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About

From the founder:

My name is Meaghan Townsend, and I founded this contest with the support of the Harvard Office for Sustainability and its Student Grant Program.

​I teach 11th grade English in Dorchester, MA, and am earning my Master's from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. (I graduated Harvard College in May 2021, from the English department.)

​The idea for this contest emerged from a science fiction unit I ran this December. My juniors defined "sci fi" broadly: writing that addresses problems of science, technology, society, and environment.

Students chose from a fleet of current news articles addressing such issues—from rising incidence of natural disasters to the effect of caffeine on the teenage brain. Their task: to extrapolate their chosen problem into the future, and write a short story such that someone in the present is inspired to act differently.

The unit was a success, and I was struck by the clarity of students’ insights. I wondered aloud when I was an undergraduate about what made for effective climate writing. Now, given the opportunity, I am incentivizing its production with a contest for Harvard undergrads. We’ll see if you can top my juniors!

My hope is that this contest will inspire exceptional writing. I know how busy an undergraduate spring can be, but I believe that these questions are worth answering. I look forward to reading your entries alongside the judges.

Many thanks to the Office for Sustainability (where I worked as an undergrad), and the Harvard University Employees Credit Union, for their generosity and time in supporting the contest.

-Meaghan (meaghan.e.townsend@gmail.com)

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