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Outstanding Senior Wins Religious Studies Prize

Zane Vermette, left, accepts the Religious Studies Prize from professor Jason Bivins.

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Zane Vermette received the Religious Studies Prize in Honor of Professor W. Curtis Fitzgerald during a March 2, 2016 reception hosted by the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Vermette will graduate from NC State in December of 2016 with bachelor’s degrees in Religious Studies and History and intends to pursue graduate studies in religion.

Religious Studies professor Jason Bivins presented Vermette with the award, praising him for exploring the wide range of topics in the field of religious studies.

“Zane has proven himself able to work equally creatively in methodological investigations, historical archival work and a kind of broadly synthetic comparative approach to the study of religion,” Bivins said. “This is a tough act to pull off even as a master’s student and for Zane to do this so effectively as an undergraduate is I think a crisp exemplification of his intellectual gifts.”

Vermette said he originally intended to go to college to study divinity, but found he enjoyed the academic approach to religion and how it challenged his way of thinking.

“It opens you up to a world you usually don’t think about,” Vermette said. “Normally, you only know about one religion in your whole life, or just one way of thinking, and it opens you up to being able to look at other people and how they live their lives, to understand how the world works.”

Vermette said one of the highlights of pursuing religious studies at NC State has been the small class sizes, helping him to build relationships with his professors.

“They’ve all opened my mind in ways I wouldn’t have even thought of before, coming into college,” he said. “It’s just been a really enlightening experience.”

The Religious Studies Prize in Honor of Professor W. Curtis Fitzgerald is presented annually to the outstanding senior in Religious Studies and includes a cash award. The Department’s student awards are supported by alumni annual giving and gifts from friends of the Department.

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