Religion & Nature

Kristina Haselier (M.A. student, 2016) – khaselier@ufl.edu

Kristina earned Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Biology and a minor in Religion from Florida Southern College.  She then completed her MS in Forest Resources & Conservation with a focus on community planning to promote nature-based recreation.  Her current research focus includes the development and implementation of environmentally responsible ethical systems.   She is also interested in the conservation of the cultural and biological resources in the Amazonian region, and how these shamanistic cultures promote environmentally responsible behavior (balance).

Aya Cockram (M.A. student, 2016) – ayac2889@ufl.edu 

IMG_3947BA in Religious Studies from Kalamazoo College. Her undergraduate thesis examined Islam as vehicle through which to disseminate environmental ideas and encourage environmental behavior in Senegal.  The paper received honors from her department, was presented at the Western Michigan Research Symposium and the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture conference in 2012.  She plans to complete her MA in the Religion and Nature department, continuing to pursue her interests in Islam and its potential to catalyze environmental movements in West Africa, while studying Arabic and Wolof.

Religions of Asia

unnamedDustin Shane H. (M.A. student, 2015) — dustin.shane.h@ufl.edu
Summa Cum Laude alum from Youngstown State University with a BA in Religious studies and minor in Linguistics. Past work includes an undergraduate thesis exploring language and agency during in India during British Colonialism and an award winning piece on transgenderism within Buddhism. Current interests include gender and sexuality constructions within Hindu traditions, Sanskrit literature, linguistic studies in Sanskrit, religion and violence, and religious theory. Future plans are to pursue a PhD. in classical Indic studies and remain in the academy as a professor of Sanskrit and Hindu traditions.


Richard Batchelor (M.A. student, 2015) – rbatchelor@ufl.edu

Richard graduated cum laude from University of Florida, where he received his Bachelor’s degree DB-0255in Religion. As an undergraduate, he received the University of Florida Department of Religion’s Russell Lowell Jaberg Award for Academic Excellence for his paper, “The Kapalikas: Sect or Style?” His primary area of research involves the historical interaction between Western Esotericism and South Asian religion, with a close eye on British occultist Aleister Crowley and his successors’ adaptation of tantric philosophy and
technique. Along with this focus, he is interested in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, Sanskrit studies, and critical theory, particularly deconstruction and post-structuralism.

Josh McKinley (M.A. student, 2016) — joshmckinley@ufl.edu

Received a B.A. from Mississippi State as a Philosophy & Religion major.  During his time as an undergraduate he focused his studies on classical Hindu traditions and figures, with a particular focus on the Vaishnava tradition as well as the Sanskrit language.  He was able to present three papers for the Shackouls Honors College Research Symposium at Mississippi State that dealt with these traditions and figures. He plans to complete his M.A. with the Department of Religion at the University of Florida with the goal of later pursuing a PhD.

Global Islam

Megan McDaniel (M.A. student 2016) — memcdaniel@ufl.edu

Graduated summa cum laude and with Honors in the Major from Florida State University where she received a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Religion. During her undergraduate career she focused on Orientalism and Ottoman studies, completing her undergraduate thesis on Orientalist female artists who depicted harem spaces in 19th century Istanbul. She currently studies Arabic and Turkish and is working towards her M.A. in Religion at the University of Florida where she intends to focus her studies on aspects of religion and terrorism in the Arab World, more specifically Iraq.