Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest

2021-22 Essay Contest 

The fall semester features the seventh annual Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest.  Essays will address a general, or specific aspect, of the 2021-2022 public affairs theme, Bridging the Divide.

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 Missouri State University.  Their mission is to further the development of ethics and leadership in the men of the fraternity.

Prize Details

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. First place prize is provided by Sigma Pi alumni via the Institute for Development of Ethics and Leadership (IDEAL)

There will also be two, 2nd place $300 prizes and three, 3rd place $150 prizes.  These prizes are graciously funded by MSU's Political Science Department. 

Submission Requirements

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 2021-22 public affairs theme, Bridging the Divide. Submissions may address the theme as a whole or an individual aspect of the theme.

  • Essay must be the original work by the person submitting the essay and address an aspect of Bridging the Divide.
  • 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, and grammar 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 24, 2021.
  • 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(s) will be contacted and awarded in November.
Please direct questions regarding the contest to the Office of Public Affairs Support at 417-836-8832 or PublicAffairs@MissouriState.edu

1st Place Recipient: Congratulations to Veronica Jacobs!

The winning essay was submitted by Ms. Veronica Jacobs, a senior majoring in Anthropology with minors in French and Linguistics. A matching donation is provided on Ms. Jacob's behalf to a charity or nonprofit of her choice. Her donation was provided to Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.

Read the 2020 Winning Essay View the virtual award presentation 11-13-20


Pictured left to right is Daniel Gordon and Jackson Garrett, contest chairs from co-sponsor MSU Sigma Pi Fraternity, Alpha Rho Chapter, essay winner Veronica Jacobs, and Sigma Pi President, Peter Schiller.

2nd and 3rd Place Recipients: 

Dr. George Connor, MSU Political Science Department, sponsored the 2nd and 3rd place awards. Recipients were awarded MSU Bookstore gift cards of $300 and $200 respectively.

2nd place was awarded to Desiree Nixon's essay, a sophomore pursing a Journalism major with a minor in Political Science. 






Dr. George Connor and Desiree Nixon

3rd place was awarded to Cassidy Farrar's essay, a junior pursuing a degree in Intercultural Communication with a minor in English.​​​​​​​   






Dr. George Connor and Cassidy Farrar​​​​​​​