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Cayuga CC student wins James Joyce Award second year in a row

DATE: 11-06-2012

Matthew S. Weinerth, a full-time student at Cayuga Community College majoring in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Humanities and Social Science, Literature Concentration, won the2012 Syracuse James Joyce Club’s Scholarship Award. He received the award during the club’s 19th annual Bloomsday presentation of Ulysses in Grewen Hall at LeMoyne College in June.

“I am proud to have represented Cayuga by winning first place in the James Joyce essay contest,” Weinerth said.

He wrote a 20-page essay entitled “Bloomanism: A Surefire Cure for Paralysis,” which was a culmination of an independent study of Joyce’s Ulysses with Professor Diana Valdina.  He condensed his essay to enter the contest.

In recognition of his winning essay, Weinerth took home a $500 scholarship and certificate, which was given this year in honor of Irish community leader Nancy Duffy. Last year, Weinerth also won first place and he received a rare 1919 German edition of Joyce’s Exiles.

“The competition was tough: the second and third place contestants were from Cornell and SUNY Geneseo,” he said. “But the credit is not my own. Professor Valdina went out of her way to make time for the independent study, and it would not have been possible without her. My love of Joyce was first sparked by her introducing me to Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead,’ and I owe an immeasurable debt to her for being my mentor all throughout my days here at Cayuga. Professor Valdina inspired me to pursue my passion for English, and for that, I will always be grateful.

“The professors at Cayuga are masters of their subject matter, and each professor’s unique perspective and teaching style has been essential for the expansion of my writing,” Weinerth said. “I would not be where I am today without the excellent class discussions, keen insights, and enthusiastic talks with professors after class. Cayuga truly is a great institution of higher learning.”

After Weinerth completes an associate’s degree at Cayuga at the end of this semester, he plans on getting his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in English Literature. Besides his school schedule, he is a writing tutor and works full time at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles Falls, where he is a group leader. In his free time, he volunteers at Port Byron Federated Church and at the Port Byron Library.