Agnes Scott Students Receive Awards for Religious Study

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Agnes Scott College students—Lucia Hulsether, Natalie Stadnick and Chelsea Guenther—have received fellowships and awards that will help them further their education and experiences in the field of religion.

Hulsether and Stadnick, both class of 2011 at Agnes Scott, have received a 2010 Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Undergraduate Fellowship, which recognizes student leaders who are exploring ministry as a vocation.

Guenther, Agnes Scott class of 2010, was one of nine students representing six colleges and universities affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to receive the 2010 Samuel Robinson Award. The award also includes $500 for the college to use for faith initiatives on campus.

As FTE Undergraduate Fellows, Hulsether and Stadnick will each receive $2000 for tuition, other educational expenses or a self-designed experience related to ministry. They also are attending the 2010 FTE Leaders in Ministry Conference at Boston University School of Theology.

Tina Pippin, professor of religious studies at Agnes Scott, nominated Hulsether for the fellowship award, while The Rev. Kate Colussy-Estes, Julia Thompson Smith Chaplain at Agnes Scott, nominated Stadnick.

FTE Undergraduate Fellows are selected by a national committee of theological educators and church leaders. Students must be nominated by a professor, school administrator, pastor or campus minister; hold a minimum 3.0 grade point average; have an interest in pastoral ministry and demonstrate leadership in a church or school community.

FTE annually awards $1.5 million in fellowships and offers a network of support to gifted young people from all denominations and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Since 1954, FTE has awarded more than 6,000 fellowships; its alumni serve congregations, schools and communities around the world. The 2010 FTE Undergraduate Fellowship is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

Guenther’s selection for the Robinson award—which ranges from $2,500-$5,000—was competitive. Students have used Samuel Robinson Award proceeds for mission trips, transition to seminary or other graduate programs and to reduce educational debt. The program supports up to sixteen students per year.

The Samuel Robinson Award, which is open to students who are completing their junior or senior year of college at a Presbyterian-related college or university, was created from a gift made in 1956 naming the General Assembly, Princeton Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary to promote the memorization of the Westminster Shorter Catechism contained in The Book of Confessions.

In addition to memorizing and reciting the catechism—after which each student is presented with a study Bible provided by the Betty W. Chrisman Fund—each applicant is required to write a 2000-word original essay on an assigned topic. For the 2010 award, students were asked to select the question and answer pair from the catechism that speaks most directly to the Presbyterian Church today and explain why. Each essay is then evaluated by a team of experienced readers who are asked to consider how the student has incorporated the catechism and scripture in the discussion of the essay topic.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.