Top Seniors Win Department Awards

Harrison Payne, Jesse Young and Britton Noel

The NC State Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies celebrated the academic achievements of its top seniors at its annual Student Awards Reception on February 28. Three awards were presented by faculty members who had worked closely with the award winners.

The winner of the Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative Award, otherwise known as the LACSI Award, was Britton Noel, who received the award from Catherine Driscoll, associate professor of philosophy. This award goes to the outstanding senior in the B.S. in Philosophy with a Concentration in Logic, Representation and Reasoning, the signature academic program in the Department’s Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative. Britton, who is also registered for the minor in biological sciences, has been the Department’s Peer Mentor in Philosophy for 2017/18. After graduating in May 2018, he will be taking up residency at the North Carolina Zen Center for the summer of 2018 before he begins an M.S. in Clinical Counseling at East Carolina University in the fall.

The Philosophy Prize in Honor of Professor Robert S. Bryan goes to the outstanding senior in our other major programs in philosophy. The winner was Harrison Payne, who received the award from Marina Bykova, professor of philosophy. Harrison will be graduating with a B.S. in Philosophy, a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Mathematics in December 2018. He is aiming to go on to a doctorate in philosophy of physics combined with a master’s in mathematics and to conduct research on large scale spacetime structure and the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics.

The Religious Studies Prize in Honor of Professor W. Curtis Fitzgerald goes to the outstanding senior majoring in religious studies. The winner was Jesse Young, who received the award from Levi McLaughlin, assistant professor of religious studies. Jesse has been the Department’s Peer Mentor in Religious Studies for 2017/18. He will be graduating with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures with a Concentration in Spanish in May 2018. Jesse is going on to an M.A. in Religious Studies. He has already been accepted by two excellent programs, but is waiting to hear from a third before making a decision. In the longer term, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a career in academia.

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

Britton: “The philosophy program at NC State has vastly improved my reading comprehension, writing skills and ability to reason.”

Harrison: “NC State’s philosophy program has taught me to navigate the nuances of correct analytical thinking, never to underestimate the difficulty and complexity of a seemingly easy problem and to communicate as simply and concisely as possible. Because of this program, I feel that I can better understand not only philosophy, but also humanity and, ultimately, the universe. Most of all, learning how to do philosophy intelligently at NC State has made me happy.”

Jesse: “I would say that the main way I have benefited from the religious studies program is through the excellence of the faculty. NC State’s religious studies faculty are not only very knowledgeable, but also dedicated and helpful. I have learned a lot from them in my classes, but I’ve also received a great deal of advice and support through one-on-one interactions outside of class.”

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