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ESF Professor Wins National Award Janine DeBaise honored with 2020 Vinnie Ream Medal for Letters1/29/2020


Janine DeBaise, a professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), won the national 2020 Vinnie Ream Medal competition for her essay "The Space Between." Her essay came in first place overall in the Letters category, competing across three genres: fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She will be honored at the Vinnie Ream banquet at the 2020 Biennial of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) in April.

According to the judges of the competition, DeBaise's essay "The Space Between" is a "breath-taking work of art in which family ties to each other and our environment are poetically and powerfully woven together." DeBaise's essay was published in The Hopper, a literary magazine focused on environmental issues from Green Writers Press. The essay describes the 1976 oil spill on the St. Lawrence River and the death of the author's sister from breast cancer.

DeBaise has published essays in journals that include Orion Magazine and the Southwest Review. She is the author of two collections of poetry: "Body Language" and "Of a Feather." She teaches writing and literature in ESF's Department of Environmental Studies.

The award honors the legacy of Lavinia Ellen "Vinnie" Ream, a Civil War-era artist whose most famous work is the statue of Lincoln in the Capitol Rotunda. Ream was a student of the harp throughout her life and often incorporated an image of a harp in her work as a sculptor. Harp pendants in sterling silver and gemstones are awarded at each Biennial to first-place winners in the art, letters and music categories.