Testimonials from an array of former University of Mississippi students who graduated with a B.A. in religious studies.
Janie Travis, 2013
Development Manager, Distinguished Events with the American Cancer Society
My degree in Religious Studies contributed to the foundation for my career. Through the encouragement of several Religious Studies professors, I chose to participate in an internship program with the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, IL. During this time I interacted with dozens of religious groups and had the opportunity to apply my academic studies in relationships in my workplace. Moreover, the internship built professional skills and connections that are invaluable in helping me succeed in my current career.
Thomas E. Chandler, Jr., 2010 with a B.A. in History and Religious Studies
Pastor and Elementary School Teacher
Since leaving UM, I have become a bi-vocational Pastor at Cornersville Baptist Church in Marshall County. While in ministry, I have completed a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I am also a 4th and 5th grade Math and Science teacher at New Albany Elementary School in Union County.
I greatly treasure my time at UM and the experiences I had in the Religious Studies department. The content in each of my classes was definitely important, but what was more impactful was the respect and knowledge I gained for religious diversity in the world. I was challenged to never stop asking questions, and this is a skill I use every single day, whether in ministry, the classroom, or my personal life. The faculty at UM consistently modeled excellence, and they are who I wish to emulate in my own classroom, even though I am teaching much younger students. I will always cherish the memories made and lessons learned while at UM, and I hope the Religious Studies department continues to make a positive difference in the lives of young men and women like it did for me.
Jessica Williams, 2014
Peace Corps Volunteer in the Education sector, Albania
My religion degree has already contributed to my career path in more ways than one. My degree has shaped my mindset on the different world religions and helps me connect with people of different worldviews no matter what I end up doing or where I go. That alone is an asset in the workplace.
Working towards my degree showed me that I definitely have a desire to work with people directly. In the end, I know that I definitely want to work in the counseling field. I decided to join the Peace Corps upon graduating to get the experience I needed to continue on that path to the counseling field. I want to work with adolescence in a school setting and working toward my degree in religion taught me how to take an objective standpoint when it came to hard hitting topics, a practice that will be useful in the counseling field. The experiences I faced while an undergraduate in the Religion program at the University of Mississippi will forever be etched in my memory as the experiences that made me who I am today. I was forced to break out of timidness and interact with the world like I never had before. Because the department always invited a variety of experienced and diversified speakers annually, I was constantly being challenged intellectually and being shown new approaches to viewing the world. I was so fortunate to have participated in Harvard Divinity School’s Diversity and Explorations program in 2013. Interacting with current students and faculty there solidified my thoughts for what I wanted to do for the future. I also worked for the department for a couple of semesters and gained skills that shape what I do today. For example, I am currently a co-coordinator for a youth camp in my country of service in the Peace Corps. Being behind the scenes helping plan various events within the Religion department prepared me for such a job. Working under such an amazing faculty and staff was indeed a pleasure.
I can vividly remember my first year studying religion as a major and my last year studying religion as a major. The bottom line is that in my time as an undergrad one can see the improvement, growth, and genuine understanding of the different topics I studied. That is actually more than someone seeking their bachelors degree can ask for. It was more than just routine tasks to obtain my degree. It was the enhancement of my knowledge and the way I viewed and interacted with the world around me that proved important in the end.
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