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Religious Studies

In Our Words

In Our Words showcases undergraduate students who are enrolled in academic programs offered by the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. We have been reaching out to our students through interviews and are proud to share the personal testimonies of what brought them here and learn about where they're going.

Read Our Stories

What first brought you to the Religious Studies program?

I saw an amazing community that I wanted to be a part of. I saw how much religion meant to them, and I knew they had a good religious studies program. Once we toured and they told us all about all the clubs, all the support – I knew that this was where I was going to go for my Religious Studies major.

What would you say you find interesting and engaging about the program?

That it’s a small program. We’re all friends, I know all of my professors, I know the majority of the religious studies faculty – it’s like a little tiny community. It’s somewhere I can go to talk about my faith and my thoughts about religion, and I feel safe when I do that too.

Is there a certain class that you have enjoyed?

I’m taking a Religion and Film class right now that I love. We’re learning about how religion is portrayed in film. It’s really interesting to see how even in non-religious films we see religious aspects in these and how very subtle undertones of metaphors of religion are in them – it’s kind of like investigating!

What do Religious Studies majors and minors do together as colleagues?

We have events, we do meals together, and there are opportunities and events for us to hear scholars present their research. 

What are your plans for the future?

Graduate school is next. What I’m looking into right now is a work study program where they will place me in a church as an assistant director of youth ministry in addition to my graduate school studies. The end goal is to be a professor!

What advice might you give to others considering a Religious Studies major? 

Take classes on diversity and inclusion because it will widen your perspective and it will show possible job careers that you could go into. I took a class with Dr. Meghan Henning last semester about disabilities and the Bible, and it really widened my perspective.

Why did you choose to major in Religious Studies?

I’ve always been fascinated by religion and it always inspired me to dig deeper and ask more questions. When I came to UD, I came in as an education major, but then I realized that Religious Studies was more for me.

How has a Religious Studies degree impacted you as a student?

I think the Religious Studies department and the professors have just poured so much into me and that has allowed me to see things in a different perspective. It has allowed me to open up my mind. It was such a good time to be around others and to participate in class discussions – it was always a fruitful experience. 

What can somebody expect if they become a Religious Studies major?

Everyone cares about you here, the professors and the people. I can't imagine myself going to any other school.

What brought you to the Department of Religious Studies?

Theology, and religion in general, have always interested me. I came to UD as a business student, but I always had a love for theology and for the Church. I knew that I might potentially want to work in something related to that someday. So I made the switch because I knew that you should study something that you want to and something that you enjoy. 

What would you say you find interesting and engaging about the program?

There is such a wide array of options, especially if you’re interested in more of the deeper theology. There’s also courses that are relevant to issues today. I like having the opportunity in several classes to look at the modern phenomenon. Being able to tackle the modern issues from a modern religious perspective, I find fascinating because you can connect it to so many different things.

What courses are you taking and how did they enrich you?

Theology of Mary was one of my favorite courses because there was both a theological and spiritual component. Being Catholic myself, getting to learn why we believe what we believe and also seeing the devotional side of it gives a lot of opportunity for growth. I really enjoyed History of Early Christianity because you got to see how the early Church came to be. I feel that a lot of the religious studies classes may also connect with other classes you may take here, so I’ve been able to take what I learn in my classes and apply it, like in my Christian Philosophy class.

What do Religious Studies majors and minors at the University of Dayton do together as colleagues?

You get to know the people that are in the major pretty well, as you’ll probably have multiple classes with several of them. You’ll get the bond of close relationships. Also, everyone has their own perspective. Right now, in my senior capstone seminar, there’s seven students, and all seven bring a very different perspective to the table in looking at Vatican II and its implementation: how we were raised in a post-Vatican II Church and how we see things. That has affected how we worship, how we pray, how we live our lives in general. I’d say the biggest way we work together is by taking our different perspectives and being able to grow from that and contribute more to the overall community at UD.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to look for high school religion teaching jobs or youth ministry jobs at a parish. I’m very passionate about catechetics and apologetics, so like sharing the faith and sharing the knowledge that I’ve been given to make an impact on others. Potentially down the road, I plan to go to graduate school to further study the catechetics of theology. I would love to work higher up in parish ministry or even for the Church in a bigger way like for a diocesan office.

What first brought you to minor in the Religious Studies program?

I applied for the Chaminade Scholars Program, and once I was accepted into that I was taking Religious Studies classes while pursuing my major in Psychology. I really enjoyed them and knew that I wanted to do ministry someday after graduation, so I figured I should learn as much about the faith as possible. And then I just dove into Religious Studies classes and the minor from there.

What do you find engaging about the Religious Studies program?

I think the coolest part was probably my classes I took with Chaminade Scholars because I was with my cohort and we were able to have open dialogue. We weren't all Religious Studies majors, so everyone got to contribute different parts of their major to the topics in class, and it just presented great dialogue and conversation. 

For example, I took a Christian ethics and healthcare class and it was very inspiring to watch the healthcare majors show their desire to bring the faith into their practices of medicine. Learning about morality behind everything to do with healthcare and how they're trying to bring hope into the healthcare system today was really cool. 

How have your Religious Studies classes enriched your Psychology major?

I took a Disability in the Bible class that was really great because I got to learn a lot about the history of disability. I have a huge passion for people with special needs and with disabilities since I am a psychology major. It's really transformed the way I think about disability. 

What are your plans for the future?

My fiancé and I are planning on being full-time missionaries with an organization called FOCUS, which sends out Catholic missionaries to college campuses to spread the gospel to students and be there as their mentor and support. I will be hosting Bible studies and events for students and making disciples of Jesus.


Graduate Programs in Religious Studies

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1530