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, firstname.lastname@example.org / 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
- The Townsend Outstanding Communication in Agriculture Competition is open to full-time undergraduate students in good academic standing in the Purdue University College of Agriculture.
- This year, up to six contestants will receive a $1,000 award. Cash awards listed are minus any outstanding Purdue University tuition or fees.
- Submissions should be original work developed by the contestant within the last academic year (since June 1, 2020).
- Writing and presentational speaking submissions must be non-technical and understandable to general audiences. There is no entry fee; one entry is allowed per contestant in either the writing or presentational speaking category.
- Students must work individually; team entries are not allowed.
- For work that has been published, contestants must submit a draft that reflects only their own writing and editing - professionally edited or produced entries are not allowed.
- To submit an entry, first complete the Writing Entry or Presentation Entry form. The submission deadline is 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 7.
- Late entries will not be accepted. Entries may not be revised after submission.
- Submissions will be blind-reviewed by our judges.
- To avoid disqualification, submissions must conform to the instructions and rules provided here.
- Winners and their winning entries may be featured on the Townsend Outstanding Communication in Agriculture webpage and featured in College of Agriculture curricula and publications.
Guidelines for Writing Entries
- Your writing entry must be submitted as a Word document.
- Double-space entries and use 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font with one-inch margins.
- You must include a cover page that lists your name, major, email address, and title of your submission. Repeat the title only at the top of the second page, centered above the beginning of your text. Do not list your name in your submission anywhere other than the cover page. Once entries are received, the cover page will be removed to maintain anonymity. Entries will undergo blind review (the judges will not know the names of contest participants).
- Make sure your entry is between 500 and 1,200 words. Concise submissions are strongly encouraged.
- Include a "References" page at the end of your submission formatted according to APA style.
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
- Entries may be produced in an online format of the student's choice. Entries should include a video, a narrated photo slideshow, or a narrated PowerPoint or Prezi presentation. Other formats are acceptable as long as they are accessible to a general audience. The student should have played the primary role in the creative aspects of the production. All narration should have been performed by the student and will use a rubric when evaluating each entries..
- The entry must include a "References" slide (see example slide) or segment at the end that includes references on which facts in the presentation are based. References should be formatted according to APA style.
- Time limit for presentation is minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 minutes.
- Photographs and other graphics help build audience interest in your presentation. When using such images, it's important to make sure they are yours, you have permission to use them, or they are in the public domain, which means they can be used freely by anyone. Find more information on finding and using photos for your presentation.
Competition Supervisor and Contact
Dr. Mark Tucker, email@example.com