The Freedom From Religion Foundation has awarded and sincerely congratulates the 19 currently enrolled college students in this year’s essay competitions. Students were asked to write about the topic “Why I Don’t Believe in God” in 750 to 900 words. There were eight winners in the top five, with two ties for fourth place and a three-way tie for fifth place. There were also 11 honorable mentions. Scholarships totaled $11,050.
The late professor Michael Hakeem, a sociologist who was an FFRF officer and active atheist known by a generation of University of Wisconsin-Madison students, generously endowed the college essay competition. FFRF would also like to extend a special thanks to Dorea and Dean Schramm in Florida for providing each student with a $50 bonus, which was added to each total shown below.
First place ($3,000): Anne Clymer, 20, Champlain College.
Second place ($2,000): Daniel Munoz, 21, University of Texas-Austin.
Third place ($1,000): Rebecca Tippens, 23, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Fourth place ($500): Chelsey Shannon, 21, Kalamazoo College.
Fourth place ($500): Andrew Spalding, 24, Florida State University.
Fifth place ($300): Brieanna Kringlie, 18, University of Wyoming.
Fifth place ($300): Daniel Mark Davis, 19, College of the Redwoods.
Fifth place ($300): Justin Moss, 21, Pierce College in Lakewood.
Honorable mention ($200): Kevin Granger, University of Arizona.
Honorable mention ($200): Brandon Cooper, 21, Portland State University.
Honorable mention ($200): Diana Vasquez-Aliaga, 19, University of Arizona.
Honorable mention ($200): Ashley Bates, 20, University at Buffalo.
Honorable mention ($200): Sonia Cruz-Rivera, 19, University of Massachusettes-Lowell.
Honorable mention ($200): Megumi Kato, 19, Paul Mitchell: The School.
Honorable mention ($200): Megan Hanna, 20, Doane College.
Honorable mention ($200): Lillian Huebner, 18, University of Oregon.
Honorable mention ($200): Jake Raymond, 20, Michigan Technological University.
Honorable mention ($200): Parker Buel, 20, Columbus State Community College.
Honorable mention ($200): Emerson Hardebeck, 20, Arizona State University.
“We consider our student scholarships as among FFRF’s most important endeavors, to reward students for critical thinking,” said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. FFRF earlier this summer awarded $14,100 to 20 college-bound high school graduates.
FFRF is also announcing that it will be underwriting a $1,000 scholarship through Black Skeptics Los Angeles to be awarded in 2014. Black Skeptics will award scholarships to “five brilliant youths of color who are first-generation college students,” said Sikivu Hutchinson in July.
First- through fifth-place essays start on page 12. Honorable mention essays will run in future issues.
Winners of the graduate essay contest will be announced next month.