For the past 12 years, the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin has distributed the Iwanter Prize, established by Sidney Iwanter (’71), who has made a career in television. According to the Wisc News release,
The Iwanter Prize provides an unrestricted $2,000 to a graduating senior who, through a senior thesis and general academic distinction, demonstrates outstanding writing skills and humanities-based scholarship of a broad and interdisciplinary nature.
This year’s winner is Jamie Stark, a good friend of ours here at North Park Street, and I’d like to give him a huge shoutout for this honor. His senior thesis covered the fallout from Wikileaks releasing a trove of US diplomatic cables in early 2010 and 2011.
Lew Friedland, professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and one of Stark’s advisors, said “The WikiLeaks Club,” was the best senior thesis he had read in seven years, both for its systematic analysis of events and its thoughtful treatment of the ethical dilemmas involved.
I asked Mr. Stark about his reaction to the award,
The Iwanter Prize is an enormous honor, and it’s inspired me to pursue writing further. Hopefully I’ll be able to work toward a book in the next few years, even if only my dog reads it. It’s encouraging to have at least a few people like what I wrote.
As for next steps, Mr. Stark’s immediate future, like our own Kate Fifield‘s, involves teaching in an under-served middle school classroom through Teach For America. Although I do not know his plans after TFA, I look forward to – along with his dog – reading about it.