Leo J. Hines Memorial Scholarship was established in honor of Leo J. Hines, a professor of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1969-1988). The Award is presented to a student demonstrating academic excellence, who can "exemplify some of the zeal of Chaucer's Oxford Clerk, who took most care and heed of study, as well as the distinction of Castiglione's Courtier, who possessed courtesy of behavior, excellence in discourse, and wit and vitality in both speech and action."


Dr. Nancy R. Kelly '80 Memorial Award ($800)

The Dr. Nancy R. Kelly ’80 Memorial Award is given to an English Studies Middle and Secondary Education graduating senior who demonstrates persistence, determination, empathy, and promise as a future English educator. The student must also have done meaningful community service. Recipients must hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Louis P. Shepherd Creative Writing Award ($50 bookstore gift card per five winners)

The Shepherd Award in Creative Writing is named in honor of the late Louis P. Shepherd, a longtime English professor at Fitchburg State. Funding for the award is made possible through a gift from Professor Shepherd’s wife, Ruth, and his daughter, Rae Shepherd-Shlechter. To apply, students of any major can apply by submitting one nonfiction essay or short story. Annual contest held in the spring semester.

Matti Antila Poetry Award ($50 bookstore gift cared per two winners)

The Matti N. Antila Poetry Award is funded by Lauri and Signe Sipila in memory of Signe's parents, Matti N. and Fanny P. Antila. Students of any major can apply by submitting 5-7 of their best poems. Annual contest held in the Spring semester.

English Studies Prize ($100)

The English Department Prize is given to an outstanding senior who has demonstrated/accomplished the following:

  • Excellent academic performance
  • Superb scholarly skills
  • A high grade point average
  • A love of literature
  • Significant community contributions to the English Studies Department

High School Writing Contest

The English Studies department hosts an annual high school writing competition open to regional schools. Student essays are due in late January with the essay topic announced in October. Please contact Dr. Wendy Keyser for further details on the contest.

See some photos from our recent English Studies Writing Awards ceremony

English Writing Awards male student and professor in President's Hall