FFRF awards $6,400 in cash prizes to college essayists

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded cash scholarships totaling $6,400 to 15 currently enrolled college students for their winning essays in FFRF’s 2011 college essay competition. The topic was “Why I Am a Freethinker/Why I Am Not a Religionist.”
The $2,000 Michael Hakeem Memorial Award went to Nathan Held, 19, a sophomore studying philosophy, psychology and German literature at Ripon College, Wisconsin. His essay and all other winning essays are reprinted or excerpted in this issue (see pages 7–10).
Receiving $1,000 for her second-place essay was Clarke Knight, 19, a sophomore at Smith College, Massachusetts.
Awards of $500 each were designated in a tie for third place to Carlos Anderson, 21, a senior at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and Taylor McGill, 20, a junior at Rutgers University, New Jersey.
A tie for fourth place resulted in awards of $300 each to Simone Anter, 19, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, and Samantha Schrum, 19, attending Butte College in California.
Nine students each received $200 honorable mention awards: Casey Brescia, a sophomore at Buffalo State College, New York;
Hannah Burkhardt, 20, transferring to the University of California-San Diego;
David Cardoso, 23, a senior at Cal State-Sacramento;
Molly Hernandez, 21. a junior at Front Range Community College, Colorado;
Austin Johnson, 19, sophomore at Morehouse College, Georgia;
Gabrielle Monia, 20, a junior at the University of Oregon;
Sofia Ross Voloch, 20, Austin Community College, Texas;
Jacob Kovacs, 23, a junior at Evergreen State College, Washington; and
Vicky Weber, 21, a Ripon College senior.
“We consider scholarships to freethinking students as one of FFRF’s most important activities,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
FFRF has been offering a college competition for more than 30 years. Last year, in addition to offering its essay competition for college-bound high school seniors and a second to currently enrolled college students, FFRF debuted a competition for graduate and “older” (25 years and up) students. These winners will be announced in October.
FFRF thanks all the entrants for taking the time to write and offers either a school-year membership or a complimentary book to every eligible student.

Freedom From Religion Foundation