Research Paper Challenge 2007 winners announced

AiG founder Ken Ham announced the top five finalists, including grand prize winner Karin, in the ministry’s second annual writing contest.

The winning entries

[Note: All papers are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat or comparable software.]

Karin Hutson has been dreaming of college. She’s even “CLEPed”1 more than sixty hours of courses from her home in America’s heartland. But it was a 3,000-word research paper that made her college dreams come true.

The high-achieving student—who completed homeschool high school two years ago—is the winner of a $50,000 scholarship provided by Liberty University in the Answers in Genesis “Research Paper Challenge 2007.”

Dr. David A. DeWitt, Director of the Center for Creation Studies at Liberty University stated “I am delighted that we were able to partner with Answers in Genesis in this truly unique contest. Through AiG’s research paper ‘challenge,’ young people are ‘challenged’ to carefully consider the evidence for creation. It’s an excellent idea. The Research Paper Challenge was a great way for us to promote the understanding of creation and attract Creator-honoring, Bible-believing students to Liberty!”

At Liberty University, all undergraduate students are required to complete a course in creation apologetics taught from a young-earth creation perspective.

AiG founder Ken Ham announced the top five finalists, including grand prize winner Karin, in the ministry’s second annual writing contest. All five winners receive a laptop computer, hundreds of dollars in software, and the top writer receives a $50,000 scholarship to Liberty University, as well. The value of the scholarship, which is provided by the Virginia-based college founded by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, is equal to the one awarded in the annual Miss America scholarship competition.

This past Saturday evening, the two top finalists in the contest—which attracted entries from as far away as Brazil—sat among an audience of more than 700 as they listened for the name of the Grand Prize winner.

In the end, sixteen-year-old Emily Zuercher, a “missionary kid” from Brazil who wrote “Naturalism in Modern Society” was runner up to twenty-year-old Karin Hutson of Missouri. A section from Hutson’s 3,000-word paper, entitled “Evolution of Ethics” was read by AiG president Ken Ham before Hutson’s name was announced by Dale Mason, a vice president at Answers in Genesis, and the contest’s architect.

Karin’s paper, the other essays, and other related material have been posted online (see table, above right).

Mason initially developed the Research Paper Challenge concept two years ago to help launch a book entitled “War of the Worldviews.” He says the concept immediately generated excitement among students, parents, and teachers. “The first year we had a grand prize of a laptop computer. This year the $50,000 scholarship to Liberty University plus the laptop computer and the software popularized the event tremendously. Most parents and many teachers see the contest as a way to excite their young people about science, Christianity, and good writing. You win whether you ‘win’ or not.”

“Liberty University was eager to participate when we explained this opportunity,” said Ken Ham, president of AiG and the visionary behind the non-profit ministry’s new 60,000 square foot Creation Museum near the Cincinnati airport. “We partnered with Liberty ( for many reasons, including their enthusiastic commitment to the truth of biblical Creation over the idea of Evolutionism.”

The contest is designed to excite and equip students to defend the truth and authority of the Bible. “This is not a typical mindset or objective among most secular high schools and colleges. We’re finding that many kids today just need the tools to defend their faith,” said Ham, formerly a science teacher in Australia. Through the contest’s required text (Evolution Exposed: Biology, by Roger Patterson) and the Answers in Genesis website with thousands of science and culture articles, AiG is busy providing those tools.


Karin Hutson

Karin Hutson accepts her $50,000 scholarship certificate, provided by Liberty University.

Acceptance speech

Grand Prize winner Karin Hutson—acceptance speech

Karin Hutson and Ken Ham

Karin Hutson and Ken Ham with $50,000 scholarship certificate from Liberty University

Dale Mason, Ken Ham, and Karin Hutson

Dale Mason, Ken Ham and Karin Hutson

Dale Mason, Ken Ham, and Karin Hutson

Dale Mason, Ken Ham and Karin Hutson

The prize package awarded to the grand prize winner

The prize package awarded to the grand prize winner.


  1. College-Level Examination Program, which allows an opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses.


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