Whitley Raney, a graduating senior at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., has won the 2013 Presbyterian Outlook Church-College Partnership Award.
Courtney Nussbaumer, of Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., took second place in the contest.
The competition was based on college seniors’ essays on the topic, “How my education at a PC(USA)-related college has shaped my faith and prepared me for significant service and leadership.”
Winning essays were picked by a panel of Presbyterian leaders. Raney was awarded $1,000 by the Presbyterian Outlook Foundation, and Nussbaumer received $200. Both essays will appear in the Presbyterian Outlook’s Guide to PC(USA)-Related Colleges, to be published October 14, 2013.
Raney, of Wilmington, N.C., earned a B.A. in anthropology and Latin American studies, having written a senior honors thesis on maternal health of Latina immigrants in her home state. She spent her junior year at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, in Ecuador.
After graduation she will serve for a year in Merida, Mexico, at the Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya, an NGO focusing on public health and nutrition projects. The internship is funded in part by Davidson Impact Fellowships which are awarded to several graduating seniors from the college. Thereafter, she may continue in that service or continue into graduate studies in public health.
In her essay, she reflects on her sense of call to be a missionary to the world, “living every day through the light of my faith and that I can be whatever I am called to be, as long as I am good at it and I approach it through the goal of living out the gospel message in the world.”
Nussbaumer, of Brookfield, Wis., earned a B.A. in political science and Hispanic studies, concentrating on legal studies. She is currently engaged in research for a political science professor while also continuing to serve as an intern with the City of Saint Paul Fire Department till mid-July. She will then go to Quillota, Chile, to teach English for five months, while living with a host family. In the fall of 2014 she will enter the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Her essay reflects in large part upon her time of serving as president of Macalester Christian Fellowship (MCF). In that role she helped sponsor events to raise awareness about gender and oppression, and in particular, to support victims of sex trafficking. “Through interfaith dialogues, multifaith councils and MCF meetings, I have learned to articulate my faith, find assurance in my beliefs and develop a personal style of leadership that will serve me well in my post-college years.”