New Yorker Caption Contest Winner a Drury Freshman

New Yorker

Drury University freshman Kyle Johnson, an accounting major from central Illinois, won this week’s New Yorker caption contest. Johnson wrote the caption as part of a regular exercise in Dr. Jeff VanDenBerg’s political satire class, which is one of several course topics students can choose from for their first-year experience in the Your Drury Fusion curriculum.

“When I found I was one of three finalists, I read the email and jumped out of my chair and called my mom,” Johnson says. “She was probably more excited than I was.”

Each week, readers across the world submit captions for New Yorker cartoons. Editors choose three finalists and readers vote for their favorite. The cartoon with Johnson’s winning caption is attached.

“Out of everyone that entered that week, to know mine was voted the best – that’s fun to think about,” he says.

Vandenberg says the class on satire challenges freshmen students to think about political issues in a way that goes beyond typical coursework. They focus on questions such as how satire affects participation and voting rates and the ways in which it might contribute to the public’s political knowledge. For their final hands-on project, students create their own satirical publication in the vein of The Onion.

“Political satire has become a growing academic subject of study,” Vandenberg says. “I like it because it’s a way to talk about big issues but also have some fun. We study satire but we also make it, so there’s a creative element as well.”

Johnson is a native of Eureka, Illinois. In addition to studying accounting and business, he is a student-athlete on the cross country and track teams. After graduation he hopes to pursue a career in forensic accounting. His older brother Colten also attends Drury.

Founded in 1873, Drury University blends academic and pragmatic studies taught within a collaborative and personalized setting. Drury’s new academic program, Your Drury Fusion, uniquely prepares students for life and career by integrating theoretical learning with real-world projects and problems in order to empower students to develop intellectually and gain marketable competencies. Learn more at: drury.edu/fusion.