FFRF awards student essayists $7,850

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has announced the nine winners of its annual essay competition for graduate students or students over 25 in this year’s essay competition. Students were asked to write “Why the USA is not a ‘Christian Nation’ ” in 850 to 1,000 words. There were six winners in the top five, with a tie for fifth place. There were also three honorable mentions. Scholarships totaled $7,850.

FFRF Lifetime Member Brian Bolton, a retired psychologist, humanist minister and university professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas, very generously endows the graduate essay competition. First place ($3,000): 

Chris Calvey, 27, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Second place ($2,000): Nicole White, 22, Louisiana State University.

Third place ($1,000): Anna Kelly, 27, West Virginia University. 

Fourth place ($500): Max Lewis, 28, Brandeis University, Harvard Divinity School.

Fifth place ($300): Kristen Webster, 30, University of Virginia, College of William & Mary, University of Washington-Tacoma. 

Fifth place ($300): Kristina Beverlin, 26, University of Kansas. 

Honorable mention ($250): Daniel Urban, 33, University of South Alabama, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Honorable mention ($250): Jessica Abernathy, 30, San Francisco State University.

Honorable mention ($250): Roksana Stalinski, 25, University of Ottawa.

This year, FFRF awarded $33,000 in student scholarships, including $14,100 in the William J. Shultz High School Essay Contest, $11,050 in the Michael Hakeem College Essay Contest and $7,850 in the Brian Bolton Graduate/Mature Student Essay Contest.

FFRF would also like to thank Dorea and Dean Schramm for providing honorable mentions with a $50 bonus.

Freedom From Religion Foundation