Four Graduates Honored as Recipients of the Louis B. Sudler Prize

Four graduating seniors were honored with the Louis B. Sudler Prize, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the performing and creative arts, including fine arts, music, creative writing, theatre, and electronic/photographic arts.  

Nominees for the Louis B. Sudler Prize must be members of the senior graduating class. However, they do not need to have majored in the arts, but rather must demonstrate outstanding achievement in the performing or creative arts and show promise of future achievement.

This year’s Louis B. Sudler Prize recipients are:

  • Maddy Eischer 
  • Sarah Kutchinski 
  • Valentine McWilliams 
  • Mary Claire Zauel

Maddy Eischer 

Portrait of a smiling young woman with glasses outdoors.
Maddy Eischer

Maddy Eischer graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA as a member of the Honors College with a double major in Apparel and Textile Design and Genomics and Molecular Genetics. Eischer participated in the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF), was a member of the Pre-Health Honors Fraternity Alpha Epsilon Delta Gamma Chapter, and the Fashion Relations team for VIM Magazine, as well as a Co-President of the Fashion Design Student Association.

In addition to her work at MSU, she founded and launched a homemade face mask business in response to the mask shortage during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She donated, sold, and distributed more than 1,800 face masks.  

Eischer has won several awards and scholarships for her achievements in both the humanities and sciences. These awards include the Michigan State University Board of Trustees Award, CAL Community Partner Award, Anna Bayha Award, Dr. Amber Cody Springman Memorial Scholarship, POE Peer Educator Scholarship, the Russel B. DuVall Scholarship, and many more. She also was selected as the Spring 2022 College of Arts & Letters student commencement speaker.

Sarah Kutchinski 

Portrait of a smiling young woman in front of a flowering bush.
Sarah Kutchinski

Sarah Kutchinski graduated with a double major in Film Studies and Media and Information and a minor in Fiction Filmmaking. During her time at MSU, she was involved in several student organizations and worked as a Video Coordinator at Impact 89FM, a role that took her to the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festival as a member of the press. Kutchiniski also held several key roles in MSU Telecasters, where she served as the Producer and Head Editor of Giraffe House, the Lead Director and Editor of the Beaumont Bulletin, and the Event Director for the entire Telecaster organization.  

Kutchiski worked on many films during her time at MSU. Some of her credits include The Broken Diamond, a short film created for MSU’s Fiction Filmmaking Capstone, where she served as a Writer, the 1st Assistant Director, Co-Producer, and the 2nd Unit Director. She also served as Director of Photography on The House on the Lake, a silent black and white horror feature film. In addition, Kutchiski wrote, directed, and funded “What’s for Dinner?” a surreal, horror short film. 

Besides the Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts, Kutchiski has earned several other awards and scholarships, including, but not limited to, the 2022 Outstanding Senior Award, Student Production Award for the Music Video Category for “Treat Me Right,” Michael A. Chaprnka Endowed Scholarship Award, Glenn and Thelma Buell College of Communication Arts & Sciences Endowed Memorial Scholarship, and the Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award.

Valentine McWilliams 

Portrait of a smiling young woman with black lipstick.
Valentine McWilliams

Valentine McWilliams graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing Concentration and a minor in Theater. She held leadership roles in several student organizations at MSU, including the Executive Board of TransAction and Transcended Caucus, Social Media Chair of the Alliance of Queer and Ally Students, and the Women’s Advisor Council to the VP for Student Affairs and Services. She also served as a Student Success Mentor with the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative (NSSC) and Peer Facilitator at the Queering Racial Justice Summit. 

McWilliams received a Gold Medal for Playwriting at MSU’s 2021 Creative Writing Contest for her play, A Rope for Petra. She also received the Estralita Johnson Ward & Lloyd D. Ward Scholarship and the Pride Endowed Scholarship.

Mary Claire Zauel 

Portrait of a smiling young woman in a white shirt.
Mary Claire Zauel

Mary Claire Zauel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing Concentration. She was a member of the Honor’s College and Sigma Tau Delta, in which she served as Vice President. Zauel participated in MSU Telecasters and worked as an Operations Manager at Impact 89FM. She was a Producer and Writer on Sideshow where she wrote, produced, and directed The Broom. 

Zauel also worked in the Department of Theater, where she wrote, directed, and acted in a variety of plays. Her original play, Season’s Greetings, was chosen to be a part of MSU’s Second Stage Playwriting Festival. She cast, produced, and directed the entire virtual production.  

Through a Global Remote Internship, Zauel worked with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, where she wrote articles and resource guides about filmmaking and interviewed prominent Irish directors. Zauel’s creative work has earned her a number of awards and scholarships, including the Arthur N. Athanason Scholarship in Creative Writing, MSU Creative Writing Award for Playwriting (Runner-up), MSU Creative Writing Award for Poetry (Winner), and the Creative Arts Scholarship.