Ethics and Dystopian Novels the Subject of Carlow University Essay Contest

Carlow’s Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics Offers Cash Prizes to High School Students for essay contest.

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Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics Offers Cash Prizes to High School Students

Pittsburgh, Pa. – High school juniors and seniors who are fans of dystopian novels – like The Hunger Games – can win a cash prize if their essay is chosen as one of the top three essays in a contest sponsored by the Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics at Carlow University.

“Dystopian fiction is the depiction of an oppressive or degraded future society.  We are often urged to learn from the past, but can we learn from the future?” asked William Schweers, JD, the inaugural executive director of the Atkins Center.  “Dystopian novels warn of a grim future.  By warning of dangerous possibilities, dystopian fiction asks the reader to explore and question their moral values.”

In addition to The Hunger Games, examples of dystopian fiction include Brave New World, 1984, The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Fahrenheit 451, to name just a few.

All essays should specifically address the essay topic – Bleak New World – Ethics and the Dystopian Novel – in an articulate, clear, and organized manner.  Essays should be the independent work of the student, 600 to 800 words in length, and submitted in a Microsoft Word document to

Essays will be judged on the basis of a thorough and well-organized response to the prompt and the ability to explore and discuss the ideas and ethical concepts that support the writer’s position.  No particular ethical perspective will be imposed on the entrants, so students should feel free to express themselves freely.

Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:

1st Place – $600

2nd Place  – $300

3rd Place – $100.

All students’ entries will be judged by the committee solely on the basis of merit, and no additional commitment is required.

For questions or more information, please email


About the Atkins Center

Carlow University has established the Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics, a new initiative made possible through a gift from Michele Atkins, a Carlow alumna, and her husband, Patrick Atkins, PhD.  The goal of the center is to develop student leaders and to promote civil discourse on moral and social issues facing out country and the world today.

About Carlow University

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curricula, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in three colleges: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, and Learning and Innovation. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Carlow’s 13 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

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