Michigan State University

Many of our alumni have integrated and utilized their Religious Studies degrees in their career paths. From work in non-profits to counseling practices to graduate school, MSU Religious Studies graduates have used their time at Michigan State to serve as a launching point for their future.

Julia Johnson (Religious Studies, 2015) our recent Religious Studies alumnus who is now at Yale University in an innovative graduate program there! Here is a great story featuring Julia, and her education from MSU!

Anthony Hatinger (Religious Studies, 2013) is working in a nonprofit in Detroit, serving diverse religious and cultural communities with numerous community agricultural projects.

Sara Lone (Religious Studies) is in graduate school at the University of California at Irvine, getting a Masters degree in the intersection of Religion, Nonprofits, and Public Policy.

Jeffrey Cozzens (Religious Studies) received his Masters degree in International Security Studies from St. Andrews University in 2003, is the head of the Arete Associates Terrorism Studies and Analysis Program, and on the Daniel Webster College Homeland Security Advisory Board. He’s authored several scholarly articles related to emerging trends in jihadi radicalization, thought and violence.

Rachele Bruscato (Religious Studies) writes: “Post-MSU life has taken me to grad school in Chicago. I’m currently at DePaul University in the Human Services and Counseling Program. When I graduate, I’d like to be a counselor in a high school or university setting. From my admission essay to in-class discussions, I find that I use my Religious Studies background all the time. It gave me a great foundation of tolerance and multiculturalism in a very diverse world. Religious Studies also taught me about the importance of trying to understand people through their worldview, which is extremely applicable to effective and empathic counseling. Whenever I imagine what I would do if I won the lottery, I always include donating a building to the Religious Studies Dept. at MSU (I love you guys!), so here’s hoping I hit it big some day!”

Marie Shepherd (Religious Studies, MSU) writes: “I am extremely glad to hear that the Religious Studies department is doing well. I loved my time at MSU, and it truly laid the foundation for my future. Since graduation (summer 2004) I went on to graduate school at Loyola University New Orleans. I received a Master’s Degree in Religous Studies, specializing in Biblical Analysis. During my time at Loyola I experienced Hurricane Katrina, which set me back one semester, but I returned and was able to finish my degree in the summer of 2006. I was also extremely moved by the community support after Katrina and so after graduation I spent a year working for AmeriCorps in Minneapolis. I was assigned to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. I was a program coordinator for the Agency and handled all their interfaith and youth programs. I was also an active member of the Twin Cities Interfaith Network. After the completion of my year term in AmeriCorps, I decided to return to West Michigan. I moved back to my hometown of Grand Haven and am now working at St. Patrick/ St. Anthony Catholic Church as their Director of Mission and Ministry. Things have worked out very well for me and I am extremely lucky to use my degrees every day. I really love Michigan State and especially the Religious Studies department.”

Kristy Slominski is currently a Ph.D. student in Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara studying American religions, gender, and sexuality: “I entered Michigan State University as a freshman without a plan for a career, and then I took my first religious studies course. I was hooked on the idea of studying such a variety of religions and their impact on people’s lives. I became a religious studies and interdisciplinary studies major and took every course on religion that I could fit into my schedule. I became especially interested in the study of American religion. After learning more about the research process as a research assistant to Professor DeRogatis, I wrote my senior thesis on Protestant views on transgenderism. I have continued research on gender and sexuality in American religion as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I find that my time as a religious studies major at MSU prepared me for graduate school and for thinking about the variety of world religions and religious studies methods. As I begin to teach courses on religion, I think back on my own excitement as a student at MSU and the many ways that my professors inspired me to study the significance of religion.”

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