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Departments of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics

Outstanding Students

Each year the faculty in the Departments of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics select one graduating senior as that year’s outstanding students. The recipients of these awards have achieved during their time at Wright State a superior academic record, demonstrating a mastery of the arts of verbal communication and scholarly writing. Eager to learn and willing to work hard, these students represent the disciplines of religion, philosophy, and classics at their best.

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Religion: Ariel Berry

The Department of Religion wishes to recognize Ariel Berry as our Outstanding Student for 2019. Faculty members unanimously praised Ariel’s inquisitiveness, strong work ethic, highly thoughtful contributions to class discussions, and exemplary skills as a writer. Ariel will graduate with a double major in Religion and French and a minor in German. Their future plans include attending the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City to pursue graduate studies in Talmud and Rabbinic Studies for the purposes of earning a M.A. and becoming a rabbi. Ariel’s academic passions include learning foreign languages and studying both history and diverse cultures and religions. Outside the classroom, they are very active in synagogue, serving on various committees and in roles as a kashrut supervisor, a Torah reader, and a prayer leader. They also work with the organization Birthright Israel and accompany young Jewish adults to Israel to learn about their heritage, history, and religion. Additionally, they are a leader in the LGBTQA community at Wright State, having served as the former president and vice president of the undergraduate student organization Rainbow Alliance, and also currently serve as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Student Government Association at Wright State. In this position they were a key contributor to the All Gender Restroom Project, which succeeded in bringing All Gender Restrooms to every major building on campus. As these interests and accomplishments demonstrate, Ariel has established at Wright State a distinguished record of both academic achievement and engaged social activism concerning issues of social equality and justice, and we have no doubt this combination of talent and determination will continue to impact, in meaningful and constructive ways, the causes they will pursue and the people they will serve.

Philosophy: Christian Cooper

The Department of Philosophy proudly recognizes Christian Cooper as our Outstanding Student for 2019. Christian has distinguished himself as an exemplary student during his undergraduate studies, both inside and outside the classroom. Christian chose an ambitious course of study by double majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. Faculty in both departments enjoyed working with him in the classroom because he is highly intelligent, has strong critical thinking skills, and is an articulate speaker. Christian’s written work was also of such a quality to be a pleasure to read. He writes clearly and effectively, analyzing a variety of problems in depth and with creativity. Outside the classroom, Christian has been a Head Delegate for WSU’s Model United Nations Team, served as the Director of Security Council at the Dayton Model United Nations Conference, served as the Chief Justice of SGA, and been the Presidential Ambassador  for WSU for the 2018-19 academic year. He’s also been a Learning Assistant for general chemistry courses. Christian is an extremely bright, hard-working, and talented student, and is a kind and engaging person. It is without surprise that he is held in high regard by faculty and fellow students alike. After graduating, Christian will attend one of the several law schools vying for his admission, and we look forward to seeing his bright and promising future career unfold.

Classics: Lauren C. Reder

Lauren arrived at Wright State in 2015 with four years of Latin already under her belt, a full academic scholarship in hand, and an avowed intention of majoring in Classics. With her boundless energy and keen intellect, she soon took the department by storm.  She quickly proved to be one of the best linguists ever to grace our halls, and to blossom into a fine scholar of Latin literature in general and a sensitive translator of Latin poetry in particular.  She is now set to graduate with University honors, having completed an elegant honor’s thesis entitled “Back to Basics: Vergil's Georgics and the Agrarian Ideal during the Early Augustan Period.” In addition, she will also graduate as a member of an impressive four academic honor societies: the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta, Delta Alpha Pi, and Eta Sigma Phi, the National Classics honor society, having accrued along the way too many accolades and accomplishments to attempt to list them here.  It is therefore a fitting tribute to her academic achievement that the faculty in the Departments of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics have selected Lauren as this year’s outstanding senior.  However, over the past four years Lauren has not only been a model of academic excellence; she has also been the heart of the Classics Department for her fellow students.  Many of them she tutored directly, others she befriended in her role as president of the Classics club and of Eta Sigma Phi; all of them she inspired with her infectious enthusiasm and her buoyant optimism, and she modeled a work ethic for success that others did well to emulate.  After spending the past two summers interning at the University of Cincinnati’s John Miller Burnam Classics library, Lauren plans to put her knowledge of Classical languages to good use by pursuing a degree in library science.  She is currently deciding between the MS programs at the University of Alabama, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Illinois.  Whichever she chooses will be most lucky to have her.


  • Religion: Anna Helmig and Antonia Rancurello
  • Philosophy: No award was given in 2018.
  • Classics: Abigail Hough


  • Religion: Aurylia D. Tracy
  • Philosophy: No award was given in 2017.
  • Classics: Christine Turner


  • Religion: John Klugh
  • Philosophy: Rachel Kay King
  • Classics: Jason Tarka


  • Religion: Jeremy P. Gambrell
  • Philosophy: Frederick V. Hockney
  • Classics: Brittany D. Blankenship


  • Religion: Jacquelyn M. Weaver
  • Philosophy: Alexander C. Thomas
  • Classics: Timothy B. Corcoran


  • Religion: Tina M. Porter
  • Philosophy: Hope Houston
  • Classics: No award was given in 2013.


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