FFRF awards $20,850 to 2019 students of color essay winners

2019 Students of Color

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the 30 winners of the 2019 David Hudak Memorial Students of Color Essay Competition for College Students.

FFRF has paid out a record total of $20,850 in award money for this contest this year. FFRF thanks Dean and Dorea Schramm of Florida for providing a $100 bonus to students who are members of a secular student club or the Secular Student Alliance. The total reflects those bonuses.

College students of color were asked to write a personal persuasive essay about “How being nonreligious has enhanced your life and how the secular community can better engage people of color.” This contest is named for the late David Hudak, an FFRF member who left a bequest to generously fund a student essay contest, for which FFRF is eternally grateful.

FFRF also thanks “Director of First Impressions” Lisa Treu for managing the details of this and the four other student essay contests and, of course, our “faithful faithless” volunteer and staff readers, including Don Ardell, Linda Aten, Dan Barker, Bill Dunn, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Judi Jacobs, Dan Kettner, Katya Maes, Gloria Marquadt, Dave Petrashek, Lauryn Seering and PJ Slinger.

FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994, grad students since 2010 and this particular one geared explicitly toward students of color since 2016. A fifth contest for law school students debuts this year.

Winners, their ages, the colleges or universities they are attending and the award amounts are listed below.

First place

  • Nicole Li, 18, Yale University, $3,500

Second place

  • Kea Ravi, 19, Ohio State University, $3,000

Third place

  • Donovan Henderson, 18, Georgia Institute of Technology, $2,500

Fourth place

  • Mika Kat, 20, Nova Southeastern University, $2,000

Fifth place

  • Yeh Seo Jung, 18, Swarthmore College, $1,500

Sixth place

  • Colleen Avila, 17, Washington University, $1,000

Seventh place

  • George Olea-Romo, 18, UC-San Diego, $750

Eighth place (tie)

  • Adonis Logan, 19, Centre College, $500
  • Anagha Sreevals, 18, George Mason University, $500

Ninth place (tie)

  • Leyma Hernandez, 18, Arizona State University, $400
  • Elisa Nicolini, 20, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, $400

Tenth place (tie)

  • Javohn Dyer, 18, Michigan State University, $300
  • Kimberly Perez, 21, Duke University, $300

Honorable mentions ($200 each)

  • Camryn Beaco, 19, DePaul University
  • Raimundo Farmer, 19, Claremont McKenna College
  • Evan Flemming, 19, Fisk University
  • Jessie Garcia, 18, Rutgers University
  • Kenneth Gonzalez Santibanez, 19, Princeton University
  • Tea Floyd, 18, Columbia College Chicago
  • Jamiah Hawkins, 18, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Kathy Ho, 18, University of Tulsa
  • Asha Johnson, 18, Howard University
  • Nolan Mangal, 18, Baylor University
  • Kaylin Moss, 19, Marist College
  • Sarah Niles, 18, UC-Santa Cruz
  • Pari Parajuli, 18, UC-Berkeley
  • Jas Perry, 21, CUNY Hunter College
  • Isabelle Rosales, 21, Arizona State University
  • Anoushka Shandilya, 17, UC-San Diego
  • Raven Yamamoto, 19, Loyola Marymount University

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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