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Carson-Newman students take home top honors from Alpha Chi Convention in Chicago

Carson-Newman students from the University’s Tennessee Delta chapter of Alpha Chi took top honors at the national honor society’s convention in Chicago this month. Pictured are front row, left to right: Katie Jones and Laura-Kate Gonyea; second row, Mary Young, Niki Green, Grace Boone and Erica Hesson; back row, Alex Carver and Ryan O’Neal.

(March 26, 2015) — Students from Carson-Newman University’s Tennessee Delta chapter of Alpha Chi won four student awards and one chapter award last week at the 2015 Alpha Chi National Convention in Chicago, Illinois (March 19-21).

Alpha Chi is a national coeducational academic honor society.

Carson-Newman was also recognized with the Star Chapter Award for the 17th straight year. The University is one of only four schools to have won the award every year it has been presented.

Two Carson-Newman students brought back the most prestigious national awards Alpha Chi offers. Laura-Kate Gonyea, of Thompson’s Station, won the highest award, earning the $3,500 Robert W. Sledge Fellowship. Gonyea presented her senior project “Mountains, Mullets, and Moonshine: Realism, Ideology, and Appalachian Stereotypes.”

The second-highest honor, the $2,500 H.Y. Benedict Fellowship, went to chapter president and senior Alex Carver of Blountville. Carver presented his Oxford studies project, “Matthew Caffyn Revisited: Cooperation, Christology and Controversy in the Life of an Influential Seventeenth-Century Baptist.”

“Our Alpha Chi students have a long-running tradition of doing well in academic competitions, and this year is no exception on the national stage,” said Dr. Randall O’Brien, president of Carson-Newman University. “At Carson-Newman, our rock stars are always our students.”

A total of eight Carson-Newman students competed at the convention, showcasing their academic and artistic work. Others included Grace Boone, who earned Best Paper for the Southeastern region and Niki Green, who won the Leadership Board Prize for Online Participation. Also competing were Erica Hesson, Katie Jones, Ryan O’Neal and Mary Young.

This is the second year in a row a Carson-Newman student has secured the Sledge Fellowship, previously won by current graduate student Kirby Ellis.

Four Carson-Newman students were in the top ten for participation out of nearly 800 students, including Niki Green, Gonyea, Carver and Young. Green received an award for online participation.

The students made such an impression with their enthusiasm in panels, social media efforts and conference activities that judges awarded the chapter a prize for active engagement at the conference.

Since 1922 Alpha Chi’s purpose has been to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction.

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