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The Amplify Competition is an opportunity for students to experiment with developing and practicing a public voice and a space to share their perspectives and translate their scholarship for a Smith College public audience. We welcome submissions from current Smith students in the categories of public writing, public speaking and public art. On this page you will find submission criteria and guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Wurtele Center at

Amplify Competition Submissions for 2020–21

Public Speaking Submissions


Students were given the opportunity to submit work in a variety of forms, ranging from TED-style talks to spoken word poetry to podcast episodes.


Public Writing Submissions


Students were given the opportunity to submit pieces in a variety of forms, ranging from op-eds to longer form articles to zines or other creative works.


Public Art Submissions


Students were given the opportunity to submit work in a variety of media, ranging from public mural or sculpture to performance art to creative arts-oriented public engagement projects.


Amplify Competition Prizes

Submissions will be entered to compete for prizes in each of the three categories—speaking, writing and art—plus a “People’s Choice” Award. Prize winners will be announced in March in a virtual announcement event. Depending on the number and quality of submissions in each category, judges may choose not to award all prizes for all three categories. Visit the gallery website to view all of the submissions. Cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award by Monday, March 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

First Place: $1,000

Second Place: $500

People’s Choice: $250

  • Current Smith students may submit one entry per category. Students may not submit the same entry to multiple categories, however. Therefore, in any given competition year, an individual student may submit up to three distinct entries in the three categories of the Amplify Competition.
  • Students may submit entries that are collaboratively created. The entry should be submitted only once; be sure to enter all co-creators’ names in the submission form. Should the entry be chosen for a prize, that prize will be split between the co-creators.
  • Students may win only one individual prize in a given competition year.
  • Entries may be, but are not required to be, assignments completed for a Smith College course.
  • Entries may be in languages other than English. Please note that the Wurtele Center for Leadership will publish both the original submission and an English translation on the Amplify website.
  • Entries do not need to have been published (in the case of public writing), installed (in the case of public art), or delivered to a public audience (in the case of public speaking or performance art). However, judges will be looking for pieces that hold promise for future publication.
  • Depth of Discourse: Does the submission build connections between areas of knowledge and a public audience? Does it translate outside of an academic or classroom context? Is the piece rooted in a larger understanding of fields of knowledge or social systems, yet convey those learnings to a public audience? Does it show a sophisticated understanding of its audience?
  • Seeks to Make Positive Change in the World: In keeping with Smith’s mission to develop “engaged global citizens and leaders to address society's challenges,” judges will evaluate submissions on the degree to which they tackle a pressing social, economic, political, or cultural issue. Issues can range from local to global in scale.
  • Promise: While submissions do not need to have been accepted for publication or installed in a public space, judges will be looking for pieces that hold considerable promise to be able to enter the public conversation in a meaningful and impactful way around the issue the piece seeks to tackle. Does the piece assert an original idea or offer new perspectives on the issue? Is it likely to draw readers’ or viewers’ attention and influence the debate?
  • Quality of Submission: How well-crafted is the piece? Is it well-polished or carefully made? Is the piece complete and does it stand as a whole on its own?

Public Speaking

Students may submit entries in the Public Speaking Category that include the following formats:

  • A video of themselves delivering a TED-style talk (no more than 20 minutes)
  • An audio recording of a podcast episode that they have scripted and/or hosted (no more than 45 minutes)
  • A video of themselves conducting an interview with another person or group of people (no more than 30 minutes)
  • A video of themselves delivering some other form of public speech, such as spoken-word poetry (no more than 20 minutes)
  • Other


Public Writing

Students may submit entries in the Public Writing Category of pieces that have been published or are intended to be published. Submissions may include the following formats:

  • Op-ed (no more than 1000 words)
  • Article, Review, or “Explainer” (no more than 1200 words)
  • Blog post (no more than 1000 words)
  • Zine (a 4-page booklet of pages at 8.5x11 or the equivalent if smaller)
  • Other

Public Art

Students may submit entries in the Public Art Category that include the following formats:

  • A piece or prototype of visual art that has been installed or that ideally would be installed in a public setting
  • A recording or prototype of a piece of public performance art or plans for a performance
  • A video of a choreographed dance performance
  • A short film (maximum 30 minutes)
  • A recording or script of a dramatic piece (maximum 30 minutes) with plans for implementation
  • A website
  • Other

Public Speaking

Public Writing

Public Art

Jessica Bacal, Director of Reflective and Integrative Practices, Smith College Laurie Fenlason, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Smith College Emma Chubb, Charlotte Feng Ford ’83 Curator of Contemporary Art, Smith College Museum of Art
Ayla Schlosser ’09, founder and former CEO of Resonate Khama Ennis, Medical Staff President and Associate Chief of Emergency Medicine, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and writer for The Washington Post Pasqualina Azzarello, City Arts Coordinator, Easthampton City Arts
Gaby Acosta ’12, Communications Consultant, Podcast Producer and Host of “The Way We Lead” Julia Scott ’02, veteran radio and podcast producer, editor, and longform magazine writer Leila Tamari ’11, Senior Program Officer at ArtPlace America

Important Dates

Keep your eyes peeled for sessions and events during these months where you can workshop your piece and get feedback.
January 4 Competition opens for submissions
February 12 Submissions due by midnight, ET
March 1 People’s Choice Award
Website open for voting
March 17, 7–8 p.m. Amplify Award Ceremony