Graduate Essay Prize

The Graduate Essay Prize highlights outstanding graduate writing about the ways policy can address major global challenges. 

In 2023, Perry World House (PWH), the University of Pennsylvania’s hub for global affairs, launched its first ever Graduate Essay Prize. This $1,200 prize recognizes insightful essays that explore how policy can be used to tackle global policy challenges.

Prizes were awarded based on the overall excellence of the essay submission – the core idea, coherent and persuasive writing, and robust research – and its alignment with either or both of PWH’s two research themes, which are:

2023 Graduate Essay Prize Winner

The inaugural winner is Max Pisciotta, a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at Penn. Their essay “Geothermal Energy: A Missing Piece in the Equitable Energy Transition,” explores how geothermal energy – energy derived from the heat deep beneath the Earth’s surface – could ease the shift from fossil fuels to renewables. They argue that, while geothermal energy is controversial among climate change experts because it has deep parallels with extraction industries, it produces far fewer carbon emissions and has the potential to generate power continuously, making it suitable to provide renewable baseload power.

Read the winning essay