FLOW Launches Pauline Usher Lampkin Scholarship Competition in Science Writing and Poetry

Pauline Usher Lampkin was a dedicated forensics-science teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory High School, poet, and member of FLOW. She passed in 2016, but her dedication to her students and her art lives on.

Pauline Usher Lampkin was a dedicated forensics-science teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory High School, poet, and member of FLOW. She passed in 2016, but her dedication to her students and her art lives on.

Pauline Usher Lampkin College Scholarships: Poetry and Science Writing Competition

Background and Guidelines


For Love of Writing (FLOW) is a writing, literary advocacy, and professional development group for which Pauline Usher Lampkin was a dedicated member. As a close-knit group, we’ve shared all the things important to us, from our writing, to our families, to other endeavors. And, for Pauline, everyone knew of her relentless dedication to her crafts (both writing and teaching), to her family, and to her students at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory High School. Therefore, when Pauline passed away in 2016, we (Pauline’s FLOW sisters) wanted to honor our commitment to support the academic efforts of youth while also commemorating Pauline’s dedication to teaching science and writing poetry. The outcome of this endeavor: The Pauline Usher Lampkin College Scholarships (PULCS): Science and Writing Competition.

PULCS consists of two $500.00 stipends. The first $500 scholarship will be awarded to the winner of the science writing competition. The second stipend will be awarded to the best series of three poems. FLOW garnered scholarship proceeds from the sale of Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks. The former Senator Donne E. Trotter made a significant purchase of Revise the Psalm books to share with the high schools in his district as well as to seed one of the $500 stipends.

The guidelines and deadlines for both competitions follow.

 Science Writing Competition.

Is race a biological reality or a social construct? How do colors influence your mood? Why do people who have pets live longer, healthier lives than people without them?

Science writing as creative nonfiction involves writing about scientific subjects—climate change, space exploration, urban agriculture, HIV/AIDS—in ways that may be instructive, but never technical. Good science writing takes a topic of interest and treats it with imagination and creativity. It can be a personal essay, such as: “Growing up with Lupus,” a persuasive essay: “Why Climate Change Deniers are Climate Destroyers,” or even religious: “A Scientific Argument for Creationism.” While it may be informed by personal opinion, your work must always be evidence based, whether established or innovative. The essay should also be written in an approachable, readable manner for a general audience.

Here’s a great example of scientific writing:

“How your cat is making you crazy”


Your essay should be 1000-1500 words (4-6 pages), typed and double spaced in a readable font. The first page should include the writer’s name, contact information, and essay title in the left-hand corner. All pages, except page one, must be numbered, preferably in the upper right-hand corner. (All directions should be followed to avoid risks of elimination.)

 Poetry Competition.

In a series of three related poems, tell us a story or communicate a message or theme. The three poems should be included in one file though typed on separate pages. Style of verse is optional. The total word count for all three poems should not exceed 1500 words. An incomplete entry will be eliminated from the competition. In the left-hand corner of the document’s first page, the student’s name, contact information, and theme must be present. Titles should precede each poem. With the exception of the first, all pages should be numbered in the top right-hand side.

General Rules.

1.     Students may select and submit to one category only.

2.     All entries must be original and unpublished.

3.     Documents should be submitted in Microsoft Word format only.

4.     Only graduating seniors, who can show acceptance to a two-year or four-year college by May 31, 2018, may apply for this competition.

5.     There is no grade point average requirement.

6.     Submissions accepted from March 26, 2018 to April 27, 2018.

7.     Deadline: April 27, 2018, 11:59pm.

8.     Please e-mail the document (no cover letters required) to: flowauthors@gmail.com.  Please include PULCS submission/Science Writing or Poetry category (pick appropriate one) in the subject line.

Winners will be contacted in mid-May; checks will be presented at an event to be announced at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory High School. Writers of each award-winning entry will be invited to read the piece at the group’s Family and Friends event on a date and time to be announced. For more information, please contact Tina Jenkins Bell at 773-387-7588. ###

Posted on March 22, 2018 .