Abigail Covington: 2019

May 16, 2019

“This award is a great honor! I sincerely appreciate the faculty and staff that nominated and supported me. My time in the Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition Department has been bolstered by classes and professors that genuinely care about the well-being and personal development of their students. Their encouragement combined with the strength of the stories of my mother and grandmothers allowed my writing to truly take shape. I have been retelling the narratives I grew up listening to. The characters may have changed over time, but the themes always remained the same. I am proud that the stories of my ancestors combined with the power of my pen can be honored in such a way.

“I would like to thank the Writing Department as a whole but especially Professor Tony Scott, Professor Lois Agnew, Professor Brice Nordquist, and Professor Jonna Gilfus for their encouragement and guidance throughout my many writing courses during my tenure at Syracuse.”—Abigail Covington

In nominating Abigail Covington for the 2019 Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award, Associate Professor Tony Scott writes, "Abigail’s equanimity, her intellectual depth and curiosity, and her commitment to doing excellent, meaningful work set her clearly apart from most of her peers. Her writing and general communication skills exhibit a maturity beyond her years: her ability to assimilate theory and research in projects that engage and challenge readers is rare in someone so young. I have come to look forward to reading everything she writes. I have also been impressed with her ability to speak extemporaneously in classes—offering thoughtful, often fully developed arguments and insights that quite often change the directions of conversations. Abigail conveys a calm, respectful confidence when speaking, and her peers clearly see her as leader….The writing is not only nuanced, novel, and intellectually mature, it is highly engaging reading …. Regardless of her pathway in life, I am confident that she will impress, and I look forward to seeing what she does in the world. It is difficult to imagine anyone being more deserving of our award.”


Brice Nordquist, Jonna Gilfus, Abigail Covington, Tony Scott, and Patrick W. Berry.

Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jonna Gilfus writes, “It was truly a pleasure to work with Abigail as a student during her first semester. The inquiry for the course focused on literacy and its relationship to cultures, communities, and identities. Abigail was one of the most sophisticated writers in the class, but she was always hungry for critical feedback. She has a humble, reflective attitude that allows her to grow as a writer and as a student . . . . In the classroom, Abigail is a leader by example—she asked thoughtful questions and encouraged her peers during our class discussions, and generously shared her perspective and experiences with the rest of the class. Abigail’s natural interest in learning and serious attitude toward the work was infectious.”

Additional words about Abigail:

Abigail is an outstanding student and leader who, in the three years I have known her, has demonstrated academic excellence, perseverance in forging connections both across and beyond the university, and a persistent devotion to finding and articulating the relevance of her academic training…. She has developed sophisticated and flexible writing skills across a broad range of genres and topics from education to voting rights to democratic practices. She believes in the power of language to bring about change…. She can think proactively, is unafraid to speak up, and is always diplomatic and clear. Her training in digital media and communication enhances her already strong writing skills. Having worked with Abigail in various capacities, most recently as her advisor, I continue to be impressed by her intellectual depth, high energy, and caring demeanor. —Patrick W. Berry, Associate Professor, Chair, Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition

Abigail consistently demonstrated well developed analytical and research skills, as well as maintaining a strong commitment to building on her understanding of rhetoric and communication. In addition to her intellectual strengths, Abigail exhibited the personal maturity that enabled her to assume a leadership role in my class. She was a regular participant in our class discussions, a skillful peer reviewer, and a strong role model for other students. She thoughtfully presented her own views while inviting others to share their different perspectives…. Abigail’s immersion in questions across various disciplines, along with her internship experiences, enabled her to arrive at valuable insights that were evident in my class, and this expansive and incisive intellectual scope has been a central feature of her work throughout her time at Syracuse University…. Her extraordinary intellectual commitment, work ethic, rhetorical awareness, and strengths and versatility as a writer, speaker, and researcher place her among the very best students I have encountered in twenty-five years of teaching. —Lois Agnew, Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Associate Dean of Curriculum Innovation and Pedagogy, Arts and Sciences