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Seton Hall University

Summer Reading

2017 Summer Reading Book: Hidden Figures 

Hidden Figures

This year's book is Hidden Figures
by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Summer Reading Essay Contest

Every Summer freshmen are encouraged to participate in an essay contest about the book. The winner receives a text book voucher of $400.00 to the University Bookstore.

Prompt: Black women working in science were “hidden figures” of the American space race. Who are today’s “hidden figures”? Draw a parallel between the experiences of today’s hidden figures and those of the women whose stories are chronicled in our summer reading. Use specific examples from Hidden Figures and from your experiences or reading to identify a key parallel or parallels. Use this analysis to come to a conclusion about some aspect of what it means to be hidden, what allows people to remain hidden or, conversely, to become visible. If you choose to write about gender or race as continuing places where people remain hidden, use your analysis to explain why this continues today.

Respond in an essay of 2-3 typed pages (please use double spacing and 12-point font). Use evidence from the book to support your point of view. All quotes from the text must be cited with page numbers.

Please submit your entry by August 11, 2017. All submissions should be saved with your first and last name and attached in a Microsoft Word document. Please email your essays to Winners will be announced at Convocation on August 27, 2017.


1 First Place Winner will receive a $400 gift card to the Seton Hall bookstore
2 Honorable Mentions will each receive a $100 gift card to the Seton Hall bookstore

Summer Reading Program

Seton Hall University's first year students begin their common learning experience in the summer before their freshman year when they participate in the Summer Reading Program. Since 2003, incoming freshmen have been required to read a text that is selected for its ability to generate thoughtful discussion. The nominated text is then discussed in all ENGL 1201 and University Life classes, and some CORE 1101 classes. The Summer Reading Program not only introduces students to academic life at SHU, but also fosters student engagement. 

Previous Selections:

  • 2016: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
  • 2015: The Ledge by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan
  • 2014: Radium Girls by D.W. Gregory
  • 2013: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • 2012: This I Believe
  • 2011: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Jennifer Skloot
  • 2010: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • 2009: Listening is an Act of Love by Dave Isay
  • 2008: Left to Tell by Imaculee Ilibagiza
  • 2007: The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
  • 2006: The Poetry of Billy Collins
  • 2005: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
  • 2004: Sounds of the River by Da Chen
  • 2003: An American Story by Debra Dickerson
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