Michael Penn wins awards in national writing competition

Michael Penn of the CALS communication team won one writing award and shared in another in competition sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Penn’s awards were for articles published in On Wisconsin, the UW-Madison’s quarterly alumni magazine. Penn was a senior editor for On Wisconsin before coming to CALS in January.

Penn’s story about professor Yoshi Kawaoka and the challenges of faculty retention earned a silver award in the Best Articles of the Year category in the 2007 CASE Circle of Excellence competition.

Penn also shares in a grand gold medal won by On Wisconsin in the CASE Periodicals Staff Writing for External Audiences category. The On Wisconsin entry for this category included five stories. Three of the five were written by Penn: the Yoshi Kawaoka story; another, The Year of Unfortunate Events, explored the university’s eroding relationship with the state legislature; a third, The Life of Pie, looked at the history of the campus’s favorite sweet treat — fudge-bottom pie.

The staff writing category received 53 entries from around the country this year, including a number from the some of the nation’s top-tier universities. The judges conferred two bronze medals, two silver medals and two gold medals. On Wisconsin was the only magazine selected to receive the grand gold.

According to the CASE awards competition coordinator, “A grand gold medal is given when the judges feel that an entry is head and shoulders above any of the other entries received in a category.”

Penn is now developing a new four-color magazine for alumni and friends of the college. The first issue will be published in the fall of 2007.