2021 BIPOC student essay contest winners
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the 13 top winners and 11 honorable mentions of the 2021 David Hudak Memorial Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color Student Essay Competition.
FFRF has paid out a total of $22,900 in award money for this contest this year.
BIPOC students were asked to write a personal persuasive essay about “What I would tell my family or friends about my atheism or nonbelief.”
“The quality of the essays this year was one of the best in memory and, because of that, deciding the winners was extremely difficult,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It was a pleasure reading these.”
Winners, their ages, the colleges or universities they are attending and the award amounts are listed below.
Galilea Baca, 18, Collin Community
Shreyas Karki, 21, Rice University,
THIRD PLACE (tie)
Everett Viego, 20, University of Texas,
Fadima Tall, 20, Rollins College,
FOURTH PLACE (tie)
Tylinn Wilson, 19, Wichita State
Philip Haynie, 18, Hampton
Davina Boison, 19, University of
North Carolina, $1,500.
Alina Sokolova, 19, Concordia
SEVENTH PLACE (tie)
Jade Garza, 18, University of
Texas – San Antonio, $750.
Sumaiyah, 19, $750.
Scarly Michelle Benitez-Carbajal, 19 New York University, $500.
Luca Ng, 20, Iowa State University,
Name is being withheld upon request.
HONORABLE MENTIONS ($200 each)
Caitlin Guidry, 19, Houston
Angie Hayes, 18, University of
Grecia Hingst, 22, Loyola University
Jaromir Sashi, 18, University of
Daphne Moon, 18, Art Institute of
Christopher Nava, 19, University of
Suly Ramirez, 20, University of
Aerahan Skanthakumar, 18,
University of Illinois.
Cole Songster, 19, Knox College.
Joanna Tapia, 21, Bradley University.
Nadiyah Williams, 19, Georgia
Institute of Technology.
FFRF also thanks “Director of First Impressions” Lisa Treu for managing the details of this and FFRF’s other student essays competitions. And we also would like to thank our “faithful faithless” volunteer and staff readers and judges, including: Don Ardell, Dan Barker, Bill Dunn, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Linda Josheff, Dan Kettner, Sammi Lawrence, Katya Maes, Gloria Marquardt, Amit Pal, Dave Petrashek, Sue Schuetz, PJ Slinger, Mandisa Thomas, David Tomayo, Karen Lee Weidig, Jenny Wilson and Casandra Zimmerman.
FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979, high school students since 1994, grad students since 2010, one geared explicitly for students of color since 2016 and a fifth contest for law students since 2019.