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Top Seniors in Philosophy and Religious Studies Win Awards

Austin Olander, Winner of the Philosophy Prize, and Kyle Kentopp, Winner of the Religious Studies Prize

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The NC State Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies celebrated the academic achievements of its top seniors at its annual Student Awards Reception on March 1, 2017. Two awards were presented by faculty members who had worked closely with the award-winners.

The winner of the Philosophy Prize in Honor of Professor Robert S. Bryan was Thomas Austin Olander, who received the award from Gary Comstock, Professor of Philosophy. Austin hopes to go on to graduate school in philosophy and eventually find a career in which he can combine his knowledge of philosophy with his love of computers and future technologies.

The winner of the Religious Studies Prize in Honor of Professor W. Curtis Fitzgerald was Kyle Greyson Kentopp, who received the award from Jason Bivins, Professor of Religious Studies. Kyle graduated with a B.A. in Religious Studies in May 2017 and will be pursuing a Master of Divinity at Yale.

Asked how they have benefited from their departmental majors, here’s what the prizewinners said.

Austin: “Philosophy at NC State has given me the opportunity to make use of my intellectual abilities in a way that no other subject has—by not limiting me to exploring questions of what is, but allowing me to explore what could be. I can’t think of any other field where an active imagination and an ability for analytic thinking can be exercised so well in complement to one another. This program has made that exercise all the more enjoyable, particularly for me, with its staff and students who always keep an open mind, and who so gladly share in that enjoyment.”

Kyle: “The Religious Studies program at NC State is challenging because our professors love to dive into controversial religious issues in a way that asks us to look at them from all sides. More than anything, this program has taught me to explore and articulate nuance on issues that are often reduced to a single characteristic or stereotype.”

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