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April 18, 2014   
Posted: August 22, 2011
Big Read essay contest winners named

  Big Read Essay winners: (left to right) Courtney Mullis, second place winner; Gabriella Marafino, first place winner; and Alexandra Morris, third place winner  
Gabriella Marafino, a marine science major originally from Alexandria, Va., won first place in the the Big Read Essay Contest. The winners of the contest were announced at the New Student Convocation Aug 21.

Courtney Mullis of Albemarle, N.C., won the second place prize, and Alexandra Morris, a communication/education major from Manalapan, N.J., won the thrid place prize.

The contest is part of the University's annual Big Read program. Incoming students were required to read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot about an African-American woman who donated cells for medical research before she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Called the "HeLa" cells, they became legendary in medical research as the source of the first immortal human cell line - unbeknownst to Lacks' family and descendents.

Contestants were required to address four questions about the book in a 500- to 1,000-word essay. The first place prize was a $150 gift card for the Coastal Carolina University bookstore. The second place prize was a $50 bookstore gift card, and the third place prize was a $25 bookstore gift card.

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