To encourage and recognize excellence in Honors courses, the Honors College gives cash awards to the best essays written and creative works produced annually in 4 different categories: first-year seminar, sciences, social sciences, and the arts. From the winning entries, the Honors Council also chooses a “Best Honors College Submission of the Year.”

These awards honor Katherine Metcalf Nelson, an educator, art historian, and art critic who possessed a love of interdisciplinary learning. Katie Nelson taught classes at Westminster University from 1975–87, including a number of team-taught seminars. She earned a BA from Stanford University and a MA in art history from UC Berkeley. The endowment that funds the awards was established through the generosity of Katie Nelson’s family.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Currently enrolled Westminster Honors College student
  • The 200-level seminar paper entered received an A or A- in the Fall 2023 or Spring 2023 semester (grades of winning papers will be confirmed with the instructors)

Award Amount

$1,000 per category


Submissions open January 26, 2024 and close February 20, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Submissions for the award are considered by the Honors Council.


You must upload a PDF copy of your paper to the application. No identifying features should be included in the PDF, including your name, your instructors’ names, the name of the class, etc.