FFRF awards $9,450 to 2017 Essay Contest for Graduate/‘Older’ Students

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the 13 winners of the 2017 Brian Bolton Graduate/”Older” Student Essay Contest.

Graduate students were asked to write a personal persuasive essay on the topic, “Why religious liberty shouldn’t mean the right to impose your religion on others.”

After careful consideration, FFRF awarded six top prizes and seven honorable mentions.

Listed below are the winners, their ages, college or university they are attending and the award amount. FFRF has paid out a total of $9,450 in award money for this contest this year.

First place
Alexander Reamy, 22, grad student at Arizona State University ($3,000)

Second place
Isaac Haniff, 24, grad student at University of Illinois-Chicago ($2,000)

Third place
Jamie Pizzi, 25, grad student at Villanova University School of Law ($1,000)

Fourth place
Kelly O’Hay, 28, undergraduate at Alverno College ($750)

Fifth place
Michael Crawford, 22, grad student at Temple University ($500)

Sixth place
Ayoola White, 26, grad student at Simmons College ($400)

Honorable mentions ($200 each)

Peter Brown, 27, grad student at Columbia Business School
Jeffrey Fielder, 24, grad student at The Creative Circus
Sean Hansen, 26, undergraduate at Kettering University
Sarah Henry, 21, grad student at American University
Megan Oslund, 25, undergraduate at St. Catherine University
Jake Pierog, 27, undergraduate at University of Massachusetts-Boston
Alyssa Pires, 26, grad student at University of Arizona

The graduate/”older” student contest is generously and singlehandedly endowed by Lifetime Member Brian Bolton, a retired psychologist, humanist minister and professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas. The contest is open to graduate students up to age 30, or undergraduates ages 25-30.

FFRF also thanks Dean and Dorea Schramm of Florida for providing the $100 bonus to students who are members of a secular student club or the Secular Student Alliance. The total of $9,450 reflects those bonuses.

FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994 and graduate students since 2010, and this year made permanent a contest directed specifically to freethinking students of color.

In the October issue, FFRF announced the 18 winners of the Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Contest and the $11,200 it awarded to those students. In the September issue, FFRF announced the 17 winners of the William Schultz High School Essay Contest and the $10,150 it awarded to those students. In the August issue, FFRF announced the 14 winners of the David Hudak Memorial High School Contest for Students of Color and the $10,050 it awarded to those students. This is the final of the 2017 essay competitions. All told, FFRF awarded a record total of $39,850 to the student essayists this year.

Freedom From Religion Foundation