Student Outcomes in Religious Studies

  • Josh Cavender '11 is currently enrolled at the Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.
  • Craig Gaunt '07 is currently employed in youth ministry after receiving his master's degree in divinity from Evangelical Theological Seminary. As his inspirations, Craig cites religious studies professor Bob Miller and psychology professors Kathryn Westcott and Mark McKellop.
  • Caleb Gwinn '11 is continuing his undergraduate research in graduate school at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, thanks to Juniata’s cooperative agreement with the Belfast university.
  • Stephanie Metz '12 is enrolled at the Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York, seeking her master’s degree in Old Testament studies. Stephanie says, “I really enjoyed studying religion at Juniata because the department is so small so I had a lot of classes with all of the professors. They provided a wide variety of courses which changed every year, so I always had plenty to choose from.”
  • Lauren Seganos '11 is currently enrolled in the divinity program at the Andover Newton Theological School.
  • Andrew Sinnes '09 is teaching at a community college and adult education center. From Chinese language interpreter to tech adviser, he does a little bit of everything and, correspondingly, he says that all the religion professors at Juniata challenged his thought, academics and spirit.
  • Becca Strohm '13 is employed through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Through her year-long commitment, Becca will work with Green Team, in Portland, Ore., where she instructs k-12 students in restoring Portland’s watersheds.
  • Sarah Svigals '07 is currently enrolled in a master's of social work program at George Mason University focusing on military behavioral health. During her graduate study, she also works as the program coordinator of Cause, an organization that provides comfort recreation and relaxation programming for recovering soldiers. She previously worked for Bread for the World, a faith-based grassroots organization, during which she used much of the content from her Juniata religious studies courses.
  • Katherine Walker '06 is employed as a hospital chaplain in Colorado, following her recent graduation from Naropa University's Master of Divinity program. She is trained in Buddhist history and philosophy, interfaith dialogue and practical chaplaincy skills and most enjoyed the course Birth and Death of Jesus at Juniata. She explored Buddhism in India while abroad.

Religion Focus

We provide training for students highly focused on religion for its own sake. These students are fairly clear they want to have a future in religion at some level. This training is largely preparation for graduate school and seminary. To date, we have placed students at Drew University, Naropa University and the American Theological Seminary among others.

Incorporating Religion

We provide training for students interested in the incorporation of the academic study of religion in a non-religion related field. Some of these students go on to graduate school. Recent placements include University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University.

Understanding Religion Better

Perhaps students are interested in making sense of a religious heritage in the face of modern scientific worldviews. Perhaps they want to understand the motives behind highly newsworthy events like 9/11, Vatican politics or the power of evangelicals in the Republican Party. Finally, many of our students are themselves religious and want to enrich their understanding of a particular religious heritage, explore a religious tradition they find fascinating, or seek to heal from damage they believe has been inflicted on them by a repressive religious upbringing. These students seek to be culturally informed citizens who can better interpret the vital roles of religion in national and international human behavior.

We welcome and support all these outcomes but are especially inclined to believe that the third category is the true service our department provides to the college. No corner of the cultural landscape is untouched by religious belief and behavior and educating an informed citizenry for public life is crucial to our mission in the liberal arts setting. We view the liberal arts as "liberating arts," and one of our core values is the Enlightenment goal of freeing minds from the tutelage of passively inherited customs so that students can make informed judgments regarding religion for the rest of their lives.