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Forester News

Rachel Peterson ’22 wins annual First-Year Writing Contest

The First-Year Writing Contest is an annual contest open to Lake Forest freshmen.

This year, Rachel Peterson ’22 won the contest for her piece “This is Beyond Your Experience.”

“I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, and while nonfiction isn’t exactly my chosen genre, winning the contest was like a dream come true,” said Peterson, who is pursuing a double major in computer science and English with a minor in music. “The thing I’m most excited for is being published for the first time, which is a really big first step for me and my future writing goals.”

Peterson wrote the winning paper for her Music and the Mind class, which focuses on the benefits of music for the brain, but she also delves into the link between music and suicide, specifically teenage suicides and the heavy-metal genre.

“Rachel took on this topic and confronted the assumptions head on, arguing convincingly that correlation does not equal causation,” said Professor of Music Don Meyer. “She brought in her own experience as an occasional listener to metal to buttress her argument. I was most impressed with the quality of her writing and the thoroughness of her research.”