Kristi Henderson
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Wichita senior wins Whitcomb essay prize

Wed, 05/29/2013

LAWRENCE — A senior’s essay on the disconnect between our way of eating and our way of life was chosen as the winner of the Philip W. Whitcomb Memorial Essay Prize at the University of Kansas.

Rebecca Mandelbaum of Wichita wrote the winning piece, called “The Carnivore’s Quandary: Connecting the Disconnect between Ideals and Diet.” She completed her bachelor’s degree in English this spring.

In the essay, Mandelbaum looks at her own decision to become a vegetarian as an opportunity to explore why, in a society so concerned with healthy lifestyles and environmental consciousness, so few Americans have opted to stop eating meat.

She will receive an award of $1,000, and her name will be added to the Whitcomb plaque in Nunemaker Center. She will also be honored at a reception in the fall.

The Philip W. Whitcomb Memorial Essay Contest has taken place annually since 1988. It is open to any undergraduate at KU. Past winners have come from engineering, English, philosophy, architectural engineering, anthropology, mathematics and other subject areas. Submitted essays are limited to 3,000 words and should address “the relationship of knowledge, thought and action in public affairs and public policy.”

The contest is in memory of Philip W. Whitcomb (1891-1986), who earned a doctorate in philosophy at age 89 at KU in 1981. A journalist by profession, his career as a European journalist spanned 64 years and 17 countries. As an Associated Press correspondent he covered both the first and the second World Wars. He was also a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, New York Tribune and Boston Evening Transcript. Upon his retirement from the Christian Science Monitor in 1978, he enrolled as a graduate student at KU.

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