2020 Strasser Prize Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Strasser Writing Prize competition!  We have one first place winner, and two runners-up.

1st Place:

Talia Zelle
“Created Languages in Speculative Fiction: Humane Language in Babel-17 and Understand”

Runners Up:

Elena Mieszczanski
“Chariclea: Both Black and White”

Benjamin Blitz
“Effect of Parenting Styles on Child Well-Being: An Overview and Critique”

Weekly Contest Winners Spotlight!

Since the beginning of the Digital Townhouse Project, we’ve had several different weekly contests going on, and I just wanted to take a minute to honor all the winners of the past weekly contests!

First up, we have the winner of our final weekly contest (who has not yet been announced): Jared Bulla with his re-creation of “The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries” as seen below. The winning nomination for Professor Kung’s re-creation is Johannes Vermeer’s The Astronomer!

The next winner was Matthew Obserstaedt with the following short story:

One otherwise inconspicuous Wednesday, Jacky is cleaning out her childhood bedroom. She’s basically just throwing all her childhood memories into a big black trash bag, because, you know, who needs them anymore when you’re in college, right? So in go her beloved stuffed animals, her soccer trophies, her prom photos, and so on. But then, she comes across something really, really sentimental for her – a self-portrait her grandmother had painted just before her death. Jacky feels a tear come to her eye, then wipes it away, shrugs, and throws the painting out.

Ha! I bet you, the ignorant reader, thought that portrait was going to be the thing that changed Jacky’s life, right? Nope! I just totally subverted your expectations, and I feel pretty darn good about it, too!

Anyway, once she throws away the portrait, Jacky comes upon a portal to another dimension that she had made as a kid and forgotten about. Then she enters it and I guess some kind of life changing experience happens in there. Not sure what exactly; I didn’t come up with the specifics. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway, it inspires her to become an animal rights activist or something else cool like that.

The following winner was Ethan Goldblatt with this limerick:

There once was a digger named Gary
who most people found quite scary
but if you’d go and check-in
he’d greet you with a grin
then you’d be the next one that he’d bury.

The following winner was two-fold! Both Sara Iagnemma and Matthew Oberstaedt won the UHP mascot contest, as seen below:

Sara Iagnemma:

Sara’s mascot is the UHP Raven, because they’re both some of the smartest animals on the planet as well as omnivores!

Matthew Oberstaedt:

Matthew’s was, well, as follows:

“Meet the new UHP Mascot: Brainy McBrainface! Brainy is a walking, talking, personified brain, and they are, like, totally jacked from flexing all that intellectual muscle UHPers are famous for. Brainy can usually been lifting weights with one arm and a beaker in the other, demonstrating the careful balance between taking care of one’s body and mind. Brainy has a big, goofy laugh that annoys pretty much everyone, but is endearing to the right people, and they can’t shut up about politics! Brainy’s spinal cord is basically their body. They typically wear shorts, a graduation cap, and shoes… BUT NO SHIRT, because, I repeat, they’re totally jacked.”

And finally, we have our first winner of them all: the virtual learning meme contest! This victory went to Hannah DelVecchio with the following meme:

Riddle of the Day 5/1


To most, I am a mystery
Hidden ‘tween H and G
Bring your vessels unto me
And to you I’ll spill my Tea.
What am I?


The correct answer to yesterday’s riddle (a J.R.R. Tolkien original) was FISHES, which was gotten first by Jared Bulla. The most creative answer goes to Sydni Nadler with “a knight in (quiet) shining armor.” Congrats to you both!

This will also be the last riddle of the semester, as we’re getting into the final stretch of things! Thanks for playing along everyone!!

Riddle of the Day 4/29


In permanence, I am murderous
But avoiding me oft’ brings headache.
I can bring refreshment splendiferous
But precious time it will take.
What am I?


A mesh with empty space beneath,
A cone inside is hidden.
I scream and shout but have no teeth,
At times I am forbidden.

(courtesy of u/blended_lemon)

The correct answer to this was “speaker,” which was gotten by Cindy Y, and the most creative incorrect answer goes to Jared Bulla with the subconscious! Congratulations to you both!!

Riddle of the Day 4/28


A mesh with empty space beneath,
A cone inside is hidden.
I scream and shout but have no teeth,
At times I am forbidden.


Yesterday’s riddle was as follows:

I stand with my twin,
A stone in our throats.
You behold us both
In our shiny red coats.

(courtesy of Reddit user u/nogudatmaff)

The correct answer was CHERRIES! (Often in pairs, pit in the middle, shiny red coats)! No one got that though– so we’ve got two incorrect answers to award. One goes to Ethan Goldblatt with kidneys, and the other goes to Jared Bulla with “Looking down at your red boots on the pavement.” Congratulations to you both!

Riddle of the Day 4/27


I stand with my twin,
A stone in our throats.
You behold us both
In our shiny red coats.


No one got the correct answer last week– so we’re going to have to award two creative ones! The correct answer was “the tongue.” (what tastes better than it smells?). We’re giving tokens to Bri Mirabile for “sweet victory” (with a delightful spongebob reference) and Cindy Y. with durian. Congratulations to you both!

Riddle of the Day 4/21


As a stone inside a tree,
I’ll help your words outlive thee.
But if you push me as I stand,
the more I move the less I am.


I live for but a single breath.
Any touch could spell my death.
A rainbow spins within my eye.
Make me right, and I can fly.

The correct answer was bubble! Congratulations to Cindy Y once again on getting that right first. The most creative incorrect answer goes to Bri Mirabile with a fly born without an exoskeleton.

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