• Carson-Newman offered me lots of opportunities to get on the stage and execute what I was learning in the classroom and my private lessons.
    Benjamin Archer, 2017 / Graduate Student in Vocal Performance / University of North Florida

C-N students receive top award, council position from honors society

Academics | May 18, 2021
Carson-Newman University senior Benjamin Blakley won the H.Y. Benedict Fellowship while junior Briana Lay was elected to the National Council for student representatives during the 2021 Alpha Chi Honor Society National Convention.


JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Carson-Newman University students in the Tennessee Delta Chapter of the Alpha Chi Honor Society won top scholarships and positions at this year’s National Convention, held virtually April 8-11.   

Dr. Kip Wheeler, associate professor of English and C-N’s Alpha Chi (AX) sponsor, said that Carson-Newman has one of the most active chapters in the nation and expressed his pride in this year’s student achievements.  

“The wide variety of research topics, ranging from Shakespearean plays to chemical interactions of plastic by-products, to the political policies of King Louis in France, reveals the broad range of intellectual interests among Alpha Chi students and Carson-Newman,” said Wheeler. “It’s amazing what young scholars can do with quality mentoring from C-N faculty.” 

C-N’s chapter president Benjamin Blakley, of Huntsville, competed in the Sledge-Benedict competition. He presented his senior honors project, “Determination of Temperature Gradient Effect on Bis(2-Ethylhyxyl) Phthalate Leaching in Plastic Food Containers.”  

He won an H.Y. Benedict Fellowship of $3,000 for seniors planning on attending graduate school. The Sledge and Benedict scholarships are the two most prestigious awards from Alpha Chi, this year chosen out of 90 total submissions. 

Junior Briana Lay, of Sevierville, was elected to one of the four available positions on the National Council for student representatives. She will serve for the next two years as a member, voting on policy matters and strategic planning concerning nearly 300 AX chapters at various colleges and over 20,000 current AX students. 

Together with Wheeler, Briana will attend the National Conference in Texas next March. She also competed for a Region III scholarship for her paper submission, “The Use of Absolutism During the Reign of Louis XIV,” and in the World History category for a presentation scholarship.  

Libby Turner, a junior from Chattanooga, competed in the Gaston-Nolle category with her paper, “A Common Plea: Understanding the Underdog of the 17th Century.”  

“Although Libby and Briana did not take-home scholarship prizes, both represented our college very well indeed,” Wheeler said. “These students deserve our praise for their scholastic achievements and their hard work. They have been splendid models of intellectual endeavor and have upheld Alpha Chi's missions of promoting scholarship, character and truth.” 

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and celebrated a record 2,900 students in the fall. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.