It’s been a good week for Chelsea Cooper, a senior humanities major, who won both the North Callahan essay contest and the SGA Most Outstanding Senior in the Humanities Award.
“To me it’s quite an honor,” she said. “It was a complete surprise.”
Cooper will receive her outstanding senior award during this year’s Honors Day.
“She’s a creative student and a deep thinker — the telos of what UTC ought to be striving to cultivate in our graduates,” Dr. Bryan Hampton, Coordinator of Humanities Program and Associate Professor of English, said.
In her essay for the North Callahan contest, “On Emptiness and Nonseparability: Different Languages for Similar Concepts,” Cooper’s aim was to show how science can fit into a larger conception of life, and how seemingly distinct realms of inquiry can enrich and fulfill one another. Her paper explains the parallels between subatomic theory and Buddhism, asserting that Buddhism offers a practical approach to the inner dimension of existence that has been too long ignored in scientific pursuits.
A .pdf version of her paper may be viewed here.
The North Callahan Essay Prize is awarded each year to an undergraduate whose exceptionally fine essay addresses a subject related to the Humanities (art, music, philosophy, religion, rhetoric/literature, history, or interdisciplinary studies that combine these disciplines). Essays were evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee of professors. The prize carries a $1000 award. Funding for the award is provided by an endowment established by the late Dr. North Callahan, distinguished Professor Emeritus of History of New York University, author of seventeen books, and alumnus of The University of Chattanooga.
Chelsea plans to use her prize money to help pay for rent when she attends medical school in the fall.
“But I really want to buy a video game too,” she said.