Why Study Religion?
Only a few students enter Albion intending to study religion or to pursue a major or minor in religious studies. Most of our students select a course in religious studies as part of their core requirement, and then take more courses with us for one reason: fascination. A survey of the courses we teach, their content, and their methods explains why so many students take more than one course with us.
- Would you like to know about the first-century environment of Jesus and the early church?
- Have you wondered about the differences between Judaism and its daughter religion, Christianity, and why they separated?
- What do women's experiences bring to different religious traditions?
- How can an understanding of Islam shed light on current political developments in the Middle East?
- What about the relationship between philosophy and religion? Or science and religion?
- Would you like to know more about Asian religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism?
- What about ethical questions in a time when our society is debating issues such as AIDS, abortion, euthanasia, racism, and other matters that will affect us for many years to come?
Many of these questions have their roots in religious perspectives that are a part of our multicultural inheritance. We cannot afford to ignore them. Religion is a vital part of our world. It is as current as today's news, yet reaches back to our earliest beginnings as a species.
What Can You Do with Religious Studies?
Although religious studies may be interesting in and of itself, one cannot live on academic interest alone. Studying religion also has practical payoffs. Students who have graduated from Albion with a major in religious studies are now involved in a wide variety of careers. Some have earned graduate degrees in religious studies and teach in leading colleges and universities. Many are in human services of some kind: pastoral ministry in churches, social work, counseling, and education.
Religious studies, like its sister disciplines in the liberal arts, helps students learn to think critically, not just about religion, but about all aspects of human existence. The study of religion helps students understand themselves and their families' heritage. Religious studies helps us understand our world, past and present, and to apply this understanding to many areas of life. Accordingly, many of our students end up in the professions: writing, law, business, and industry. Many of our students have chosen to double-major in areas like history, anthropology, psychology, or English.
Because religion is concerned with integrating different aspects of human existence, the study of religion has applications, both practical and theoretical, that are far-reaching. We know, from the testimonies of our alumni, that employers appreciate the balance and breadth that the study of religion offers.
Selva J. Raj Memorial Scholarship
This award was established in March of 2008 in memory of Dr. Selva J. Raj (1952 – 2008). Dr. Raj was a beloved and outstanding scholar, teacher, and colleague. Recipients of the scholarship are announced at Albion College's Honors Convocation each April.
2014 Laxmi Kotha
2013 Christina Hallam
2012 Dustin Moretz
2011 Christopher White
2010 Julia Humenik
2009 Christina Griffith and Steven Maisel
John and Williemae Cheek Award
The John and Williemae Cheek Award is a cash award presented each year to the outstanding senior in the Religious Studies Department.
2014 Tim Delong, Christina Hallam & Dustin Moretz
2013 Jonathan Tostige
2012 Nicholas Lessnau
2011 Julia Humenik
2010 Steve Maisel
2009 Dianne F. Marshall
2008 Joel Pier-Fitzgerald
2007 Andrea Mettler
2006 Mathew Milligan
2004 Marcia Nelson
2002 Madolene Page-Wood
2001 Heather Schmidt
2000 Meredith Thompson & Michelle Lesperance
1999 Brenda Green
1998 Jennifer Ralston
1997 Jennifer Koehn
1996 Wendi Mrozinski
1995 Aaron Schwoebel
1994 Christopher Behling
1992 Jennifer Smith
1991 Andrew Keck
1990 Weatherly Burkhead
1989 Peter Plagge
1987 Gerald Hunter
1986 Jonathon Smiedendorf
1983 Donald Treglown
1982 Barry Petrucci
1981 Patrick Twomey
1980 Holly Wagner
1979 Carol Mader
1978 Richard Copp
1977 Barbara Mader