My hometown when I was a student was:
I graduated from Alma in:
Political Science & Religious Studies
I currently live in:
I am now:
Finishing my Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School
Since graduating from Alma:
Immediately after Alma, I worked at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University for four years, doing a mix of community-based interfaith organizing as well as campus/student-oriented interfaith leadership training. In that time, I also completed a Master of Arts in Interfaith Action through a new online program, Claremont Lincoln University, based in Claremont, CA. As much as I loved Grand Rapids and being in west Michigan, in the back of my head this whole time I had been thinking about Divinity School. So in 2017 I moved to Boston to pursue a Master of Theological Studies in religion, ethics, and politics at Harvard Divinity School. HDS was one of the primary places having a conversation about spiritual innovation, and what non-religious folks can do with theological education, so as a ‘none’ studying religion and building interfaith/spiritual community, I knew this was the place for me. Since coming to HDS, I’ve been able to do dream-worthy stuff – take classes with incredible theologians, work with some of the most visionary folks in my field, and even help start an organization that I’ve been a part of from the beginning – Nuns & Nones.
My Alma education:
was incredible. I was challenged and enriched in nearly every class, and was pushed far beyond what I thought I was capable of. The personal attention and mentorship from professors, and close community and friendship with other students, also helped me feel to feel really grounded in my education. I’m very thankful I went to a small liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere so I could soak in the most out of that beautiful little place.
My favorite place(s) on campus included:
the WQAC radio station! In the midst of my stress-filled studies, I discovered the radio station and it quickly became a retreat for me. That little office in Van Dusen was magical – as soon as I stepped into it, I could feel my worries melt away and I just got to listen to and play music with friends for a few hours. I became a DJ, then music director, and then general manager. It’s changed a lot since then, but I hope students still have a spot to rest and relax in the midst of their studies!
My favorite professor(s) included:
Dr. Hulme, Dr. Lorenz, Dr. Blanchard, and Dr. Borrello! Professors are so much more than teachers at Alma – they’re mentors and friends. I’m so lucky to have had these four, and so many others, in my time there.
My most vivid/best memory of my time at Alma is:
The family I built in Model UN. I mean, anyone who knows anything about MUN knows that it puts you through A LOT. You spend endless hours together in the library, the MUN house, SAC 109, and then you go through a riveting, exhausting conference together. It was such a profound experience of hard work paying off, of working and collaborating with your friends, and growing as a person in unexpected ways.
How Alma has helped with my current plan/job/graduate school/etc.:
I consider Alma, and particularly my classes there, to have prepared me for rigorous academic scholarship. But more importantly, through programs like Model UN, Public Affairs, P-Global, and Center for Responsible Leadership, my education gave me a framework for understanding the necessity of social and public engagement with that scholarship. Everything we contribute should not be contained within the walls of academia, but instead contributing to a common good. This was modeled throughout my experience at Alma, by my professors and by other students, and it’s still a line I continue to walk as I seek to become a scholar-activist.
How I have given back to Alma since graduation
I’ve been in touch with current students, talking about possibilities particularly around the intersection of religious studies and political science. It’s so exciting to see what students are dreaming up in their time at Alma, and I’m grateful to help widen the possibilities of how folks think about their vocations moving on from Alma.
Advice I would give a new graduate:
Try something new and unexpected! Two things I did that were not in my 4-year plan: I joined Kappa Iota and the radio station, and through both of these experiences, I became who I am and also met some of my favorite people.