April Simpson

Ph.D., Religious Studies

Hometown: I am originally from the Chattanooga, TN, area, but I lived in Boiling Springs, NC, for several years immediately prior to moving to Dallas.

What is your research area?
My field is New Testament, and my specific research focus is the Gospel of Mark.

What is something cool about your field?
I find the variety of approaches to learning about the New Testament to be an appealing aspect of the field of study. Some people might be interested in learning more about the New Testament because, as Christians, they desire to study the scriptures of their faith. Others might be interested in studying the New Testament for what can be called “non-confessional” reasons, whether these people are Christians or not. I appreciate that my field both includes scholars with these different approaches and is, I believe, relevant to students with all sorts of religious convictions (including those who are non-religious). Christianity and the New Testament have frequently impacted history, cultures, and politics, and learning about the New Testament can aid students in coming to understand how these texts have been used in various times and places, not least in the current US socio-political climate.   

What is the best thing you've done as a graduate student at SMU so far?
I am very grateful to have had opportunities for professional development already during my first year at SMU. The opportunities have been in addition to the teaching and research assistantships I will hold during the program. Because I have been able to develop my practical skills and professionalism while completing my coursework and gaining content knowledge in my field, I believe I am better preparing myself for my future as a teacher-scholar. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas?
I have enjoyed going to a few Texas Rangers games, despite being a Braves fan. Even though Dallas is very hot, I also enjoy being able to run outside in our neighborhood.

What do you wish you'd known before starting graduate schools?
More than something I wish I had known before beginning graduate school, I wish I had mastered the skill of speed reading before beginning! To be clear, this skill remains unmastered, at least by me; however, I am continually working to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of my study skills, and I have survived thus far!

What is your favorite leisure activity?
My husband and I like doing puzzles, playing card games, watching sports, or catching up on our favorite shows when we have down time.