College Essay Contest winners announced

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to announce the 2016 Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Contest winners.

The list of awardees has seven top places and 13 honorable mentions from colleges located all over the country. Students were asked to write 700 to 900 words on the topic of “Why I am a freethinker.” FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994 and graduate students since 2010.

The winners of the competition are listed below and include the award amount, age and college or university they are attending. Students who are a member of a secular student group received $100 bonuses.

Adam Simmons, 19, University of Tennessee ($3,000)

Alex Reamy, 21, Arizona State University ($2,000)

Katherine Gramling, 19, University of Minnesota ($1,000)

Leah Kennedy, 22, New York University ($750)

Karl Yee, 19, University of Maryland ($500)

Elias Rodriguez, 22, University of Texas-Dallas ($500)

Adrick Tench, 21, Northwestern University ($400)

Cheyenne Barger, 19, Gannon University
Savannah Flusche, 23, Texas Woman’s University of Denton
William Gardner, 24, University of Delaware
Syd Gettier, 21, Notre Dame of Maryland University
James Harder, 23, Athabasca University
Camille Kaiser, 19, University of New Mexico
Jonathan Ortiz, 18, University of Florida
Fallon Rowe, 19, Utah State University
Aiden Sorge, 20, Arizona State University
Elizabeth Turovsky, 19, Barnard College
Manon von Mil, 24, Queen’s University
Camille Sanchez, 19, Pomona College
Alexis Serra, 20, Drexel University

Next to be announced will be the winners of FFRF’s graduate student essay competition.

The college contest is named for the late Michael Hakeem, a sociology professor who was an FFRF officer and active atheist known by generations of University of Wisconsin-Madison students for fine-tuning their reasoning abilities.

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 $11,450 reflects bonuses.

FFRF congratulates the 20 college students who won this year’s essay competition and wishes them all the best for their future endeavors.

Freedom From Religion Foundation