The Atkins Center for Ethics at Carlow University sponsors an annual essay contest for high school students. Essay topics focus on an issue of ethical concern for our country and the world.

2020-21 Essay Contest Winners

Topic: “Who Goes First? Making Hard Decisions in an Unequal World”

Geina Shaker, Greater Latrobe High School, class of 2022
Isaac Krom, Greater Latrobe High School, class of 2022
Abigail Hakas, Homeschooled, class of 2021

Contest rules

The essay contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 11 or 12.

  • Essay must be 800-1200 words in length, not including citations & bibliography
  • Student must respond to the topic questions in an articulate, clear & organized manner
  • Essay must be the independent work of the student
  • Essay must be submitted as a PDF or Microsoft Word document


Essays will be judged on the basis of:

  • a thorough and well-organized response to the prompt
  • the ability to explore and discuss the ideas and ethical concepts that support his/her position

No particular ethical perspective will be imposed on the entrants. Students are encouraged to express themselves freely.

Judging will be conducted in two stages (1) initial screening of submissions that all rules are met and selecting the top 20 essays, (2) judging the top 20 essays by a committee of Carlow faculty members.


A first, second and third place winner are awarded cash prizes. Prizes will be awarded by the committee solely on the basis of merit. No additional commitment is required.

Contact Atkins Center for Ethics

For information on this year’s essay contest or general questions, contact us! 

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