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Religion in the Americas:

Matt Hartley (M.A. student, 2011) – received a B.A. in English, with a Minor in Religon, from the University of North Florida (2005). His undergraduate thesis investigated the role of British Victorian literature in preaching religious and social morality. After 6 years of teaching College Preparation and English in a public high school, Matt began his M.A. in Religion at UF in 2011. Working in the Americas track, his research pertains to how Muslim Youth are emplaced in the American Southeast, and the dynamics of their interreligious relationships.
Caroline Reed (M.A. student, 2013) – graduated summa cum laude from UF with her BA in Religion in 2011 and is now earning her MA in Religion, focusing on American religious history, sociology of religion, and poststructuralist theory. Currently, she is working on her thesis—an ethnography of New Age religious groups in Gainesville, FL. Upon earning her degree, she plans to begin graduate studies in either clinical social work or counseling education, where her research and practice will center on the intersection of spirituality and therapy and the role of the arts and humanities in mental health.

Megan Geiger (M.A. student, 2014) – received her B.A. in Spanish with a dual minor in Anthropology and English Literature from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, where she was chosen as the Stan and Renee Wimberly Scholar for the class of 2014. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the changes in the social discourses present in an archive of sermons from a Pentecostal church, and she aims to continue in that vein of research during her time in the Master’s program. Her other research interests include Pentecostalism and immigration, Pentecostalism in Latin America, American religious history, and the role of women in Christian fundamentalism. She is an active member of the United Pentecostal Church, International.

Asian Religions:

Kelsie Stewart (M.A. student, 2011) – received her B.S., Cum Laude, from the University of Florida in 2009 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Religion. Kelsie currently focuses on contemporary Japanese Buddhism and Japanese language. Her research interests include death and end-of-life issues in Buddhism, Buddhist hospice, and the intersection of science and Buddhism. Kelsie also works with the University of Florida’s Center for Health and Spirituality in teaching the course ‘Health and End-of-life Issues’ which explores topics associated with death and dying including cultural, spiritual, and psychological traditions that affect health decisions, behavior, and medical care.

Joseph Heizman (M.A. student, 2012) – earned his Bachelor’s at the University of South Florida in Religious Studies. His current focus is on Chinese religions, specifically Ch’en Buddhism. He is interested in the relationship between Buddhism and marital arts, as well as the so called “Ch’en Madmen.”