Name some fun facts about you that not everyone knows.
Reading is my ultimate form of self-care, even in grad school. I aim to read at least 100 books for fun a year not related to religion, theology, or counseling.
The No. 1 destination on my bucket list is Reykjavik, Iceland.
Why did you decide to come to divinity school?
I knew God was calling me to congregational ministry and with that, I felt responsible to become as well-equipped as I possibly could for those I would work with. I didn’t want to be taught what to think, but how to think. I knew that divinity school would give me the tools I needed to critically analyze scripture, doctrine, and theology, and to help others do the same.
What is your dual-degree program? And how did you know it was the right fit?
I’m in the MDiv/MA in counseling dual-degree program. I knew it was the right fit for me because it was one of the few programs in the country where a program like this even existed. The dual-degree program helped me nurture my ministerial calling, but also provided me the opportunity to meet licensure standards to be a clinical mental health counselor. All of that in 4 years instead of 5—who can ask for more?
What makes WFUSD a great fit for you?
WFUSD was a great fit for me because of the diversity of my classmates and the investment the professors had in both our academic and spiritual development. I didn’t want to read about different ways of thinking, I wanted to experience them in real time. WFUSD’s commitment to diverse perspectives made this possible.
Which professors have helped you grow in your discernment process?
Dr. Katherine Shaner was a crucial mentor for me in my discernment process, although she may not even know it. One of my greatest struggles was reconciling my personal beliefs about social justice being the core of Jesus’s ministry and how that fits with congregational ministry. Whether it was in her New Testament classes or her debt and theology class (which was amazing—please offer it to students in the future!), Dr. Shaner helped me meet Jesus the revolutionary, but also see the critical need for ministers to help congregants meet this Jesus too. I’m a better minister because of her and her classes.
Is there a particular class that’s left a lasting impression on you?
Old Testament classes with Dr. Neal Walls have changed my entire ministry. There are so few ministers out there that can speak intelligently about the history and context of the OT and why that is meaningful and relevant for Christians today. Neal’s class not only prepared me to teach Sunday School lessons and preach sermons on the OT (which every minister must do), but it connected me on a personal level with people of Jesus. Wading through their myths, their poetry, their history, their mess and their victories made me appreciate how we are all just human beings trying to understand our place in the world and who we are in relation to the divine.
Any words of wisdom you’d like to leave for first years? Second years?
Take electives with professors you love and on topics you love. Life’s too short to “should” yourself with your electives.
Get a job. Take a vacation. Not necessarily in that order.
What will you miss most about WFUSD?
The community. I’ve made lifelong friendships built on authenticity and wrestling through the tough issues together. Shout out to my CPE squad who kept me sane during our summer together and to my fellow dual-degreers who have slogged through 4 years with me.
Favorite drink and the theologian you would like to share it with?
Glass of riesling with Julian of Norwich.