Write an essay, win up to $500!

First-year engineering students have the exclusive opportunity to write an essay on a topic in Born a Crime for a chance to win up to $500 through the Cooley Writing Contest!

Contest Description:

In his will, the late Dean Mortimer Cooley, a former Dean of the Engineering College, left funds to encourage students to explore non-technical fields to “develop, broaden, and enrich the Engineer’s education.” Dean Cooley’s funds support the Cooley Writing Contest, sponsored for currently enrolled undergraduates in Michigan Engineering.


  1. All engineering undergraduates enrolled for at least one term between January 2021 and January 2022 are eligible.
  2. A student may not submit a manuscript that has won a previous Cooley award.
  3. Students may not submit collaborations or translations
  4. Entries are limited to one per category
  5. If an entry receives a Cooley Award, the author must agree to indicate in a footnote or otherwise that this manuscript was granted a prize in the Cooley Writing Contest in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, and indicate the year of the award.

Start Writing!

We encourage first-year students to begin writing an essay soon after finishing Born a Crime this summer. Here are some topic/theme ideas to get you started:

  • Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty
  • Identity, Belonging, and Community
  • Love and Personal Growth
  • Resilience through Religion, Education, and Humor
  • (another theme of your choice)


Essays are due Friday, October 1st, 2021.


For additional information, contact Connie Hallom, (734) 764-1427 or challom@umich.edu