Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest

2020 Contest Information

Fall 2020 will feature the sixth annual Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest. Essays should address in general, or a specific aspect, of the 2020-21 public affairs theme, the Power of Voice. ​​​​​​​

Submission deadline is October 18, 2020.   

Essay Theme:  The Power of Voice

In today’s world, we are bombarded with voices from all sides. The Internet, social media, television and the 24/7 news cycle offer a constant flow of information, ideas, opinions and widely divergent points of view. What effect do the myriad voices have on individuals, groups and society at large? How do people filter out the noise to find their own voice and be heard? What is the power of voice?...continue reading

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 2020-21 public affairs theme, the Power of Voice. 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.
  • 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 18, 2020.
  • 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 by October 30th and officially awarded in November.    

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).  

2nd place $300 prize and 3rd place $200 prize are funded by MSU's Political Science Department.     

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

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.

2019 Public Affairs Essay Contest

Congratulations to Hope Roozenboom! 

Essay's were submitted on topics related to the 2019 public affairs theme, The 21st Century Digital World.  Winning essay, Stewarding Digital Technology.  Hope is a junior, majoring in Hospitality Leadership. A matching donation is provided on Ms. Roozenboom's behalf to a charity or nonprofit of her choice.  She chose The Pregnancy Care Center.

Pictured is student essay winner, Hope Roozenboom; Representatives from the Pregnancy Care Center; Mr. Larry Bradley of IDEAL; and members of MSU's Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity. 

Thank you to MSU Political Science Department Head, Dr. George Connor, for sponsoring the 2nd and 3rd place prizes of MSU Bookstore gift cards of $300 and $200 respectively.  2nd place was awarded to Cole Howerton, History major and 3rd place to Courtney Fallon, senior Socio-Political Communication major.