Showker Prize Plans Adjusted to Accommodate COVID-19

Bridgewater College Students’ Submissions for the Showker Prize Will be Virtual in 2021

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Photo by Bridgewater College website

Class of 2020 Showker Prize contestant, Anh Nguyen. A Ted Talk style presentation will make the Showker Prize different this year than it has been in the past.

Cassidy Wagoner, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – The annual Showker Prize, which offers Bridgewater College students a $5,000 cash prize award, will be a virtual competition in 2021. The cash prize is supported by the Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership.  

The Showker Prize is focused on solving a problem or an issue. The multi-disciplinary teams of students are made up of at least five individuals, but no more than ten, representing at least three different majors. 

The teams pitch their solutions to an alumni panel who will judge the work and choose a winner. 

“The real gift of the Showker Prize is the experience with leadership development, working with a team, and solving problems,” said Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Zane Showker Institute Dr. Randall Young. “It is an extraordinary job-builder resumé.” 

The last day to register was October 16, but with only two teams registered, Young has extended the deadline until the end of the month. 

“For me, being part of a showker prize group allows me to be part of something bigger than just myself and gives me the opportunity to work on a problem that will affect many people,” said sophomore Katelyn Dear. “The Showker prize competition forces me to think critically and to think in terms bigger than just here and now.” 

This year everything is being done virtually through a video recording or Zoom. The focus of this year’s Showker Prize presentations is to create a TED-like talk, whereas in previous years, students made a robust website with information. They also put together a presentation and presented it to the alumni panel. 

With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, students have been given a safer and more rapid way of submitting their projects, without having to come in contact with anyone but their group. 

“Planning for the future is difficult right now; students are having a hard time fathoming a year-long project,” said Young. “Getting people excited where the payoff is eight months away, and being able to figure out a problem, is difficult.” 

The Showker Prize offers many advantages to students from a monetary prize to experience to additions to a resume. Many other similar opportunities were cancelled or postponed this year because of the pandemic. 

“It is important to have this opportunity this year because it creates a sense of normalcy, and is just an important thing for student development,” said Young. “The Showker Prize is the best engagement opportunity out there.”  

To find out more about the Showker Prize, and how to register, visit the website.