Summer Reading Assignment
In order to prepare the Sacred Heart University class of 2017 for the start of their college careers and for the academic realities of college life, we are announcing our Freshman Summer Reading Assignment. This year, we have chosen a text that offers both challenge and inspiration. Please read the text with care, enjoy and think about it, and be prepared to discuss it with classmates and professors when you arrive to begin the fall semester. Be sure to bring the book with you in August.
Our text is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (available at the Sacred Heart University Bookstore)
Our book is a thought-provoking examination of the intersection between science and morality. It is described as “a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles of whether we control the stuff we’re made of.”
Lisa Margonelli in the New York Times explains that our author “introduces us to the ‘real live woman,’ the children who survived her, and the interplay of race, poverty, science and one of the most important scientific discoveries of the last 100 years. Skloot narrates the science lucidly, tracks the racial politics of medicine thoughtfully, and tells the Lacks family’s often painful history with grace. Margonelli continues: “Science writing is often just about ‘the facts.’ Skloot’s book, her first, is far deeper, braver and more wonderful.”
We are pleased to announce that one of Henrietta Lacks’ children, David “Sonny” Lacks, will be speaking on campus to the Sacred Heart freshman class and to the entire University Community on September 11, 2013.
In addition, we are planning a number of activities for the fall that will link with your Summer Reading, including a series of faculty-led discussions on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and its potential impact on our lives both as students and as citizens, as well as our Freshman Summer Reading Essay Contest that you will find described in detail on the next page.
Since this is your first “college assignment” at Sacred Heart University, we ask you to approach it as a college student would—be thorough and thoughtful, use your time wisely, and don’t make this just a “last minute” task. If you have questions about the reading, the Essay Contest, or about anything else, feel free to contact me at 203-365-7648 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wonderful summer.
Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Freshman Summer Reading Essay Contest
We are pleased to announce the inaugural Freshman Summer Reading Essay Contest, open to all members of the Sacred Heart University class of 2017 .The general topic of the essay, as you might expect, is our Summer Reading, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In the upcoming months, you will hear the voices of our faculty members and even the voice of one of the Lacks children, David “Sonny” Lacks, but the discussion stands incomplete without the most important voice of all—your voice, the voice and voices of the men and women who are the Sacred Heart University class of 2017.
We will be awarding four prizes, and the winners’ names will be announced at the David “Sonny” Lacks presentation on September 11.
- First Prize: $500.00 SHU Bookstore Gift Card
- Second Prize: $300.00 SHU Bookstore Gift Card
- Two Honorable Mention Prizes: $100.00 SHU Bookstore Gift Card (each)
Length: 750-1,000 Words typed/double-spaced. Entries must be submitted via email to email@example.com as attached Word Documents. All entries must be received by August 5, 2013.
Format: The first page of your essay (no cover pages please) should have your full name in the upper left corner and a title centered over the text. Each page should have your last name and the page number in the upper right corner (e.g., Smith-2).
Please use this prompt below as a guide as you write. We are not, however, asking simply for answers to the questions in the prompt; instead we are looking for a coherent, intelligent, and logically organized essay that stems from your reading of Skloot’s text and adds to our understanding of its importance.
Prompt: As you enter college and after reflecting on your reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, what can you learn from this book that might be significant as you begin this new chapter in your life? Our Common Core asks us to consider how we might live lives of meaning and purpose. From reading Skloot’s text and considering the issues and complexities she presents, how might it offer us some guidance—or perhaps some warning-- as we embark on our personal journeys toward lives of meaning and purpose?
Email entries as attached Word Documents only to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 5, 2013.