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Worthington Essay

2022 Essay Contest - Submit by 10/3! (See prompt below.)


In 2002, Plan II alumnus Roger Worthington (’80) provided funding for an annual essay prize in Plan II. Originally a single prize, Plan II now awards 3 prizes each year, including a first-year student prize. The essay topics have ranged from hypothetical scenarios to real-world events and always challenge students to form an argument on one side of a legal, medical, or ethical debate and present it convincingly. All current Plan II students are eligible to enter, and Plan II faculty members select the winning essays from among the submissions.

Grand Prize:  $5000
First-Year Prize: $3500 (best essay written by a first-year student)
Second Place Prize: $2500 

  • By the time it reached pandemic status in early 2031, the viral infection had acquired the nickname “SF,” for San Fernando, the area of Los Angeles where the first outbreaks had been noticed.

    As with HPV, SF affects people differently according to sex. People with XY chromosomes tend to be asymptomatic, or to have only mild symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress and headaches, whereas people with XX chromosomes often suffer more severe consequences, including liver and kidney damage.

    Regardless of biological sex or symptoms, simple blood tests can confirm whether someone carries the virus and is capable of spreading it. The virus has various avenues of transmission, but is most commonly spread through sexual contact. With contact tracing and genetic sequencing, it’s usually possible to determine specifically who infected whom.

    In 2033, a woman in Roanoke won a civil suit against the man who infected her. Several similar suits followed throughout the country, usually resulting in an award of financial damages. Now, the Vermont state legislature has introduced a bill that would require men to donate a kidney or a lobe of their liver to former sexual partners who have suffered organ damage from an SF infection.

    Under the new legislation, court-ordered organ donations would no doubt save the lives of many infected people. Opponents of the legislation, though, argue that it discriminates on the basis of sex, and that harvesting organs by statute is a violation of human rights.

    You are a legislative aid for a state senator in Texas. Though no bill has been introduced yet in your state, some constituents have begun to express opinions on the matter. Your boss, Senator Sing, appreciates your interdisciplinary educational background and your ability to organize your thoughts in writing. They have invited you to compose an essay discussing the merits of such a law, to help inform their eventual policy position. In approximately 1500 words, address the ethical dimensions of this issue, consider relevant precedents, and argue for or against a policy.

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2022 Entry Instructions

- Deadline:  MIDNIGHT, Monday, October 3, 2022 
- Submit your essay via file upload hereNO LATE ENTRIES.
- At the top of your essay, please include your full name, eid, and class year
- Submit your entry as a PDF file using the following filename format: 
- Students who receive financial aid should check with the UT Office of Student Financial Services to find out if winning a prize will affect their aid package.
- Questions or difficulty submitting? Email

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College of Liberal Arts

2021 Prize Winning Submissions - Wealth Inequality

Grand Prize: Mia Huo
First-Year Prize: Bianca Mora
Second Place Prize: Amara Kwiatkowski