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Philosophy and Religious Studies

Student Honors

Recent Publications

At the 19th Annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference in Forest Grove, Oregon on April 17-18, 2015,  Melanie Stankus presented a paper titled, "Dennett's Intentional Strategy Applied to Animals." In her paper, she applied Daniel Dennett's intentional system approach, which proposes that we could predict the behavior of an intentional system via beliefs and desires that system ought to have, to non-human animals. She argued that the intentional strategy works better on animals because it is in the nature of animals to make survival their highest desire and then form beliefs to secure this desire. Humans, on the other hand, form beliefs about the world (which can vary greatly!), and these beliefs form their desires (which, consequently, can vary greatly as well).

Melanie's paper was selected for publication in Res Cogitans, the online journal that Pacific University runs in order to publish the best conference papers. ( Only about 20 of the nearly 100 papers presented at the conference each year are selected. In 2014, Hannah Hicks' paper, titled "The Epistemic Value of Live Fiction: A Dramatic Response to the Question of Knowledge" was also published. 


  • Riley Schmit, 2015 Raymond A. Smith Award for Achievement in Scholarship
  • Jim Briggs, 2015 Marji Morgan Outstanding Student Award
  • Sergio Madrid, 2015 Associate Dean of Student Achievement Award
  • Joseph Keeney, 2012 Dean's Scholar
  • Christian Torimino, 2012 Dean's Scholar
  • Michael 'Mac' Brown, 2012 CAH Outstanding Student Award
  • Judy Miller, 2012 CAH Raymond A. Smith Award for Achievement in Scholarship
  • James Moore, 2011 Presidential Medallion Recipient
  • James Moore, 2011 Dean's Scholar
  • Phillip Downes, 2010 CAH Dean's Excellence in Leadership Award
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies Club, 2008-2009 CWU Student Club of the Year Award
  • Casie Dunleavy, 2009 CAH Outstanding Student Award
  • Courtney Allocca, 2009 Raymond A. Smith Award for Achievement in Scholarship
  • Lauren Blesi, 2009 CWU Student Employee of the Year
  • Phillip Downes, 2008 CWU Alumni Association's Departmental Scholarship
  • Justin Sanders, 2008 CAH Raymond A. Smith Award for Achievement in Scholarship
  • Dylan Baker, 2008 Thomas Gause Award for Achievement in Musical Composition
  • Tyler Killiam, 2007-2008 Scottish Rite of Washington Scholarship


  • 2013: Maxwell Davis (Faculty Mentor: Gary Bartlett):  PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES ON "MOLYNEUX'S QUESTION" DO NOT SEE ALL THE POINTS
  • 2012: Lynn Thompson (Faculty Mentor: Cynthia Coe): THE JUXTAPOSITION OF DIVINE AND PHYSICAL LOVE
  • 2008: KathyMae Dickinson (Faculty Mentor: Chenyang Li): MOZI'S PHILOSOPHY OF UNIVERSAL LOVE
  • 2008: Christian Mecham (Faculty Mentor: Cynthia Coe): ROCK OUT WITH YOUR WHAT OUT?!
  • 2008: Tyler Soldat (Faculty Mentor: Heidi Szpek): SAVE BY THE LEAVE OF ALLAH: DOCTRINE CONCERNING SUICIDE IN ISLAM.
  • Katy Wickersham (Faculty Mentor: Heidi Szpek): THE THEOLOGY OF THE FALL IN ROBOTIC SCIENCE FICTION FILMS

Recent Student Conference Presentations

The following Philosophy & Religious Studies majors had their research papers accepted for presentation at the 19th annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, April 17-18, 2015, Forest Grove, Oregon. They are Randeep Chauhan, "the Gift of Life" and Melanie Stankus, "Dennett's Intentional Strategy Applied to Animals".

Melanie Stankus' paper titled "Would Not Existing Put a Limitation On the Idea of Infinity?" has been accepted for presentation at Eastern Michigan University's Undergraduate Conference in Philosophy, to be held at EMU (Ypsilanti, Michigan) in early March 2015. Melanie originally wrote the paper for PHIL 353 with Dr. Gary Bartlett in Winter 2014. The paper investigates Rene Descartes' version of the famous 'ontological argument' for the existence of God.

Alumni Awards

(L. to R.) Gabriela Amador, Distinguished Alumnus 2013 Jim McGreevy, Dr. Jeff Dippmann

  • Mike Bogatay (2008), received the CAH Distinguished Alumni Award, 2014
  • James McGreevy (2002), received the CAH Distinguished Alumni Award 2013
  • Jessica M. Erickson (2003), received the CAH Distinguished Alumni Award 2012
  • Paul Charlton (2005) received the CAH Distinguished Alumni Award 2011
  • Duane LaRue (1988) received the CAH Distinguished Alumni Award. 2008
  • John Haroldson (1986) received the CAH Distinguished Alumni Award. 2007