Spring 2023 Folklore Awards

Spring 2023 Folklore Awards
Program Director, Dr. Ben Gatling (right), with Allie Stanich, the awardee of the program's Outstanding Graduate Student

We are excited to announce the award winners of the 2023 Margaret R. Yocom Prize and the Outstanding Folklore Student for the year!

The Outstanding Graduate Student is an annual English department award. It is given to one student in each concentration in the English department, folklore included. Academic excellence as well as awards and honors inside and outside of the classroom, including dedication and notable contributions to the field, are considered when choosing the recipient of this award. 

The 2023 Outstanding Graduate Student for the Folklore Program was awarded to Allie Stanich, who is graduating this week. 

During her time at Mason, Allie has presented multiple, well-received papers at folklore conferences, including American Folklore Society. She has been an active member of the Folklore Roundtable, Mason Folklore's academic student group, serving as both Vice President and President in this past school year. Allie even has a forthcoming publication in a prestigious folklore journal.

Additionally, we are proud to announce the graduate and undergraduate award winners of the Yocom Prize.

The Yocom Prize honors the best paper written about folklore by a George Mason University student during the previous calendar year. Awards are provided to both a graduate and an undergraduate student. The award is named after Margaret R. Yocom, Associate Professor Emerita and founder of Mason’s Folklore Program. We appreciate Professor Yocom for her continued support to Mason Folklore.

After thorough consideration, the committee chose to award the graduate-level prize to Amanda Ellard for her paper “Masculinity and the Female Gaze in Danmei Storytelling.” The chapter argues that danmei stories provide a fictional “safe space” in which women writers and readers explore gender, sexuality, and themes that fall outside of the mainstream through male characters and fictional societies that simultaneously counter and reinforce stereotypical gender roles.

Amanda is graduating this summer and will continue her studies in the fall at Ohio University, pursuing a PhD in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She served alongside Allie on Folklore Roundtable leadership, as the secretary of the group. During her time at Mason, Amanda has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in the role of Editorial Assistant for the Journal of American Folklore: A Global Quarterly, which is currently housed at George Mason University. 

The program is pleased to recognize Alice Christensen as the undergrad winner for their paper, “A Frightful Beast: Sexuality and Disability in Fairy Tales.” Alice's paper is about how gendered stereotypes about sexuality are applied differently to people with disabilities in fairy tales and how this reflects the lived experiences of disabled people.

Alice is pursuing a Folklore and Mythology minor and an Anthropology major at Mason and plans to graduate in December 2023. They are also currently serving on Folklore Roundtable leadership in a communications role. 

The folklore faculty is grateful for the many submissions to the Yocom Prize competition and to Professor Yocom’s generous financial support that made this year’s prize possible. 

Congratulations Allie, Amanda, and Alice!