Winners of the 2019 William J. Schulz Memorial Essay Contest for College-Bound High School Seniors

This contest is now closed. Please return in the Spring of 2020 for updated scholarship information.

First Place Prize: $3,500
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,500
Fourth Place Award: $2,000
Fifth Place Award: $1,500
Sixth Place Award: $1,000
Seventh Place Award: $750
Eighth Place Award: $500
Ninth Place Award: $400
Tenth Place Award: $300
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

2019 High School / College Essay Winners

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 William Schulz High School Essay Contest, with $17,750 in scholarship money being awarded this year.

College-bound high school seniors were asked to write an essay based on this prompt: “Why we must rely on ourselves, not God, to solve the world’s problems.” To defend this thesis, they were encouraged to analyze one or two global or personal challenges. After reviewing more than 200 essays, FFRF awarded 10 top prizes and nine honorable mentions. Winners are listed below and include the college or university they’ll be attending, plus the award amount.

First place
Aline Pham, 17, (UC-Irvine) $3,500

Second place
Jacob McGee, 18, (Rollins College, Fla.) $3,000

Third place
Shiv Shah, 18, (Arizona State University) $2,500

Fourth place
Thomas Ballinger, 16, (Washington State University) $2,000

Fifth place
Milo Shields, 17, (Tufts University) $1,500

Sixth place
Zoe Nussbaum, 17, (University of Southern California) $1,000

Seventh place
Madison “Matt” Mastrolia, 18, (Rutgers University-New Brunswick) $750

Eighth place
Samuel Talbott, 18, (Millsaps College, Miss.) $500

Ninth place
Ethan Forde, 18, (Marquette University, Wis.) $400

Tenth place
Katie Scroggs, 18, (University of Rhode Island) $400

Honorable mentions ($200 each)

  • Angeline Ajit, 16, (University of North Texas)
  • Talia Bank, 18, (Macalester College)
  • Alyssa Boynton, 18, (New College of Florida)
  • Kaitlyn Cochenour, 18, (Youngstown State University)
  • Matt Giles, 18, (University of Rochester)
  • Natalyn Groke, 17, (University of Utah)
  • Sofie Iwamasa, 17, (Case Western Reserve University)
  • Ben Keane, 18, (Stanford University)
  • Anna Miller, 18, (Bryn Mawr College)

Freedom From Religion Foundation