GWU Students Take Top Awards at National Alpha Chi Convention

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Christian Jessup and Hannah Ray Receive Scholarships

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— Members of Alpha Chi, a national collegiate honor society at Gardner-Webb University, earned top honors at the society’s national convention held recently in Louisville, Ky. Christian Jessup of Boiling Springs, N.C., won a Gaston Scholarship, and Hannah Ray of High Point, N.C., won a Nolle Scholarship.

The Gaston Scholarships, worth $3,000 each, are presented to the two highest-rated submissions at the convention. “We have never won a Gaston Scholarship before,” said Dr. June Hobbs, Professor of English, Director of Undergraduate Research and Alpha Chi sponsor. “Christian came in first of the 65 submissions with nearly perfect scores from all judges.”

Jessup, a senior music composition major, presented a paper describing the original score he wrote for the 1977 blockbuster, Star Wars, “New Music for a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” In addition to the scholarship, he also won the best presentation prize in the Art/Music/Dance papers category. His research for the project was funded by the GWU Undergraduate Research Scholars program.

Ray, a senior English major, presented an analysis of Emily Dickinson’s representation of death in her poetry. Her paper ranked fourth, and she received a $2,000 Nolle Scholarship, which is awarded to 10 students for the senior year of undergraduate study. Bekah Rhea of Knoxville, Tenn., a senior theatre arts major, won the best paper prize in the World Religions category for her study of children’s religious programming for Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu children.

Assistant sponsor Dr. Lorene Pagcaliwagan, GWU Associate Professor of French and Spanish, arranged to drive the students to the event after their flights were cancelled because of the weather. Other students who presented their research were:

  • AJ Horner, a senior business administration major from Moravian Falls, N.C.
  • Andrew Linzie, a senior mathematics major from Monroe, Ga.
  • Sarah Grace Moxley, a senior English major from Wake Forest, N.C.
  • Mallory Moore, a senior English major from Maurertown, Va.
  • Mariah Case, a senior biblical studies major from Boiling Springs, N.C.
  • Christopher Lile, a senior biology major from Waynesville, N.C.
  • Conner Bos, a senior economics/finance major from Holland, Mich.
  • Josiah Parke, a senior philosophy and theology major from Rutherfordton, N.C.
  • Matt Autrey, a senior Spanish major from Wake Forest, N.C.
  • Shaquavia Chiles, a senior English as a Second Language major from Greenville, S.C.
  • Tyler Helms, a junior journalism major from Boiling Springs, N.C.
  • Starr Tate, a senior nursing major from Gastonia, N.C.

“The executive director of national Alpha Chi approached me on the last day of the national conference to compliment our students for setting the gold standard for student presentations,” Hobbs offered. “Several other sponsors said much the same thing to me. Our students were notably more prepared, more practiced, and more confident than students from most other schools. I could not possibly be prouder of them.”

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.