FFRF grants scholarships to first-in-family college students


Five nontheistic students who are first in their families to attend college have received a total of $20,000 in a tuition relief scholarship program underwritten by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

This is the third annual distribution of the Forward Freethought Tuition Relief Scholarships, funded by generous FFRF benefactor Lance Bredvold in partnership with Black Skeptics Los Angeles. The group selected five winners from many applications, with three receiving $5,000 and two granted $2,500 each.

The scholarship recipients:
Bellen Padilla, 18, Scripps College ($5,000), aims to major in neuroscience, minor in Spanish and later attend medical school.
Kaylin Nelson, 17, University of Central Florida ($5,000), plans on majoring in social work.
Harini Pootheri, 18, Cal Poly Pomona ($5,000), is looking to switch majors to business administration, management and human resources.
Stephanie Avitia, 18, UC-Berkeley ($2,500), plans to major in bioengineering and minor in climate science.
Natasha Herrera, 17, UC-Irvine ($2,500), will be majoring in biological sciences.

FFRF has previously partnered with Black Skeptics Los Angeles in its annual “First in the Family” humanist scholarships for outstanding secular students of color. Black Skeptics is the first secular humanist atheist organization to consciously facilitate college education for youth of color through its ongoing scholarship, college and K-12 youth leadership partnerships. FFRF has proudly worked with the organization for eight years to provide tuition grants, gradually increasing the funding.

“FFRF is so impressed with these students and their achievements,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We wish these students all the best for their freethinking future.”

You may donate to the Forward Freethought Tuition Scholarships here. (Press “Tuition Scholarships” in the dropdown under “How would you like your donations to be used.”) Donations are deductible for income tax purposes.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 35,000 members across the country. FFRF protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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