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

Dustin Francesco-Biel (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 in India during British Colonialism and an award winning piece on transgenderism within Buddhism. Current work includes a Master’s thesis on Medieval Indian poetry, particularly Tulsidas’ Rāmacaritamānas, which synthesizes textual, historical, and sacred geographical analyses, exercising a novel, hermeneutical argument for Tulsidas’ poetical devices; and attaining a SLAT (Second Language Acquisition and Teaching) certificate. Interests include: Sanskrit studies; gender and sexuality constructions within religious traditions; religious theory/philosophy; and religion and violence. Future plans are to pursue a PhD. in classical Indic studies (with a focus on Sanskrit acquisition, grammar, and literature) and remain in the academy as a professor of Sanskrit and Hindu traditions.
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

Zachary Faircloth (M.A. student 2018) — zfaircloth@ufl.edu

Zachary earned a Bachelor’s degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with a concentration in Arabic and a minor in religion at Duke University. Current research interests include the entanglement of race and religion, racialized representations of Islam, and the interplay of modernity, secularity, and rurality. Zachary is currently working on a thesis that focuses on white converts to Islam in the American South and the ways that race, class, and cultural attachment affect their navigation of both whiteness and Muslim identity.

Religion in the Americas

Amelia Anderson (M.A. Student 2019) – ameliaanderson@ufl.edu

Amelia received her BA in Latin American Studies with a minor in Religious Studies from Davidson College, where she graduated magna cum laude. Her undergraduate honors thesis examined the history of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church of Cuba and how the Church works within the context of the Cuban Revolution. At UF, her current research interests include the development of religious traditions in the Caribbean.