FFRF Awards $4,100 to Winning College Essayists

The winners of the 2007 annual college freethought essay competition have been announced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The Phyllis Stevenson Grams Memorial winner is Danielle Jones-Pruett, who received $2,000 for her winning essay, “The Evolution of an Outlaw, or How I Became a Freethinker.” Ms. Jones-Pruett is a senior at Jacksonville State University Ala., working on a bachelors in psychology and English literature. She plans to attend graduate school.

Winning $1,000 for his second-place essay is Morgan Grossman-McKee, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis and Lien Honorary Scholar. Mr. Grossman-McKee is pursuing a joint BA/MA program in economics. His essay is titled “Veritism.”

Mary Peterson received $500 for her essay, “Rescuing the Perishing,” which placed third. She is a senior at the University of South Dakota, who plans to go on to earn a clinical doctorate in audiology.

All three top-placing essays are published in September’s issue of Freethought Today.

The Foundation judges also awarded six discretionary Honorable Mentions, carrying $100 scholarship awards.

The Honorable Mention essays, which will be reprinted or excerpted in subsequent issues, are:

“My Long Apostasy,” by Eric R. Schmidt, University of Wisconsin- Madison.

“My Life Without God,” by Yekaterina Bachko, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

“Evolution of a Freethinker: Catholic Education Forcing Young Minds to Deal with an Irrational Philosophy,” by Paul Harang, Louisiana State University.

“Fathers and Sons,” by David Fletcher, Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich. (David has started a Secular Student Alliance chapter at his Catholic college.)

Fervor, Fraud and Foolishness,” by Anant Agarwalla, Duke University.

“Rejecting Religion, Embracing Human Rights and Dignity,” by J. Kirby, Goddard College.

“We think the two annual essay competitions geared to young freethinkers are an investment in the future, and among the most important outreach programs conducted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” said Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor.

“We salute this year’s winners, thank everyone who entered, and will announce next year’s topic and guidelines in February,” said Dan Barker, Foundation co-president.

Freedom From Religion Foundation