A ZJUI freshman was awarded the Winner of UIUC Rhetoric Student Essay Contest


Recently, Mr. FANG Junzhou (‘26, Computer Engineering), participated in the Fall 2021 UIUC Rhetoric Student Essay Contest with native speakers and was eventually selected as one of the Winner of the contest with his fascinating writing style, rigorous logical argumentation and excellent essay organization.

It is reported that UIUC Rhetoric Student Essay Contest is based on its general writing course for the whole students who participate in the Rhetoric Program (RHET), and there are only 10~20 winners which are selected by experts of each semester. Essays of the winners may be published in the UIUC textbook I Write: A Writing Guide for the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program at the University of Illinois.


▲ FANG Junzhou

“To be honest, the reason I took part in the contest was when I submitted the essay as an assignment, Professor Mary Hays insisted me to post the essay to the contest in her feedback.” FANG Junzhou talked about his experience of taking the competition. According to FANG, his entry named “Photographs Taken in My Writing Life” and was actually the first writing project after he entered ZJUI. It was applauded by Professor Mary. Thinking of having a try, he submitted his composition after polishing. In the essay he recalled his writing journey from primary school to university, talking about different characteristics and meanings of these time periods, and ended by his understanding of academic writing in university.

“That was why I was quite surprised when UIUC sent me a congratulation email several months later. To me, the contest is a kind of encouragement, making me be more confident to express my ideas in English. Meanwhile, I want to deliver my sincere gratitude to Professor Mary, a kind lady who reads my essays carefully and provides the most detailed feedback.” FANG said.


▲ Prof. Mary's Rhetoric Classroom

Mary Lucille Hays, ZJUI Adjunct Faculty Professor and UIUC Senior Lecturer, was thrilled but not surprised when she heard her student declared a winner of the Fall 2021 Rhetoric Essay Contest. She congratulated FANG Junzhou on his excellent work last semester and looked forward to his future success. Mary commented that “FANG used a lovely visual metaphor as a framework, which was echoed in his title: ‘Photographs Taken in My Writing Life.’ He said his journey started ‘with creativity, strengthened by templates and rules, and eventually formed a mature thinking pattern.’ At the beginning of the essay, he made his readers hunger for more, and then satisfied that hunger with continuous in-depth analysis, more of his apt metaphors, and a description of his growth from a student who ‘despised’ the structures and templates for writing, to a mature student who could see some benefits from these writing patterns and ‘found that there was still some room for creativity.’” One of FANG’s most stunning sentences was,I believed that those writing templates are bones to a person, and my personal ideas are flesh and blood. Bones support the whole body, while blood and flesh make the person vital. A good piece of writing, like a real person, needs both.

When it comes to the course Rhetorical Writing, FANG claimed that although Rhetorical Writing mainly talks about writing skills like citing, summarizing, and analyzing, it actually shows us multiple ideas and logics. “For example, the course emphasized on format of citation, spending much of time talking about work cited page. It was conveying an idea that we should respect other’s works and avoid plagiarism.” Fang explained and added, “When learning Toulmin Analysis to understand articles, we would gradually apply the method to our own essays to make them more logical.”

Translator:XU Jiawen