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, who is from Longwood, Fla. attend the Science and Religion Forum’s annual conference Sept. 5-7 at the University of Chester, England.

"I've only completed one full year as a science and religion major, and already I've met with remarkable research, education, and leadership opportunities,” McConnell 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.
Center for Science and Religion
About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.