Announcing the 2015 Brian Bolton Graduate/Older Student Essay winners

The Freedom From Religion Foundation congratulates the eight graduate or “older” (ages 25-30) college students who won this year’s essay competition. FFRF, an educational state/church watchdog that has more than 23,000 members nationwide, has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994 and graduate students since 2010.

Students were asked to write 750 to 950 words on the topic of “Religion and violence: What is to blame for religious terrorism?”

Winners of the competition are listed below and include the award amount and college or university they are attending.

  • First place: Candace Kotulski, 30, Arizona State University ($3,000)
  • Second place: Benjamin Schwartz, 24, Columbia University ($2,000)
  • Third place: Alex Flitter, 26, Rutgers University ($1,000)
  • Fourth place: Emilee Prado, 26, University of Denver ($750)
  • Fifth place: Peter D.A. Wood, 27, Florida State University ($500)
  • Sixth place: Tara Clifford, 30, Marywood University ($400)

Honorable mentions ($200) each:

  • Sara Rose, 26, Oregon State University
  • Samuel David Capps, 29, Cornell University

“Our scholarships for students are FFRF’s investment in the future of freethought,” said Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “There are thousands of scholarships rewarding orthodoxy and hardly any rewarding critical thinking and the use of reason in evaluating religious claims.”

The winning essays for the graduate college contest will appear in the January/February issue of Freethought Today.

The competition is generously endowed by Brian Bolton, a Lifetime Member who is a retired psychologist, humanist minister and professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas.
FFRF also 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 of $8,650 reflects bonuses.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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