Penn Student Receives Distinction for Publishing in a Penn Undergraduate Journal


PHILADELPHIA, PA - April 30, 2019 - The Critical Writing Program of the University of Pennsylvania is proud to announce this year’s winner of The Samuel P. and Ida S. Mandell Prize for Best Critical Writing Publication in a Penn Undergraduate Journal.

This prize is given to a Penn undergraduate who has published an outstanding source-based, sustained academic argument or explanation in one of Penn’s many undergraduate academic journals, annually published in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and business.

This year’s winner is Qingyang (Freya) Zhou, who published “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai: Interactions between the Chinese and the Jewish Refugees in Shanghai During World War II” in the Penn History Review 25:2 (2018): 50-88. Zhou’s article tells the story of nearly 20,000 Central and Eastern European Jews who, escaping persecution from 1933 to 1950, fled to Shanghai, living in an area of the city smaller than one square mile, alongside 100,000 Chinese citizens.

Valerie Ross, Director of the Critical Writing Program, notes, “This was a very challenging competition, with such an abundance of high-quality work being featured by our undergraduate journals. The editors of these publications, as well as their contributors, deserve our congratulations for the outstanding, and demanding, work that they do. Ross adds, “The judges should also be recognized for their substantial contribution to this prize, which involves reading and considering all of the articles published by over 15 on-campus academic journals, and of course to all who contribute to the development of these remarkable young writers. Finally, our deepest appreciation to the Mandells for their longstanding, generous support of our student writers.”

A beautifully written and significantly inventive piece of first-class history, Zhou’s essay impressed the committee with its thoughtful analysis and engaging portrayal of individual agents in this story of two distinct populations intermixing in China. Zhou, who received an award of $750 for this prize, expresses her appreciation for the award, and adds, “The Mandell prize will greatly encourage me to pursue an academic career in the future.”

Four senior members of the Critical Writing Faculty served as judges for this award: Dr. Sara Byala, Dr. Fayyaz Vellani, Dr. Aurora MacRae-Crerar, and Committee Chair, Dr. Adam Mohr.

Zhou, the Mandell Committee, and her writing professor, Dr. Jacqui Sadashige, will be recognized during a luncheon in their honor on Friday, May 3rd at Pattaya Thai in University City.

For more information on The Critical Writing Program:

For more information on the Mandell Prize:

Contact: Dr. Valerie Ross, Director
Critical Writing Program
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 573-2927


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