Graduate Student Research

Our graduate students bring a diverse assortment of knowledge and interests to the department. Click below to see what our graduate students have been working on during their time at Georgia State University.

Dual-degree student Nancy Ramirez worked with graduate students Sabina Ali and Amber Deal to create an online orientation to Islam for our community partner, Compassion House for Living and Dying, in Dr. Molly Bassett’s fall 2018 graduate seminar. Other students in the course worked on orientations to Religious Literacy, Buddhism in America, and SBNR (Spiritual but not Religious). This video introduces Compassion House volunteers to what they’ll learn in the unit on Islam.

During his time at Georgia State, Steven has been working as a graduate research assistant for The Religious Sounds Map Project. The Religious Sounds Map Project, led by Dr. Kathryn McClymond out of the Department of Religious Studies, records and documents the sounds associated with various religious communities, events, and individual practices in metropolitan Atlanta. Individual and communities in the metro area produce rich oral, musical, environmental, and manufactured sounds that reflect and generate their religious commitments. These sounds offer a unique insight (in-hearing?) into the ways in which religious individuals and groups live out their spirituality, particularly in unofficial and unexpected spaces, such as homes, public parks, auditoriums, and street corners. These sound profiles also reflect the changing demographics of Atlanta over time.

Steven began by assisting with organizing the recordings that had already been done, posting them on the ATLMaps SoundCloud platform, and aligning the work (as much as possible) with ARSP (in terms of file naming, etc.). As part of that process, Steven began a research program of his own, associated with local prisons. Over the last year he has developed relationships with IMAN, a network that works with Muslim returning citizens as they are about to transition out of prison into society. In addition, Steven has volunteered with Common Good Atlanta, a nonprofit that provides incarcerated people with broad, democratic access to higher education ( ). At this time, Steven is preparing to graduate from our MA program and move into PhD program that allows him to continue this work as part of a dissertation project.

Vlad teaches yoga to youths in juvenile detention centers in the Atlanta area. His research is focused on the effects on trauma-sensitive yoga in this setting. Click the video below to hear Vlad give a more in-depth discussion of his research.

LaValla Wilson is the creator of The Dream Machine, a mobile website that provides educational and financial resources to homeless and at-risk youth. She was recently featured in the Grad Student Spotlight for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Through Georgia State University (GSU) Department of Religious Studies required internship Rels 6400  a proposal was submitted to GSU Student Innovative Fellow (SIF). The “Dream Machine,” a mobile-first website for homeless and at-risk-youth began as a research proposal for the Georgia State University Student Innovative Fellow (SIF) program as a component in the required internship course in the MA in Religious Studies and Concentration in Nonprofit Management program. The SIF fellowship is an example of the opportunities available for students to apply their training in religious studies to create practical solutions to real life problems. LaValla worked closely with her advisor during the internship and SIF project, and she kept the department Chair up to speed as the website work progressed. If you would like additional information about GSU’s Religious Studies department, please visit or email Dr. Molly Bassett at mbassett(at)

Read more about her work in the interview here.