Introduce yourself- Name, undergrad degree/major, area of interest in religious studies.
My name is Lauren Hughes, I’m an M.A. student in religious studies. I’m interested in the impact of capitalism and neoliberalism on religious freedoms in the United States.
Why did you choose to pursue an MA in religious studies?
I took a class with Dr. LoRusso as an elective during my master’s program in Geosciences and fell in love with the material and the questions being asked.
What’s something surprising or interesting you’ve learned this semester?
Honestly, I’ve found every class this semester extremely fulfilling. I’m coming into this degree as an academic outsider, and I’m using this first semester to acclimate myself to the various schools of thought within the discipline.
What courses are you enjoying the most, or what topics in your classes have you found the most engaging?
I’m really loving all of my classes because each is not only pushing me to be a better student of religious studies but pushing me to think critically about my own life and how I construct meaning in my own life.
What research projects are you working on this semester?- presentations, publications, thesis, etc.
I’ve got three final projects, and each is pulling me in an interesting direction. In one class, I’m critically analyzing the PBS documentary series God in America, for another class I’ve conducted an interview with a local politician, and I'm putting that interview in conversation with womanist theory, and in another, I’m applying William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience to the life of the mathematician Georg Cantor. All three are thoroughly engaging projects that are pushing me out of my mental comfort zone and challenging me academically.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am thinking of pursuing a Ph.D.
What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies you want to share?
I love to garden, sketch and paint in my free time.