2015 Brian Bolton Graduate or ‘Older’ College Essay Contest winners

FFRF awards $8,650 to student essayists

FFRF congratulates the eight graduate or “older” (ages 25-30) college students who won last year’s essay competition. FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994 and graduate students since 2010.

Students were asked to write 750 to 950 words on the topic of “Religion and violence: What is to blame for religious terrorism?” Recipients, scholarship amounts and schools are:

  • First place: Candace Kotulski, 30, Arizona State University ($3,000)
  • Second place: Benjamin Schwartz, 24, Columbia University ($2,000)
  • Third place: Alex Flitter, 26, Rutgers University ($1,000)
  • Fourth place: Emilee Prado, 26, University of Denver ($750)
  • Fifth place: Peter D.A. Wood, 27, Florida State University ($500)
  • Sixth place: Tara Clifford, 30, Marywood University ($400)

Honorable mentions ($200) each:

  • Sara Rose, 26, Oregon State University
  • Samuel David Capps, 29, Cornell University

“Our scholarships for students are FFRF’s investment in the future of freethought,” said Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “There are thousands of scholarships rewarding orthodoxy and hardly any rewarding critical thinking and the use of reason in evaluating religious claims.”

The competition is generously endowed by Brian Bolton, a Lifetime Member who is a retired psychologist, humanist minister and professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas. FFRF also thanks Dean and Dorea Schramm of Florida for providing a $100 bonus to students who are members of a secular student club or the Secular Student Alliance. The total of $8,650 reflects bonuses.

Freedom From Religion Foundation