RELS Students Receive Prizes and Awards

RELS celebrated the accomplishments of many students and faculty at an end-of-year celebration held on Thursday, April 27th.

After enjoying a spread of delicious food and a rousing game of Human Bingo, the department announced the recipients of the following prizes, honors, and awards:

Graduating Seniors

  • Gabriela Skovronsky (BA with honors), honors thesis: "Jewish Medical Ethics of CRISPR for Non Life-Threatening Diseases"
  • Cameron Sabet (BA/MA), MA paper: “The Sufi Seven: Exploring the Similarities and Differences Between The Conference of the Birds from Sufism on The Seven Valleys from the Bahá’í Faith.”

Dean's Scholars

  • Wes Matthews (RELS Minor)

Phi Beta Kappa Inductees

  • Julie Flandreau (RELS Minor)
  • Wes Matthews (RELS Minor)
  • Gabriela Skovronsky (RELS Major)

Ann Matter Prize for Best Paper in the History of Religions (departmental award)

  • Sarem Ahmed Khan Leghari, winner, for "Tensions in Transparency: Discourses on the 2018 Pakistan Transgender Protection Act"

Theta Alpha Kappa Clark Award (national essay competition in religious studies)

  • Dzung Than, runner-up, for "The Femininity of Religious Practices in Buddhism and Catholicism in Vietnam”

Israel Goldstein Award for Religious Studies (departmental award)

  • Sereina Ferguson, winner, for "Sister Poor & Brother Hope: A Contextualization of how City Politics Influences Student Religious Life in the Urban College-Campus Setting"

Merle Saunders Schaff Memorial Award (departmental award)

  • Lily Khabie, co-winner, for "Literary Artistry of Naming in the Bible"

  • Maggie Yuan, co-winner, for "Translation and the Construction of Gender in the Bible:

Ibn Sina Prize for Student Writing in Islamic Studies

  • Abdul Manan Bhat, winner, for "Touched By Gabriel’s Wing: Metapoesis, Islamic Revelatory Ecosystem, and Muḥammad Iqbāl”
  • Kaley Keener Zinaty, winner, for "Man! I Read Like a Woman: A Gendered Reading of Kitab al-Muntakhab fī ‘Uūl al-Rutab"
  • Cameron Sabet, honorable mention, for “The Sufi Seven: Exploring the Similarities and Differences Between The Conference of the Birds from Sufism on The Seven Valleys from the Bahá’í Faith.” 

A huge congratulations to all the winners!

"Human Bingo"
RELS Professors Jamal Elias and Donovan Schaefer play Human Bingo with Sereina Ferguson (L) and Tamia Harvey-Martin (second from left).
"Sereina Ferguson"
Sereina Ferguson receives her certificate.


"Maggie Yuan"
Maggie Yuan explains her paper topic.


"Lily Khabie"
Lily Khabie talks about her work.


"Dzung Than"
Dzung Than researches gender and religion in Vietnam when she isn't riding her motorcycle.


"Sarem Ahmed Khan Leghari"
Sarem Ahmed Khan Leghari talks about his work on transgender people and religion in Pakistan.


"Cameron Sabet"
Cameron Sabet receives applause for completing the dual BA/MA degree in Religious Studies.


"Gabriela Skovronsky"
Gabriela Skovronsky receives applause for completing an honors thesis in Religious Studies.


"Abdul Manan Bhat and Kaley Keener Zinaty"
Abdul Manan Bhat and Kaley Keener Zinaty celebrate their receipt of the Ibn Sina Prize with professor Jamal Elias.


Photo credits: Max Johnson Dugan