I faced seven others, all close to graduation, and from long-established graduate programs from the Carolinas and Georgia. With a first-semester paper, and in a year-old graduate program, I didn't expect to pull it off. I went there, presented my paper, and came back home, figuring that I'd done pretty decently for a first-timer, but that I'd have to try again next year.
I was also asked to submit my paper for publication. For those of you who don't know, publication is a pretty big deal in the academic world.
This evening, I'll be getting my award plaque or certificate or whatever they give me. I think I'll even get a little money for my efforts. What's even better is that everyone who reads this is required to buy me a beer or three.
My first two Graduate school academic recognitions, back-to-back, after just one semester in the program. Not bad at all ...