Mallory Wood (’08)
There is no other major on campus that combines the arts, history, philosophy, politics, global studies, language, sociology, psychology, and ethics all together like Religious Studies. I have studied the music and art of Hindus and Celtic Christians, the history of many of the world’s major religions, philosophy of the Greco-Romans, and how different people understand God, the politics surrounding Political Liberation Theology, the cultures of countries across the world, the language of Ancient Greece, and Christian ethics on modern-day issues.
Some of my courses were cross-referenced with other disciplines . . . . It is an incredibly comprehensive major and no two classes are ever the same. Now more than ever our world is realizing how religion plays such a large role into how people think and what they do.
Tula Florent ('09)
When I tell people that I am a Religious Studies major, I get varied responses. My favorite one is “What can you do with that degree?” I confidently reply that a degree in Religious Studies allows me to relate to a wide range of people from many diverse backgrounds and philosophies. Translating a love for people into a career path takes some work, but with the help of the career counselors and my Religious Studies advisor, I was able to nail down multiple career possibilities along with an internship.
During the 2008 fall semester, I coupled leading field trips at Shelburne Farms with researching various environmental philosophies from multiple religions. I absolutely loved the experience and built strong relationships with the Shelburne Farms staff as well as my advisor. I feel empowered to be graduating with a degree in Religious Studies because I know that an education in understanding religion helps me to better understand and work with people from every walk of life, within any professional field.
Mike Stefanowicz (’09)
One of the goals of schools today is to promote an appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism. This is one of the first responses I use when thinking about how Religious Studies will inform my career. In cultures throughout the world, religious beliefs and expressions influence people’s interactions with one another, their civic engagement, and other facets of life. Understanding conflicts is another facet of this. I have even seen children of resettled refugees carrying religiously based conflicts into the social circles of local schools. Knowing about religion is critical to understanding such a problem.
Considerations of the things we learn in Religious Studies turn up in the most unlikely places. Even when watching Grey’s Anatomy I have made connections to Religious Studies when Dr. Christina Yang consoled Dr. Izzie Stevens over the death of her patient and fiancée by encouraging her to sit Shiva, a concept which we discussed in depth in my two courses that dealt with Judaism.