NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Bethel College honored seven graduating seniors with Thresher Awards at Awards Convocation May 14. Thresher Awards went to Tory A. Doerksen, Chris Janzen, Jeremy Schrag, Samuel Schrag, Stephanie Sowers, Rebekah Kathleen Trollinger and Chad Unrau. The Thresher Awards, one of the highest academic honors at Bethel College, is given to seniors for an outstanding and sustained contribution in performance areas, for outstanding creative achievement in the applied sciences or for completion of an outstanding and substantial academic project.
Tory A. Doerksen, a music and also Bible and religion major from Prescott, Ariz., received the Thresher Award in Music for excellence in academics and performance. Doerksen played bass in the Bethel Sinfonia, the Jazz Ensemble and jazz combos and last month received the outstanding soloist award at the Wichita Jazz Festival.
Chris Janzen, an art major from Fresno, Calif., received the Thresher Award in Art for high quality of artistic work and mastery of technique as well as strong leadership and work ethic. He was also commended for exploring connections between art and music as displayed in a portion of the senior art exhibit that was on display during May.
Jeremy Schrag, a communication arts major from Moundridge, received the Thresher Award in Forensics for superior performance in several categories in debate and forensics competition over three years. He earned the championship title in persuasive speaking at a national tournament last month. His speech argued against the FDA's legalization of a growth hormone for the treatment of a newly coined disease "short stature syndrome."
Samuel Schrag, a history and also Bible and religion major from Wichita, received the Thresher Award in History and Bible and Religion. Schrag, a leader in the classroom and in campus organizations, was awarded the Thresher for his social science seminar and advanced religious studies paper, "The Process of Worship Planning at Mennonite Conventions during the period of Joint General Conference and Mennonite Church Worship, 1983-2003."
Stephanie Sowers received the Thresher Award in Social Science for excellence in academics and in her senior research project. She analyzed "The Relationship between Critical Thinking, Dogmatism and Intelligence among Kansas College Students." Sowers is a history, social science and Spanish major from Hesston.
Rebekah Kathleen Trollinger, an English major from Bluffton, Ohio, received the Thresher Award in English. She was honored for her excellence in academics, her contributions to the learning community and her research project on "'An Act of Stenographic Love': History, Memory, and Fiction in Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children'."
Chad Unrau, a physics major from Goessel, received the Thresher Award in Physics. He was honored for outstanding work on his extensive senior seminar project on asteroid properties, "Kirkwood Gaps: Their Orbital Characteristics and Precession."