Top Students Win Department Prizes

Thomas Long and Abby Scheper

The NC State Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies held its annual Student Awards Reception on the afternoon of March 4. The purpose of the reception was to recognize, reward and celebrate the achievements of top seniors in philosophy and religious studies graduating during 2020. Two awards were presented by faculty members who had worked closely with the award winners.

The Philosophy Prize in Honor of Professor Robert S. Bryan goes to the outstanding senior majoring in philosophy. The winner was Abby Scheper, who received the award from Veljko Dubljevic, assistant professor of philosophy. Abby, who was a Park Scholar, completed her undergraduate degree Summa Cum Laude in May 2020, earning a B.A. in Philosophy with a Concentration in Philosophy of Law. She also completed minors in Art & Design, Genetics and Health, Medicine & Human Values. In Fall 2020 she will enter the University of Virginia’s Law School, where she plans to specialize in health law and medical ethics.

The Religious Studies Prize in Honor of Professor W. Curtis Fitzgerald goes to the outstanding senior majoring in religious studies. This year’s winner was Thomas Long, who received the award from Bill Adler, distinguished university professor of religious studies. Thomas will be graduating in December 2020 with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a B.A. in English with a Concentration in Literature. He plans to go on to a graduate program in religious studies after completing his degree. 

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

Abby: “My time in the NC State Philosophy program has really been invaluable to me. All of my professors have taken a genuine interest in both me as a person and in my work, and they have advanced my philosophical skills greatly. I think the beauty of philosophy is that it teaches you an entirely different way of thinking that encourages nuance in argumentation, and having honed that skill here at State, I know I am prepared to take on whatever my next step in life is.”

Thomas: “I went to college after graduating from high school, but I had to leave after only three semesters for medical treatment, and did not return to college for another three and a half years. During that time I became interested in the study of religion through reading the works of Tolstoy, having had no interest in the subject until my twenty-second year. I began to study religious works whenever I had free time, but I did not learn the method of properly studying them, and did not find a mentor who could guide me in my study, until I returned to college at NC State, this time majoring in religious studies. The mentors I found were Dr. Adler in the religious studies department and Dr. Kasper-Marienberg in the history department, without whom I would not have learned profitably during my time at the university.”

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