November 29, 2012

Owens Community College Honors Local Students for International Essay Writing Excellence

International Essay Contest Winners

International Essay Contest Winners (L to R) Madalyn Vesoulis, Savannah Brandon and Lauren Meyers pose for a photo with Owens Vice President and Provost Dr. Renay Scott during a special ceremony at Owens.

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Three local middle school students were recently honored by Owens Community College’s Office of International Programs and Services for exhibiting writing excellence from a worldwide perspective as part of the first-ever International Essay Contest. Madalyn Vesoulis of Sylvania, Savannah Brandon of Mount Blanchard and Lauren Meyers of Fostoria were recognized for their accomplishments in conjunction with the academic institution’s celebration of International Education Week.

“Owens Community College’s Office of International Programs and Services is extremely honored and proud to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Madalyn Vesoulis, Savannah Brandon and Lauren Meyers,” said Deborah Gavlik, Owens Director of International Programs and Services. “Each of their respective schools should be proud of them as they shared a very unique view of the world through their essays. On behalf of Owens Community College, I want to thank Madalyn, Savannah and Lauren for sharing their thoughts on the importance of world history.”

Each recipient was invited to read their award-winning essay during a special ceremony at Owens. Madalyn Vesoulis, a seventh grade student at West Side Montessori School in Toledo, was awarded first place for her essay titled “Cutting the Direct Line to World History”. Her essay sponsoring teacher is Mary Brandon. Savannah Brandon garnered second place honors for her essay titled “A Lost Generation”. She attends Riverdale Local Schools in Mount Blanchard as an eighth grade student and her essay sponsoring teacher is Beth Wetherill. Third place honors went to Lauren Meyers for her “The Effects of World History” essay. An eighth grade student, Meyers attends St. Wendelin Catholic School in Fostoria. Her essay sponsoring teacher is Adam Flugga.

The award-winning essays were chosen by a panel of current and retired Owens faculty and staff, as well as Owens international students. Selection criteria included overall impression of the essay, how the essay engages the reader, grammar, organization, and main and supporting ideas, among other areas. Each applicant could choose from several questions focused on international education. The essay submissions were based on their own personal beliefs and experiences.

International Education Week was established as part of a joint initiative with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to support programs dedicated to preparing Americans for a global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

Owens’ Office of International Programs and Services is committed to providing experiential learning opportunities to international students from around the globe. During the Fall Semester, over 115 students from 35 countries are pursuing higher education at Owens. Countries represented in Owens’ international student enrollment are Kenya, Egypt, China, India, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Nigeria and South Korea, among others.

Additionally, in the past several years, the College’s International Programs and Services has established several new study abroad educational opportunities for Owens students in such countries as China, Peru and Greece. Furthermore, eight students are attending Owens this fall term through the Community Colleges for International Development, which is supported through the U.S. Department of State, among many other initiatives.

Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit