Folsom wins Camden Conference essay contest

The Camden Conference has chosen the winners of the annual Bill Taylor Award for the high school level essay contest. Piscataquis Community High School student Taylor Folsom is the first-place winner for her essay related to the 2021 Camden Conference, “The Geopolitics of the Arctic.” Ryan Young of Brewer High School and Peyton Hadfield of Gould Academy were awarded a second-place tie for their essays.

Folsom opened her winning essay by comparing the Arctic to the Lost City of Atlantis, which the readers said was “very powerful…this imaginative and original thesis stimulated interest in the topic.” The readers also cited the essay’s cohesiveness, detailed background information and analysis as well as a “strong concluding paragraph” which held a plea for consideration of “people and planet over profit.”


Young focused on the impact of Russian climate policy in the Arctic and possible resolution of the conflicts the policy invites. The readers found Ryan’s thesis “concise, well focused and interesting.” 

Hadfield shared second place with what the readers called “an original and focused theme on the geostrategic importance of the Arctic in the plans of several governmental powers.”

No third place was awarded as the readers found that several essays were very close in quality.  

The Bill Taylor Award was created by its namesake in 2015 to promote student research. Taylor was a long-time Camden Conference supporter with a strong interest in education. The Education programs of the Camden Conference are designed to promote knowledge, perspectives, and dialogue opportunities on world affairs with high school and college educators and their students. Several Maine high schools and colleges offer academic courses based on the annual Conference topic. Twenty percent of the nearly 1,200 Conference attendees are high school and college students who receive Camden Conference scholarship funding to defray their registration cost. The students who enter the essay contest do not have to be enrolled in a Camden Conference course, but they do have to attend the Conference.

The Conference congratulates our winners and thanks all of the students who participated! The winning essays are posted on our website,

The mission of the Camden Conference is to foster informed discourse on world issues.

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