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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF awards $20K in Students of Color Essay Contest

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.”

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 one geared explicitly for students of color (this one) since 2016. A fifth contest for law school students debuts this year.

This contest is named for the late David Hudak, an FFRF member who left a bequest to generously fund a student essay contest.

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, $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,


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,


Honorable mentions ($200 each)

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

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

Isabelle Rosales, 21, Arizona State


Anoushka Shandilya, 17, UC-San Diego

Raven Yamamoto, 19, Loyola Mary      mount University

Essay contest