Published on September 6, 2013  

Samford University Science and Religion major Melanie McConnell has won the Science and Religion Forum’s 2013 Peacocke Student Essay Contest for her essay, “A Theodicy of Chance: Scientific Perspectives on Pain and Providence.” The honor included a £100 ($166) cash prize and a stipend to help McConnell attend the Science and Religion Forum’s annual conference at the University of Chester, England, Sept. 5-7.

"I've only completed one full year as a Science & Religion major, and already I've met with remarkable research, education, and leadership opportunities,” McConnel said. “I love this major. It's a challenge and it does important things".

The major, created in 2012, is a unique, interdisciplinary course of study designed to equip students to understand, analyze, and productively engage issues arising at the intersection of science and religion. In addition to all of the usual requirements for a Samford undergraduate degree, it offers a mixture of specialized courses, concentrations in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, pre-health, physics and religion, and requires a senior project. Courses range from Old Testament and psychology to biochemistry and artificial intelligence. Graduates will be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in their areas of concentration as well as in the specific discipline of Science and Religion.

“This is a great honor for Melanie, but also an important step for our new Science and Religion major, the center and the whole university”. said Steve Donaldson, Samford computer science professor, Senior Fellow at the university’s Center for Science and Religion and co-founder of the major.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.