Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest

Submit your essay on this year's public affairs theme, The 21st Century Digital World  

Submission deadline is October 20, 2019.   

Fall 2019 will feature the fifth annual Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest. The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500, plus an additional $500 to be donated in the winner's name to the charity or non-profit of their choice.  The winning work will be published on the MSU Public Affairs website.  

New to fall 2019, the Political Science Department will sponsor a 2nd place prize of $300 and a 3rd place prize of $200 in the form of MSU Baker Bookstore gift cards!   

Please direct questions regarding the contest to the Office of Public Affairs Support at 417-836-8832 or PublicAffairs@MissouriState.edu

Call for Submissions

This contest is open to full-time sophomore, junior and senior level Missouri State University undergraduate students attending on the Springfield campus. Essays will address the 2019-20 public affairs theme, The 21st Century Digital World. Submissions may address the theme as a whole or an individual aspect of the theme.

All submissions are kept anonymous during judging. Names will be removed and replaced with an identifier prior to being submitted to the judging committee. The winner will be formally announced and presented at the Public Affairs Convocation, November 4, 2019 at J.K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.  


  • Essay must be the original work by the person submitting the essay.
  • Essays may be any length between 250 and 1500 words.
  • Submit a cover page that includes the following:
    • Your full name (kept anonymous during judging).
    • One to two sentence biographical statement about yourself, including your hometown.
    • List your academic year and interest of study or degree program and name of College.
    • What aspect of the theme your essay is addressing and the total word count.
    • The name of the charity or non-profit organization that you would choose to receive the cash award should you win the contest.
  • The judging committee will consider clarity, spelling, grammar, and mechanics, as well as the originality and compelling nature of idea(s).
  • Inclusion of evidence-based ideas is encouraged, but not required.

Entry Submission

  • Email your cover page and essay as one PDF document to PublicAffairs@MissouriState.edu
  • Deadline: Submissions must be emailed prior to midnight (11:59pm) on Sunday, October 20, 2019.

The 21st Century Digital World

Essays should address in general or a specific aspect the 2019-20 public affairs theme, The 21st Century Digital World. 
Digital technology has transformed the way we live, work and play. Technological innovations improve modern living for many and provide access to opportunities unprecedented in human history. But progress and innovation often come with a price.  While technological advances provide vast new resources, they also present obstacles that require careful attention. Social media platforms offer unparalleled connections...continue reading
Fall 2018 Winning Essay
Read Ms. Kimberly Korff's winning essay, The Power of Food in Social Unification.  Kimberly is a senior, majoring in Dietetics.
The Springfield Dream Center
A matching donation is provided on Ms. Korff's behalf to a charity or nonprofit of her choice.      

Picture features student essay winner, Kimberly Korff; Ms. Jody Dow, Director of Springfield Dream Center; Mr. Bob Reed and Larry Bradley of IDEAL; and members of MSU's Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity, Sean Lynch, Zach Mueller and Easton Haase. 

Contest Sponsorship

This contest is sponsored by the Institute for Development of Ethics And Leadership—IDEAL. IDEAL is a non-profit organization established by the alumni of the Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity at MSU with the mission to further the development of ethics and leadership in the men of the fraternity. Dr. Compton, a 1970 graduate of MSU, wanted IDEAL to support the Public Affairs mission of the University. He envisioned an essay contest as the vehicle for achieving that support. The conduct of the contest is a joint undertaking between the Alpha Rho Chapter, IDEAL, its alumni, and the faculty and staff of MSU.