2023 Conference

Essay Contest


Connections, Celebrations, and Community: Empowering Utah Teachers through Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Theme Vision:

Multicultural Education scholars and practitioners have made great progress in helping educators and students become aware of, understand the importance of, and develop the skills related to asset-based approaches to education, specifically focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for historically marginalized populations (e.g., people of color, LGBTQ people, etc.). This year, Utah NAME would like to give specific attention to the ways diverse identities, communities and families are recognized and celebrated in the ecology of student learning and empowerment.

The theme for the 2023 Utah NAME conference focuses on your stories on connection, celebration, and community.  As human beings we are each a matrix of diverse identities that combine to make us who we are. Aspects of our identities include: race, culture, gender, ability, religion, class, language, sexual orientation, etc. Which aspects of yourself do you find most important to your identity? How do you celebrate your identities? In what ways do you find these important aspects of your identity reflected (in either positive and/or negative ways) in your engagement with your communities? In what ways do you feel connected to (or feel isolated from) your cultural groups?

Essay Contest Prompt:

Please write an essay that responds to the following prompt question:

In what ways have you empowered yourself by being connected to your culture, celebrating your identity, and belonging to your community? Or in what ways have you felt isolated and discriminated against your identities?

Each essay should be no more than 500 words. As you write your essay, please consider the following additional primers to help your thinking. Do not feel like you have to address the items below. They are meant to simply help you think about the prompt question above.

  • Describe your sense of family and community.

  • Discuss how you and your family define success.

  • Explain the ways families and communities could be brought into the schooling process.
  • Describe the ways you have been enriched by your families and communities.
  • Please make a personal connection to the conference theme.

Submission Deadline: Please submit a 500-word essay by Friday, February 3rd, 2023. Questions can be directed to Ms. Taylor-Begay at denece.begay@gmail.com.


2023 Essay Contest Form



Scholarship for Award Winners: 

Top essay writers will receive a modest scholarship and have the opportunity to share their work at the 2025 Utah NAME conference. 

The submission deadline is February 3rd, 2023. Personal essay award winners will receive a modest cash scholarship and be honored at the 2023 Utah NAME Conference Awards Luncheon on ​Saturday, February 25, 2023 ​at Utah Valley University in Orem, UT:

  • $250 Scholarship awarded to Middle/Jr. High Winners
  • $500 Scholarship awarded to High School Winners

We look forward to receiving your essays!

2023 Utah NAME Student Essay Contest Committee




Past Winners

2023 High School

Andrea Larsen, Providence hall
Nivetha Karthikeyan, Providence Hall

2023 Middle School

Yesly Rios, Legacy Preparatory Academy
Evelyn Sanchez Olivarez, Bennion Junior High

2021 High School

Elsie Beutler, Timpview High School
Jennifer Cendejas, Mountian Crest High School

2021 Middle School

Clair Brown, Farmington Junior High
Ama Barrour, AMES
Diane Bahati, AMES

2015 High School

Shams Al-shawbak, East High School
Javiera Carrasco, Cottonwood High School
Sara Ortiz, Logan High School

2015 Middle School

Leba Kepu, Matheson Junior High School
Dulce Rabadan, Matheson Junior High School

2013 High School

José Alexander Garcia, West High School
Shauntee Noble-Lunger, Cottonwood High School
Marisol Perez-Gonzalez, Cottonwood High School
Juniper Roman, Grand County High School

2013 Middle School

Aruna Dhungel, Granite Park Junior High School
Musa Taha, Granite Park Junior High School