Townsend Communication in Agriculture Competition

Professionals in science and agriculture must be able to write and speak effectively about their disciplines with non-experts and members of the public. Why not sharpen your communication skills and perhaps win a handsome cash prize by participating in the Townsend Outstanding Communication in Agriculture Competition?

Through a gift from the Townsend family, the College of Agriculture will award up to six Townsend Outstanding Communication Awards for the 2020-21 academic year to undergraduate students. Recipients will receive a $1,000 award and be featured on our Townsend webpage.

This competition is meant to be educational and fun. It's a way for you to enter your creative work in a competition that values and rewards professional communication about food, agriculture, or the environment.

Instructions for the 2021 Writing and Presentational Speaking competition entries appear below.

What qualifies as an acceptable entry?

The Townsend Outstanding Communication in Agriculture Competition seeks entries in writing or presentational speaking from undergraduate students in the College of Agriculture. Your entry should have been created in the past academic year (since June 1, 2020). It could be a piece of writing or a recorded multimedia presentation you developed for a class or internship. We are also interested in creative works you developed for your own use. You certainly may also develop an entry specifically for this competition.

Am I eligible to enter the competition?

Eligible competition participants must have been full-time students in the College of Agriculture during the past academic year (either in residence or fully online) and must be pre-registered as full-time students in the College of Agriculture for fall 2021.

What are the judges looking for?

You may submit one creative entry in either writing or presentational speaking. Click here for more details about each category. We can accept entries from individuals only (no group entries). Entries will be judged through a blind-review process.

How do I submit an entry, and when is it due?

Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 7, 2021, First, complete this registration form for either the >Writing Entry or Presentation Entry. After you do, you will receive an email and a link where you can upload your entry.

Questions? Contact Dr. Mark Tucker, matucker@purdue.edu / 765-494-8429

2021 Instructions and Rules

Please review all of the instructions below when preparing your writing or presentational speaking entry for submission. Guidelines at the bottom of this document apply to all entries.

General Guidelines for Both Writing and Presentational Speaking Entries

Guidelines for Writing Entries
Entry Preparation

Developing a Winning Entry

The best writing entries are those that crisply address an interesting or compelling topic related broadly to food, agriculture, or the environment. A strong entry will exhibit originality, unique expression, accuracy, and "brightness." Finally, entries should be written for, and easily understandable, to a non-technical audience.

When selecting and preparing your entry, consider how it addresses the seven criteria contained in this Writing Rubric. Competitive entries will score high on all or most of the criteria.

Advice from our Writing Judges

Advice from our judges in past years reveals that they like a creative and compelling introduction, but it needs to get to the point quickly. As one judge said, "If I get beyond the first paragraph and don't know why I'm reading, that's a problem."

Judges also said they liked concise, focused entries that told a story rather than broad or general discussions. They recommended that writers visit the Purdue Writing Lab for a consultation before submitting their entries into the competition. The lab is free and can help improve your submission and your writing.

Guidelines for Presentational Speaking Entries

Entry Preparation

Competition Supervisor and Contact

Dr. Mark Tucker, matucker@purdue.edu / 765-494-8429