Freedom from religion foundation, Inc | Subscribe
Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

2018 graduate students essay contest winners

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the 15 winners of the 2018 Brian Bolton Graduate/“Older” Student Essay Contest.

Graduate students were asked to write a personal persuasive essay about “The dangers of bibliolatry in the United States.” 

FFRF has paid out a total of $10,450 in award money for this contest this year. This is the last of the 2018 essay competitions. FFRF awarded a record total of $46,750 to the student essayists this year among the four different competitions.

Winners are listed below and include the award amount and the college or university they will be attending.

First place

Clayborne Cook,  26, University of Pittsburgh ($3,000)

Second place

Kelly Chen, 22, University of Alabama School of Medicine ($2,000)

Third place

Samuel Davidson, 22, California Institute of Technology ($1,000)

Fourth place

Tricity Andrew, 27, North Carolina State University ($750)

Fifth place

Jarred McCleese, 26, University of Kentucky ($600)

Sixth place

Garrett Dare, 28,  University of Oregon ($500)

Seventh place

Nat Rogers, 24, Johns Hopkins University ($400)

Honorable mentions ($200 each)

Shelby Burton, 26, Touro University Nevada

Elizabeth Cullen, 29, Michigan State University

Meghan Fuller, 26, Purdue University Global

Andrew Haws, 31, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Richard Lyda, 30, Winthrop University

Ethan Morrow, 21, University of Missouri-Columbia

Ashley Podplesky, 28, University of

Graduate student essay contest


Elizabeth Ruelle, 28, College of Creative Studies

The graduate/“older” student contest is generously and singlehandedly endowed by Life Member Brian Bolton, a retired psychologist, humanist minister and professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas. The contest was open to graduate students up to age 30 or undergraduates ages 25-30 at the time of entry.

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 reflects those bonuses.

FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994, graduate students since 2010 and since 2017 a contest geared specifically to students of color.