Meet the University Ph.D. Fellows
Ph.D., Religious Studies
Hometown: Sanborn, Iowa
What is your research area?
I am an historian of religious in the United States during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (apprx. 1877-1920). In particular, I research how the faith communities of immigrants influences processes of Americanization for immigrants during this period.
What is something cool about your field?
We are a rather diverse group of individuals with a variety of interests. This means I get to take classes with other students in my department who ask different questions from my own, who research a variety of historical eras and topics, and who employ a wide variety of methodological approaches. What is more, our interdisciplinary approach allows me to take classes in other departments (most frequently the History Department) and draw upon some of the really excellent and exciting resources here at SMU.
What is the best thing you've done as a graduate student at SMU so far?
Well, I do an enormous amount of reading (an average of 4-5 books a week), but in addition to really diving into my field, I think that one of the most rewarding things I've done thus far is working closely with some really excellent faculty members here who have helped to frame the questions that I ask and the ways that I go about exploring them. In addition to my excellent advisor, Ted Campbell, I've been extremely fortunate to work with Crista DeLuzio in the History Department and Priscilla Pope-Levison in Perkins School of Theology. Those relationships have not only helped ease the transition to Ph.D. work but also to form me as a scholar.
What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas?
I love exploring all of the great places to eat in Dallas with my fellow Ph.D. Fellow Grace Vargas. It's a great way to both have an excellent meal and explore a new city.
What do you wish you'd known before starting graduate school?
I think one of the things I missed when I was preparing was the level to which I'd need to be doing a multitude of things in addition to my coursework, comprehensive exams, and preparing for a dissertation. For example, in addition to all of my normal schoolwork, I've also been working on book reviews that will be published this year, finalizing an article to be published in a journal this fall, and preparing a few more papers for presentation at conferences this spring. None of this counts as coursework, but all of it is imperative for us as graduate students, and somehow, I overlooked how much those things would factor into my program. They are wonderful, and I love the opportunity to do them. They are really like a hidden (but time consuming) perk!
What is your favorite leisure activity?
At this point, I have to say that it's probably being a foodie, which is also my answer to a previous question. It's just a great way to explore the city, hang out with my friends, and normally eat a really great meal.