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Department ofReligious Studies

Student Awards

Several prizes and honors are awarded by the University and the various undergraduate colleges each year for exceptional research and service by Santa Clara students. We would like to honor and acknowledge those religious studies majors and minors who have earned the high regard of the department and the University.

Prize Descriptions and Awardees

Awarded annually to the religious studies major and, from 2003-2007, the religious studies minor, whom the Faculty of the Religious Studies Department deem to have the most distinguished academic records in the study of religion.

Year Name
2023 Alejandro Eros
2022 Molly Flood
2021 Alina Pincombe, Olivia Hill
2020 Cameron Heon
2019 Claire Dixon, Nick Nagy
2018 Katherine Tarrant
2017 Julie Dinh
2016 Gus Hardy
2015 Jonathan Homrighausen
2014 Vaniah Holtz
2013 Celina Mogan
2012 Brittany Adams
2011 Ember Cooke, Anna Paustenbach
2010 Hannah Palm, Kevin Schmitt
2009 Ashley Loetscher
2008 Jessica Coblentz (major), Maggi Van Dorn (major), Caitlin Lorley (minor), Kyle Ozawn (minor), Stephanie Paulus (minor)
2007 Kim McGiven (major), Kyle Stephenson (minor)
2006 Beth Lauck (major), Brandon Au (minor), Nicholas Cantrick (minor), Ryan Fante (minor), Courtney Marunda (minor)
2005 Chris Wall (major), Jon Heit (major), and Louise Hills (minor)
2004 Erin Nuccio (major) and Stephen Chesterton (minor)
2003 Craig McLane (major) and Victoria Mayes (minor)
2002 Alicia Ross and Charlotte Vallaeys
2001 Elizabeth Trippe
2000 Maureen Romani and Matthew Smith
1999 Kathleen Barrera and Thomas Zebrowski
1998 Kim Miller
1997 Mary Elena Gonzalez

This award is named in honor of Tennant Wright, S.J. It is awarded to the Religious Studies minor most proficient in the study of religion.

Year Name
2023 Mary Pat Peterson
2022 William Gagan
2021 Kristen Lee, Mary Maas, Lauren Schiek
2020 Francesca Navarro
2019 Kaitlin Wheeler
2018 Alana Beaton and Grant Pustelnik
2017 Meghan Carlsen
2016 Katherine Enos and Sophia Lyon
2015 Amia Nash
2014 Erin Callister, Edward Nugent
2013  Laura Snowden
2012 Tanya Schmidt
2011 Kiley Winsnes
2010 Benjamin Petrick
2009 Brandon Ashby

Awarded annually to the student whom the faculty of the Religious Studies Department deems to have written the finest senior thesis. Named in honor of long-time theology professor who exemplified fine scholarship and deep concern for students' lives.

Year Name
2023 Alejandro Eros
2022 Ramon Duran
2021 Kelby Uebelhor
2020 Bjorn Thyrring
2019  Nick Nagy 
2018 Katherine Meyer
2017 Julie Dinh and Paul Kenniston
2016 Bev Olivo
2015  Gina Pasquali: Applying Queen Insights into the Comparison of the Synophic Gospel and Matthew and Mark to the Gospel of John
2014 Katherine Burkhuch
2013  Tanushree Mondkar
2012 Paria Amini: The Green Movement and Exodus
2011  John Logan: Lonergan's Transcendental Method
2010  Anne Murphy-Hagan: Functionalism vs. Virtue: The Impact of Augustinian Marriage
2009  Kaitlin Thompson: The "Myth" of the Separation of Church and State or: How Some Baptists Stopped Worrying and No Longer Loved the Wall (Best Senior Paper), Heather Lynch (Best Senior Project), Ashley Loetscher: A Postcolonial Perspective of Revelation 12-14 (Honorable Mention)
2008  Christina Leone, Erotic Egalitarianism: Redeeming Paradise Through the Song of Songs
2007  Tessa Weston: Constructing a Unified Identity Out of Shared Oppression: How Dalit Theologians Interpret the New Testament in Response to the Postcolonial Environment in India, James Servino (Honorable Mention)
2006 Christine Bourey, Dialogues of Death: Considering the Transformation of Lepcha Religiosity
2005 Pearl Barros, Learning to Listen: An Analysis of Discrepancy Between "First World" and Two Thirds World Christian Feminist Biblical Studies
2004 Alejandra Lizardo, Adapting Mujerista Theology for Chicanas: Expanding Methodology
2003 Linda Stankovic, Post-Vatican II Parish Life in the United States
2002 Jessica Heller, An Ontology of Depression
2001 Patrick Schelble, Adoption Theology
2000 Meghan Curley, Traditional Symbols in Modern Culture
1999 Thomas Zebrowski II, A Thomistic Critique of C. S. Lewis' Defense of the Natural Law and
Ryan O'Malley, Scientific Knowledge and Religious Experience
1998 Son Pham, Tillich's Being-Itself and Buddha-Nature and
Kimberly Miller, Yearning for Being: Empowering Symbols in the Experience of Love
1997 Neal Arthur, A Theology of Life, Death and Resurrection

This award is named in honor of Professor Catherine Bell. It is awarded to Junior Religious Studies Majors for outstanding academic achievement.

Year Name
2023 Daniel Martinez, Laura Clark
2022 Alejandro Eros
2021 Ramon Duran
2020 Olivia Hill and Alina Pincombe
2019 Cameron Heon and Bjorn Thyrring
2018 Nick Nagy
2017 Katherine Meyer and Katherine Tarrant
2016 Julie Dinh
2015 Gus Hardy
2014 Jonathan Homrighausen
2013  Vaniah Holtz
2012 Celina Mogan
2011 Brittany Adams
2010 Mark Vetto
2009 Hannah Palm, Kevin Schmitt, Deepti Shenoy

Awarded annually to the student who has exhibited the greatest commitment to social justice. Inaugurated in 2003 to honor the retirement of a New Testament faculty member who exemplified the values of scholarship and service.

Year Name
2023 Emily Pachoud
2022 Vanessa Metti
2021 Gina Chavez, Abby Fafinski, Haley Howard, Tegan Smith
2020 Helen Kassa
2019 Ryan Sharek
2018 Grace Zimmerman
2017 Julie Dinh
2016 Jenna Lipman
2015 Ian Layton
2014 Joseph Alexander-Short, Celia Trujillo
2012 Andrew Hodun, Jahayra Molina, Tora Troop
2011 Mark Vetto
2010 Elizabeth Purner, Julie Arcaro
2009 Anne Rovzar
2008 Jessica Coblentz, Theodore Dykzeul and Kyle Ozawa
2007 Sarah Attwood and Megan Raimondi (Honorable Mention)
2006 Tessa Baker and Patrick Green
2005 Heidi Kallen
2004 Emily Sargent, Jacob David
2003 Erin Bishop, Kristin Love

These awards are presented to majors and minors who have an outstanding academic record and/or have made significant contributions to the department, the college, and the University.

2010   John Mahoney (major)
  Laura Martin (major)
  Elizabeth Purner (major)
  Nicole Sanfilippo (major)
  Maria Adelus (major)
  Alexandra Angel (major)
  Julie Arcaro (major)
  Andrea Carrera (major)
  Angela Cooke (major)
  Ryan Cooke (major)
  Ryan Dilag (major)
  Alison Gansert (major)
  Rebecca Hirsch (major)
  Lucy Kelly (minor)
  Claire O'Leary (minor)
  Anne Sobczak (minor)
  Maggie Spreitzer (minor)
  Rachel Barmore (minor)
  Sarah Esparza (minor)
  Stephanie Ma (minor)
  Bianca McNeil (minor)
  Monique Teixeira (minor)
2009 Sarah Cox Arredondo (major)
  Genevieve Kaplan (major)
  John Michael Reyes (major)
  Jeremy Scott Saline (major)
  Kaitlin Thompson (major)
  Sofia Aboitiz (minor)
  Julie Angelo (minor)
  Mary Tessa Brown (minor)
  Chad Dupic (minor)
  Jill Fitzsimmons (minor)
  Marie Gribble (minor)
  Sasha Kanick (minor)
  Noelle Lopez (minor)
  Jeana Williams (minor)
  Zachary Young (minor)
2008 Venessa DiCarlo (major)
  Elena Ebrahimian (major)
  Janet Ferree (major)
  Amanda Fowler (major)
  Gabriel Godwin (major)
  Nathaniel Hays (major)
  Molly Leaverton (major)
  Courtney Magner (major)
  Jessica Meyer (major)
  Caitlin Moran (major)
  Aislinn Wyatt (major)
  Caitlin Corley (minor)
  Kyle Ozawa (minor)
  Stephanie Paulus (minor)

Awarded annually to the student who has studied with the greatest number of faculty members in the Santa Clara University Religious Studies Department.

2011 Kevin Senefeld
2010 Mary Lou Terrazas
2007 Sarah Attwood and Angela Bustos
2006 Patrick Sauls
2005 Chris Wall
2004 Guillermo Carreon

Awarded annually to the student who has studied the greatest range of traditions offered at the Santa Clara University Religious Studies Department.

2010 Alison Gansert
2007 Tessa Weston and Lauren Clyne
2006 Stacey Rotta
2005 Jessica Rauff and Chris Wall
2004 Jason Crowley

Awarded annually to the students who pursue graduate studies in religion after graduating from our program.

2013 David Bibee
2010 Nicole Sanfilippo
2006 Patrick Sauls
2005 Jon Heit
2004 Alejandra Lizardo


Awarded to seniors who, out of a deep sense of compassion, have opened themselves up to learning and receiving from others to whom they will offer a year or more of direct volunteer service.

2010 Andrea Carrera, John Mahoney,   Deepti Shenoy, Anne Sobczak,  Alexandra Angel
2006 Richard Bersamina, Courtney Marunda, Jennifer Vollmann, Bryan Lorentz
2005 Chris Wall, Heidi Kallen, Ross Egge, and Anne Selak


Awarded to the student who has made the greatest contribution to the life of the department through support of academic and extracurricular activities.

2012 Zena Andreani
2006 Everett DePangher

Awarded to the student who has given exceptional service and support to the department's flagship Local Religion Project.

2007 Kara Miyasato


Awarded to the student who has demonstrated outstanding academic promise and a commitment to the values of the profession.

2015 Anthony Ferrari
2014 Seher Siddiqee
2012 Caroline Read


  • The Saint Clare Medal
Tanya Schmidt, (2012)
Noelle Lopez, minor (2009)
Jessica Coblentz, major (2008)
Anne Selak, major (2005)
  • Valedictorian
Brandon Ashby, minor (2009)
Christopher Wall, major(2005)
Rahima Saratore, minor
  • The Nobili Medal
Andrew Hodun, (2012)
George Barnidge, minor (2001)
  • The Richard J. Riordan Award (community service)
Jahayra Molina, (2012)
Zena Andreani, (2012)
Anne Rovzar, major (2009)
Tessa Baker, major (2006) 
Kristin Simms, major (2001)
  • The Ryland Prize (excellence in oratory and debate)
Khanh Bui, major (2001)
  • The Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. Award
Anne Murphy-Hagan (2010)
Heidi Kallan, major (2005)
  • The Markkula Prize
Jon Heit, major (2005) 
  • The Anthropology Program Award
Rita-Marie Brady, minor (June 2001)
  • Discover Interns

The Discover Summer Ministry Internship program is designed to help students to explore the rewards and demands of working on behalf of communities of faith.

Sarah Attwood 
Nicole Brand-Cousy 
Molly Leaverton
2006 - Jessica Meyer 
Megan Raimondi 
Sarah Attwood   
  • Donovan Fellows 

The Donovan Fellowship provides students with a cash grant of up to $1,500 to encourage and support students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice issues through a summer community-based learning experience.

2011 - Jahayra Molina
2006 - Theodore Dykzeul 
2006 - Stephanie Edwards 
2006 - Emory Lynch 
  • Arrupe Interns 

The Arrupe Internship is designed for students who have participated in several Arrupe Partnerships community-based learning experiences and who desire a richer and deeper experience in the community than the typical eight week commitment will allow.

2011 - Caroline Read
2007 - Jessica Meyer