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Deadline: March 15

Don and Alleen Nilsen, professors of English at Arizona State University and co-founders of the International Society for Humor Studies established this award in 2011. This scholarship is given for the best humorous online presentation that teaches any aspect of language. In other words, the presentation should do more than just make an audience laugh: It should make an audience laugh while teaching them something about language.

The annual award competition is open to undergraduate students enrolled in an English degree program (see eligibility criteria below). Winning presentations may be posted on the Department of English website for viewing by the ASU community and scholars and teachers around the world.

The award amount, which may be split between multiple winners, is approximately $1,000 this year and will be awarded in the spring semester

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be an undergraduate with a declared major in English or Film and Media Studies (Tempe campus or ASU Online) in the Department of English, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or in Secondary Education (English) in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College;
  • Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher;
  • Be enrolled full-time at ASU during the semester in which the scholarship is distributed; and
  • Have completed a minimum of 15 hours coursework in the Department of English, which may include the hours in progress during the semester in which the applications are due.

Submission Guidelines

The scholarship requires that students submit a multimedia, online presentation using humor to teach about any aspect of language. Submissions may take the form of a narrated PowerPoint, YouTube video, guided Webquest, animated audiocast, or other digital presentation, and must be viewable online (you will submit your presentation URL). Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

(a) quality of presentation,
(b) success of the humor, and 
(c) clarity of the content taught.

Presentations should last approximately 5 minutes.

If a class project is submitted, all participants must approve the submission. A maximum of four authors will receive a share of the award and must meet all the specified criteria.

All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 15

Previous Recipients

2023-2024: Samuel Rich
2022-2023: Alissa Terry and Kristina Trojak
2021-2022: Sienna Blakely
2020-2021: Briana Bandy and Jeff Griggs
2019-2020: [No award given]
2018-2019: [No award given]
2017-2018: [No award given]
2016-2017: [No award given]
2015-2016: Annalea Fusci
2014-2014: Kali Lux (1st place); Michael Cohen (2nd place)
2013-2014: [No award given]
2012-2013: Steven Hopkins (graduate student); Christina Puglisi (undergraduate)
2011-2012: Charles T. Diab (undergraduate)