Awards Ceremony and Graduation 2021

Awards Ceremony and Graduation 2021

In the past few weeks, we held two events commemorating the end of the 2020-2021 academic year–a year that was obviously beset with unprecedented challenges but that also demonstrated the resilience and capability of our wonderful students.

On April 28th, we held our annual awards ceremony in which we celebrated the achievements of our undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Worthy of special note were Eden Teichman, who was acknowledged (again) for winning the Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Award, as well as both Eden Teichman and Robert Rhinehart, who were co-recipients of the Boyd Prize for outstanding achievement by a senior undergrduate major. Among our graduate students, Emily Branton received both the Peck Teaching Award (as recognized by the faculty) and the Peer Recognition Teaching Award. We also noted the many book publications of our faculty over the past two years.

Awards 2021

2021 Year-End Awards Ceremony

May 14th was the date of our graduation ceremony. In addition to hearing a message from our department chair, Dr. Barbara Ambros, for our graduating seniors, we also acknowledged the names of our graduates, including those whose academic achievement earned them membership in the Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society. The event concluded with an extended time for faculty and students to interact over conversation in smaller groups.

Grad 2021

Message to Graduating Seniors from our Chair, Dr. Barbara Ambros

Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News, News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on May 22, 2021. Bookmark the permalink.

2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium

2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium

On Tuesday, April 13th, our department held its first ever Undergraduate Research Symposium, featuring presentations from six of our undergraduates: Olivia Giroux, Caleb Cooke, Jude Peppers, Robert Rhinehart, MaryBeth Thomas, and Eden Teichman. The goal of the symposium is to provide a setting to showcase the creative work of students in a welcoming and scholarly environment. By any measure, the symposium was a great success, demonstrating the wide scope of exciting research being done by our undergraduates.

Prof. Youssef Carter with the opening remarks

Dr. Bert Harrill, Professor of History and Classics at Ohio State and a UNC RELI alum

The program for the symposium

The symposium concluded with the announcement of the annual Halperin-Schütz Essay Prize, which was awarded to Eden Teichman (one of our symposium presenters) for a paper titled “Am I One with God? How the Sufi Path According to al-Hujwiri and al-Qushayri Assesses a Sufi’s Ability to Become One with God,” written in an upper-level seminar with Prof. Carl Ernst. Congratulations, Eden!

Prof. David Lambert presenting the Halperin-Schütz Essay Prize

Eden Teichman

Posted in Undergraduate Accomplishments on May 4, 2021. Bookmark the permalink.

RELI Undergraduate Awards for 2020

RELI Undergraduate Awards for 2020

Our department is pleased to announce the following undergraduate awards for 2020:

Alexandra Barnes has been chosen as the recipient of the Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize in Religious Studies, which is a $500 award given annually for academic achievement by a senior religious studies major or double major. Alexandra is a double major in Religious Studies and History (with a concentration in US history) who intends to complete a gap-year internship after graduation with the chaplains at the hospice house in her hometown. She is also considering pursuing further education in religious studies at a divinity school.

Quinn Eury and Olivia Giroux are co-recipients of the Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Award. This essay competition recognizes outstanding undergraduate scholarship in the study of religion, as evidenced by a paper written in a Religious Studies or Jewish Studies class, or by a part of a senior honors thesis. It also comes with a monetary prize.

Quinn Eury (essay title: “Transgressive Gendered Behavior and the Stability of Ma’at”) is a senior Archaeology and Anthropology double major whose main interests include zooarchaeology, conflict archaeology, and houseplants. Olivia Giroux (essay title: “A Broken System: Redefining Mental Healthcare for Muslim Women in America”) is a junior and a double major in Biology and Religious Studies; her areas of interest range from ancient religions to the intersection of science and religion in the modern world.

While we are disappointed that we will not be able to hold our usual awards ceremony this year, we are keeping open the possibility of recognizing these students at a future event. We extend them our warmest congratulations!

Posted in Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 15, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.

Congratulations, 2019 Graduates!

Congratulations, 2019 Graduates!

2019 RELI Grads

Despite an earlier forecast of thunderstorms, the weather held up long enough for us to conduct our departmental ceremony for graduating seniors at the steps of Carolina Hall!

We are so proud of all the graduates of our Religious Studies program, who have impressed us in countless ways both in and outside the classroom. We congratulate you on this joyous day, and it was especially wonderful to be able to share part of it with your family and friends. We wish you every success in your paths ahead!

Posted in Undergraduate Accomplishments on May 12, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

Departmental Honors Event and Awards Ceremony

Departmental Honors Event and Awards Ceremony

On Wednesday, April 17, our department held two events celebrating the achievements of our students and faculty.

The first was an Honors Event that recognized the undergraduate students who completed a Senior Honors Thesis this year as well as those seniors whose academic excellence was sufficient to earn membership into Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honors Society for students in the fields of religious studies and theology. The Honors Thesis writers each gave a description of their research, while the Theta Alpha Kappa inductees received certificates, pins, and cords to mark their achievement.


Students describing their honors theses: Kristen Roehrig, Brodie Heginbotham, and Ashley Cantu


The presentation of certificates, pins, and cords

The second was our annual Awards Ceremony, in which we acknowledged the various achievements of our undergraduates, graduate students, as well as faculty. This year we had a number of honored guests, including former faculty members in our department, who joined to add special meaning to the ceremony. A great time was had by all.


Our department chair, Barbara Ambros, welcoming everyone


Display table with memorabilia


Time of refreshments afterwards

Posted in Events, Faculty News, Graduate Student News, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 30, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

2019 RELI Majors Dinner

2019 RELI Majors Dinner

On Wednesday, February 6, we held our annual RELI Majors Dinner in Graham Memorial Hall. This event brings together a group of our current undergraduate majors along with faculty and graduate students over a delicious meal, great conversation, and a shared sense of how we have been enriched through the field of religious studies. This year we were especially fortunate to be joined by Brigid Grabert, a former RELI grad and now a doctoral candidate at UNC’s Gillings School of Public Health. A great time was had by all!


Our guest speaker for the evening, Brigid Grabert


Some of our wonderful RELI students before the dinner


Listening to remarks from Brigid Grabert

Posted in Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on February 13, 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

2018 Department Awards Ceremony

2018 Department Awards Ceremony

On Wednesday, April 18, the department held its annual awards ceremony at which we celebrated the accomplishments of our students and faculty over the past year. The ceremony was held in the Graduate Student Center and was followed by a wonderful time of conversation over refreshments. The many recognitions we noted that day include:

Undergraduate Student Awards:

Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Awards:

Ingrid Kottke, “Witchcraft as Crime in the Treatises of King James VI and I and Matthew Hopkins”

Sydra Siddiqui, “Narratives of Healing and Personhood in Indian and Tanzanian Society”

Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize: Sydra Siddiqui

Graduate Student Awards:

Peck Prize for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence: Miguel Vargas

Religious Studies Department Summer Research Awards:

Isaiah Ellis,“American Architecture and American Religion: A Case Study in the Spiritual Valences of the Urban West”

Joanna Smith, “Secrecy, Limits, and the Configuration of Bodies at the Modern Slaughterhouse”

GSOC Peer Recognition Teaching Award: Ehsan Sheikholharam  


Posted in Faculty News, Graduate Student News, News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 26, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Awards

Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Awards

Announcing the winners of the Halperin-Schütz Undergraduate Essay Award:

Named in honor of David J. Halperin (Rabbinic Judaism) and John Howard Schütz (New Testament), former faculty members of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Religious Studies who were influential on a generation of students through their interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching, this essay competition recognizes undergraduate scholarship in the study of religion.

The winners are Ingrid Kottke, for a Capstone paper in RELI 697: “Witchcraft as Crime in the Treatises of King James VI and I and Matthew Hopkins;” and Sydra Siddiqui, for a selection from the Honors thesis, “Construction of The Body and Personhood: A Comparative Analysis of Religious and Indigenous Healing Practices in India and Tanzania,” Chapter 2: “Narratives of Healing and Personhood in Indian and Tanzanian Society.”

Congratulations to the winners!

Posted in News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on April 23, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.