UIC Spanish Prizes

All prizes are funded by 100% of royalties from textbooks authored by Dr. Kim Potowski.

Oaxaca Study Abroad Scholarship

a group of Latina students eats at an outdoor market in Oaxaca

Founded in 2012, this scholarship supports students attending our four-week summer program for heritage speakers in Oaxaca, Mexico.

All students accepted to the Oaxaca program are eligible to apply by completing a short essay in Spanish. To date, all students who have applied have been selected to share the funds available that summer, typically around $1,200 divided among them.

Latino Language Studies

brightly colored mandala

Founded in 2020, this set of three (3) prizes supports Latino undergraduates at UIC in their study of Spanish. Amounts may vary depending on available fund balance.

Description of prizes

1. Heritage Language Program essay prize: $150 first place, $100 second place

All students in SPAN 114 (fall or spring) are eligible to submit their final essay for consideration for this prize to abetan3@uic.edu; they do not require instructor recommendation. Instructors are encouraged to select a maximum of 2 students per section for nomination; students must agree to be nominated. Winners are chosen each May for the current academic year (fall and spring combined). Winners are encouraged but not required to continue studying Spanish by enrolling in SPAN 202. Fall essays can still be considered if they are uploaded in May.

2. Undergraduate Linguistics prize: $200 first place, $150 second place

All Spanish majors/minors identified as Latino are eligible to submit a final paper they completed in a linguistics course at the 300- or 400-level. Winners are chosen each May for the current academic year (fall and spring combined). Winners are encouraged but not required to apply for UIC’s M.A. in Hispanic linguistics. Students may ask their instructor to forward their final paper for consideration or they may email it directly to kimpotow@uic.edu. Instructors are encouraged to select a maximum of 2 students per class for nomination; students must agree to be nominated. Fall essays can still be considered if they are uploaded in May.

3. Linguistics Graduate Application prize: One $300 prize

All undergraduates identified as Latino who are applying to UIC’s M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics are eligible to submit their 500-word “Statement of Purpose” in English or Spanish as required by the application process. Applicants are not barred from applying to/accepting admission in a non-UIC graduate program, nor are they guaranteed admission to UIC’s graduate program.

[These applications are always due Jan. 15. Any faculty member may contact applicants and request their consent to have their essay submitted for consideration]

Submission Procedures

  • Calls for submissions are announced each December 5 for fall classes and each May 5 for spring classes. For the Linguistics Graduate Application prize, all Latino applicants to the linguistics M.A. will be invited to submit their Statement of Purpose for consideration.
  • Applicants must ask their instructors (or Angela Betancourt or Kim Potowski) to upload their submissions to our Google Drive by the Monday of finals week in the spring semester. It is recommended (but not required) to upload papers written during the fall semester in December.
  • The committee meets during finals week in the spring semester to review submissions.
  • Prize winners are announced by May 15.

Ciudad Ñ: Spanish Literary Contest

books with Mexican skull
  • first Prize, $ 200
  • second Prize, $ 100
  • third Prize, $ 50

Founded in 2019, this contest was created in an effort to support UIC undergraduate students who write literary works in Spanish. Students must be enrolled in the current academic year and submit an original and unpublished piece of their creation. Fiction, poetry, and drama are accepted and can be written in any modality of Spanish, including Spanglish. The work must be between 5 and 10 pages long. There is no specific theme; students are encouraged to explore and write about the stories that move them.

Submission Procedure

  • Calls for submissions is announced the first week of November. All UIC undergraduate students are welcome to participate.
  • Participants must send their literary work to ciudadene.uic@gmail.com before the due date. It is recommended (but not required) to submit works written for a class, either in Fall or Spring.
  • Submissions are due March 30.
    Prize winners are announced by May 1st.

Winners of the 2019 Ciudad Ñ: Spanish Literary Contest

  • First prize: “Cinco microcuentos” by Michael Ordower
  • Second prize: “La primera vez que le tuteo (a usted)” by Alyse Victoria
  • Third prize: “Estrellas en el cielo” by Valeria Murillo