Outstanding Student Awards

Each spring, the department recognizes two graduating Religion majors with an "Outstanding Student Award."  The award is based upon student GPA.  The recipients for the 2016-2017 academic year were Brandon Smee and Austin Hatchett. Below are profiles of our two recipients.

Here they are pictured with Dr. Bellinger.


Brandon Smee

According to Dr. Mikeal Parsons, Professor and Macon Chair in Religion at Baylor, “Brandon is one of the most academically gifted undergraduates I have taught in over thirty years at Baylor.” Brandon graduated from Baylor in May 2017 with a BA in Religion and a 4.0 GPA. While at Baylor he was part of Alpha Chi Member, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Mortar Board Honor Society. In addition to winning the Religion Department’s Outstanding Student Award while at Baylor, he also won the Museum of the Bible Logos Scholar award in 2016, and the National Greek Exam Highest Honor award in 2015.  Brandon’s excellence in Greek led to him working with the Classics department on a work on Greek papyrus. His work paved the way for him to be able to attend a conference at Oxford University. Brandon hopes to go to seminary and is currently in the process of applying to Duke and Princeton.

Austin Hatchett

Austin graduated in May 2017 with a double major in Religion and Film and Digital Media, and a minor in creative writing. Like Brandon, he is also the winner of multiple awards. In 2016 he won Outstanding Student Producer from Baylor University Student Productions, a group he volunteered with in the role of Internal Relations Team Officer. He also won second place in the Baylor University Film & Digital Media Department Black Glasses Film Festival in 2017.  Austin has interned with First Woodway Baptist Church and Tallowood Baptist Church. He is considering going back to school to pursue teaching and may attend Baylor’s Truett Seminary. Currently he runs his own film review website.