Congratulations to our 2020 Student Award Recipients!

Robert T. Anderson Award: Lauren Chapman

Lauren Chapman

Lauren Chapman: My favorite part of Religious Studies is the ability to learn about other cultures in a way that is unique and personal to that group. As religion is often the center of a person’s life, it provides a very special insight into culture and relationships, topics that are greatly important when dealing with peace, development, and international relationships. After I graduate I plan to join the Peace Corps, working with women and children to develop skills to thrive, and developing bonds that could lead to a more peaceful world.

Engaged Scholar Award: Mackenzie Meade

Mackenzie Meade: When I came to MSU I wasn’t planning on majoring in Religious Studies but after my first class with the Department I quickly fell in love with learning about religion. It was the perfect combination of all the subjects that I had always loved studying and the teachers that I have met during my four years with the Department have helped to nurture me into the student and scholar that I am today. Being in the Religious Studies Department also helped me to discover my passion for nonprofit which I was able to explore through the nonprofit leadership concentration. I hope to continue to explore this passion further at New England Law Boston in the fall while earning my J.D.

Bob Pettapiece Scholarship: Alana Davis

Alana Davis: My interest in Religious Studies lies in looking at religion through sociological and philosophical lenses, seeing the role religion plays in shaping and maintaining communal and individual identity. Examining the concepts and ideas that religion presents, how they interact with other ideas, and how religion is lived out in society is the most enthralling part for me! After graduating, I hope to continue my studies specializing in philosophy of religion. 

Julia Johnson Award in Religion and Ecology: Andrew Keller

Andrew Keller: The Religious Studies Department at Michigan State University has opened my eyes to the immense diversity within our community and in the world in general. I have been challenged to look at society with both an open heart and open mind, yet at the same time upholding a critical perspective. My experiences as a Religious Studies major have allowed me to grow as an individual that respects and appreciates all avenues of life. After graduating I plan on utilizing the knowledge I’ve gained through my courses and experiences to apply for positions in the nonprofit sector. Since I am from West Michigan, my current goal is to make a difference preserving, caring for, and helping people enjoy the beautiful natural areas of the west side of our state. Through the Religious Studies Department at Michigan State University I have been encouraged and challenged to grow personally, mentally, and spiritually. My understanding and appreciation for the world and its people are much stronger than when I first came to MSU. The courses I have taken and the experiences I’ve been able to pursue within the department have made me a better human being as a whole. The unique courses specifying in nonprofit leadership have helped shape my career aspirations for the future. After graduating my goals include working for nonprofit organizations in West Michigan that aim to preserve, care for, and encourage people to enjoy the natural beauty of our state.

Nick Rashford and Jake Folio Award: Skylar Berlin

Skylar Berlin: As a Religious Studies major, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about cultures and people around the world through the study of different religious traditions, which has allowed me to have a more nuanced understanding of both history and the modern day. While I’ve not yet decided what school I will be attending, after graduation I am pursuing a Master’s degree in religion in the Americas with the goal of one day becoming a professor.