Hope College senior Madalyn Northuis of Holland has been named a winner in the 2014 Undergraduate Essay Contest sponsored by the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS).

Each year, the NACBS recognizes the best eight essays on British topics submitted by undergraduates studying in American and Canadian universities.  Essays may be from any department as long as they relate to British studies and date from the previous academic year.  This year’s prize winners will be announced during the NACBS’s annual meeting, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Friday-Sunday, Nov. 7-9.

Northuis was honored for “Becoming Citizens: The British Women’s Movement, 1918-1928,” which considers the development of women’s equality in the United Kingdom.  Prior to the passage of the “Representation of the People Act” in the United Kingdom on Feb. 6, 1918, she notes, women lacked legal status as citizens in the United Kingdom.  While the act granted citizenship to approximately eight million British women age 30 and above, Northuis argues that its passage is more accurately considered a starting point, since it took several years for those women who were newly enfranchised “to reconstruct their own identities and redefine their relationships with men and disenfranchised women before they could navigate the political world as citizens and effectively lobby for an equal franchise a decade later.”

Northuis, who is majoring in history and classical studies and minoring in women’s and gender studies, developed her essay in the department of history’s capstone seminar and as part of her participation in the college’s Andrew W. Mellon Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities.  She was mentored by Dr. Marc Baer, professor of history and chairperson of the department.

Her activities at the college also include Klesis (Greek for “calling”), which is a program for students interested in discerning their vocation and calling, and the Phi Alpha Theta history honorary society.  She is currently studying off-campus through the Philadelphia Center program.

Northuis is the daughter of Mark and Pam Northuis of Holland, and a 2010 graduate of Holland High School.

The NACBS is a scholarly society dedicated to all aspects of the study of British civilization.  While most of its members teach British history in colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, the NACBS has significant representation among specialists in literature, art history, politics, law, sociology and economics.  Its membership also includes many teachers at universities in countries outside North America, secondary school teachers and independent scholars.  In addition to the annual conference and undergraduate essay contest, the NACBS sponsors a scholarly journal, the “Journal of British Studies”; online publications; and several academic prizes and graduate fellowships.