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Students analyze 9/11 for contest

Kyusung Gong, Contributing Writer

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The three winners for the Richard A. Clark Graduate Student Monograph Contest were chosen based on their analysis of the information leading up to 9/11 and the United States government’s decision and actions, in addition to their personal opinions on public policy for America’s security in the future.

The contest was sponsored by Cal State Long Beach’s Center for First Amendment Studies and 911plus.org.

Only graduate students in good standing master’s or doctoral programs at accredited American universities in the United States and its territories were eligible for the contest, which excluded graduate students from the communication studies department at CSULB.

“We had 16 monographs besides the ones that did not meet requirements and, from those 16, we ended up with three finalists,” said Craig R. Smith, director of CSULB’s Center for First Amendment Studies.

Sara Moller, a political science student at Columbia University, won first place and a grand prize of $20,000.

“It’s always an honor to have one’s work recognized, but this was meaningful on so many levels because, like many others in my generation, 9/11 was the defining moment of our youth,” Moller said. “I wanted to look back and concentrate on what had changed while also being careful to situate the attacks in the larger scheme of U.S. foreign policy.”

Dimitar Georgiev, a security studies program student at Georgetown University, and Jennifer L. Freer, a communications major at Rochester Institute of Technology, were named second and third place, receiving $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

“I was hit by a wave of extreme joy and sense of accomplishment,” Georgiev said. “The preparation of the monograph took place over the course of three months, between May and July. It involved extensive research of primary as well as secondary sources.”

The three winners of the contest will be at a commemoration of 9/11 hosted by New Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews on Sept. 14, on Capitol Hill in Room 2216 of the Rayburn House Office Building to celebrate their win and have a press conference.

“We do not have any further plans on this contest after the meeting on the 14th,” Smith said. “We are not going to have a contest like this again.”

The winning monographs will be posted on the center’s website at firstamendmentstudies.org.

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