graduating in 2008 with a degree in religious studies, I am
constantly reminded of how important and worthwhile this particular
course of study is. Living in a time of rapid cultural,
political, and religious shifts can be unsettling, but having a
background in understanding the history, mechanisms, and reasons to
why this happens has been my bulwark.
Being a theme-based degree, as opposed to discipline-based,
throughout my education I was given a taste of anthropology,
philosophy, sociology, gender studies, and political science all
under the umbrella of religious studies. I have no idea how
the professors can sustain this variety, especially at a small
university, but they do it with flying colors. In addition to
the variety of classes, the diversity of professors is a boon for
the department. I focused primarily on South Asian religions,
so I like to joke about how I majored in Dr. Bauman, but I had some
of my most memorable experiences in Dr. McGrath's Science and
Religion class and Dr. Valliere's Religion and Secularism
Religion can be a touchy, uncomfortable subject for some
students. This fact makes the study and discussion of it that
much more important in my opinion, and having the right types of
people to discuss the topics with was very important. I was
lucky enough to share a classroom with some of the most wonderful
people I know today. The diversity, maturity, and incredible
intellect of my fellow classmates made the daily discussions a
friendly and enriching experience, and I wouldn't have traded them
for the world.
After graduating, I spent a year doing volunteer work with
AmeriCorps in Indianapolis setting up education seminars for
homeless veterans and the local Burmese refugee population.
My education helped me understand and empathize with the situations
of others, and cultivated a desire to become a globally-minded
individual. After AmeriCorps I took a Director of Operations
position at a wellness center in Illinois.
The value of my Butler University religious studies education is
evident to me every day, and I thank the professors and fellow
students for the opportunity to learn, discuss, and grow.