University of Miami Op-Ed Challenge

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Op-Ed 2023 Op-Ed 2023


OpiniUM is an academic research writing competition that challenges graduate students to present their research and its significance to a general audience via a concise opinion piece known as an op-ed.

Originally derived from its position opposite the editorial page in a newspaper, an op-ed is a 600–800-word column that conveys a clearly defined purpose and point of view and is written by an authoritative voice in the field. Op-ed writers use facts, statistics, anecdotes, and logic to support their expert opinions and inform and persuade the reader.

 Eligibility and Rules

  1. Competitors must be enrolled in a University of Miami doctoral or master’s program that requires an electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD; click here for a list of eligible programs).
  2. Submissions must be sole-authored and written in Fall 2023. Previously published work is not eligible.
  3. Submissions are limited to 600-800 words.
  4. Competitors may seek assistance with proofreading and editing, but the submissions must be the original work of the competitor. Submissions may be submitted to SafeAssign or other plagiarism-detecting software.

Interest Form

Students who met the eligibility criteria and wanted to participate in the Op-Ed Challenge had to submit an interest form by October 19, 2023.



September 29th

OpiniUM Challenge Kick-Off Event
October 12th

Cultivating Your Public Voice: How, Why, and For Whom Do We Write Op-Eds? - Workshop for Competitors Led by Dr. Christina Lane

October 13th, 16th and 17th Competitors can participate in either the Graduate Writing Retreat or schedule a one-on-one feedback meeting with a member of the Op-Ed Challenge Steering Committee or receive writing support from the University's Writing Center
October 19th OpiniUM Challenge Interest Form Submission Deadline 
October 19th
Tips on How to write an Effective Op-Ed workshop with Antonio Mora
October 27th OpiniUM Drafts Due 
November 3rd OpiniUM Final Submissions Due. 
Early November-Late November Judging
Early December- Late December  Winners Selected and Announced

Draft and Final Submission Guidelines

  • Draft and final submissions must be 600-800 words.
  • Draft and final submissions must be 11pt Times New Roman Font, double spaced, with 1 inch margins.
  • Drafts must be a Word document. Final submissions can be a Word document or a pdf file.
  • Include a title for your Op-Ed within each document.
  • At the end of both your draft and final submission documents, include a biographical sentence that explains why/how you are experienced to write on your Op-Ed topic. 
  • For the draft submission, use the following file naming convention: Last Name_First Name_Your Graduate Program Field of Study_Draft (ex.: Doe_John_Biology_Draft)
  • For the final submission, use the following file naming convention: Last Name_First Name_Your Graduate Program Field of Study_Final (ex.: Doe_John_Biology_Final)
  • Email your OpiniUM draft (by October 27th) and final submission (by November 3rd) to

If you have any questions about the Op-Ed Challenge, please contact the Interim Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Hudson Santos at

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  • 2022 Recap

    The Graduate School hosted the Inaugural Op-Ed Challenge during the Fall 2022 Semester.

    The Op-Ed Challenge provided an exciting opportunity for graduate students at the University of Miami to showcase their impactful research to a wider audience through concise and persuasive opinion pieces known as op-eds. With entries from seven schools and colleges, the competition demonstrated the diverse and groundbreaking research being conducted by graduate students, covering complex topics such as climate change, obesity during the pandemic, and diversity. The competition not only provided a platform for students to share their ideas but also helped them to improve their critical writing skills with guidance from media experts. Moreover, the judging process, carried out by experienced editorial page editors from the Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, and The Conversation, added to the competitive and educational nature of this challenge. 

    First Place Winner:

    Grace Snyder, Ph.D. student in Marine Biology & Ecology from the Rosenstiel School

    Op-ed Title: Stem Cell Therapy: The Answer for Coral Reefs

    Second Place Winners (tied):

    Nikolaos Polizos, Ph.D. student in Biology from the College of Arts & Sciences

    Op-ed Title: Maggots For Brains: Why Animal Models are the Key to Our Memories

    Mariana Viso, Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering from the College of Engineering

    Op-ed Title: The Chips That Could Replace Animal Testing

    Third Place Winner:

    Joseph Bonner, Ph.D. student in Exercise Physiology from the School of Education & Human Development 

    Op-ed Title: Childhood Obesity & COVID: We Aren’t Doing Enough

    Full List of Competitors:
    • Khulud Almutairi, School of Nursing & Health Studies
    • Joseph Bonner, School of Education & Human Development 
    • Tericka Cesar, School of Nursing & Health Studies
    • Juan Esquivel, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Liza Khmara, Rosenstiel School
    • Marina McLerran, Frost School of Music
    • Nkosi Muse, Rosenstiel School
    • Adeline Nagle, Rosenstiel School
    • Nicolas Nicola, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Victoria Nieto, Frost School of Music
    • Deborah Perez, School of Education & Human Development
    • Nikolaos Polizos, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Eric Randolph, Rosenstiel School 
    • Grace Snyder, Rosenstiel School
    • Yasukiyo Sugimoto, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Theoni Varoudaki, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Mariana Viso, College of Engineering
    • Matthew Watts, College of Arts & Sciences
    • Hilary Yip, Frost School of Music
    • Fang Yuan, Frost School of Music
    • Hui Zhong, Miller School of Medicine


    To read all the submitted op-eds, click here