What is your current position?
I am a theology teacher and coordinator for Mercy in Action, the service program at Mount de Sales Academy, an independent Catholic school founded by the Sisters of Mercy in Macon, Georgia.
How has your experience as an alumna been so far?
My experience as an alumna has been wonderful! I am grateful for my education at the SOT because it has prepared me to be a knowledgeable theology teacher and innovative in creating course curricula and service programs such as Mercy in Action. Students at Mount de Sales reflect on their service in the theology classroom and my experience at Saint John's helped me see the necessary connection between theology and action.
Where did you earn your undergraduate degree from?
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in theology degree from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina.
Why did you choose the SOT? What year did you graduate from the SOT?
I chose the School of Theology because it was a Benedictine University and I really enjoyed my time in undergrad at a Benedictine College. I love how hospitable the monks are and the built-in community on campus. Saint John's does an excellent job of making Benedictine spirituality pervasive in many aspects of daily life. I will always love the sense of place that Saint John's created so that it felt like a home away from home. I graduated from the SOT in 2010 with a Master of Arts in theology specializing in systematics. In 2016, I finally finished my Master of Theology with a concentration in spirituality. My ThM thesis was on Adrienne von Speyr, and it was the most formative part of my time in graduate school thanks to my amazing advisors, Dr. Kathy Lilla Cox and Sister Mary Forman. They were encouraging and taught me that I could write something excellent when I didn't always believe that myself.
What are your interests and what is your field of study?
Currently my theological interests have to do with people making a difference in our world. I am inspired by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ and Jean Vanier, who are both challenging people to see the ways in which they may limit their understanding of the human person. These men are two examples of what inspired me to create Mercy in Action at my school as a way to encourage students to live differently because of their faith and to believe differently because of their service to others. I am also very inspired by servant leadership and the intersection of art and theology.
What advice would you give to students considering enrolling in the SOT?
I challenge people considering enrolling in the SOT to embrace the sense of place and community on campus. When I was a student there, I was very far away from all of my loved ones. My experience at the SOT was not always easy, but it formed me into the teacher, wife, friend and daughter I am today. My time there instilled in me the value of hospitality, compassion and listening to people who are different from me, challenging me to think differently about myself and others. I recommend that students interested in the SOT should visit and spend some time being a part of the community there, experiencing the presence of the monks, learning from the wise professors and having meaningful conversations with other students, especially those who come from a different background.