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Photo credit: Chris Alburger

Congratulations on your acceptance to Harvard Divinity School! Discerning program “fit,” in light of my scholarly and personal interests, was easy for me. I entered HDS with personal conviction, very much in alignment with the HDS mission, to foster a global culture of mutual understanding, respect, and goodwill—a culture in which people of every religion and culture coexist and work together in peace. I knew that the MTS program would help me to critically engage my understanding of my Catholic faith and learn more about powerful and interdependent cultural, political and social forces, as I endeavor to help implement empirically and cultural-linguistically based policies and programs centered on access to equitable health care and education for all.

I view the MTS as a realistically structured and flexible plan of study, giving space for me to accommodate my varying and interrelated interests. The sweeping course selection also attracted me to HDS, informing my interest in the intersection of religion, spirituality, and medicine. The ability to cross-register at the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Kennedy School was also alluring, given my interest in multidisciplinary approaches to social justice issues.

HDS breeds inimitable opportunities for intellectual, professional, and spiritual growth. The stimulating and enriching opportunity to engage in Field Education, facilitated by the Office of Ministry Studies, has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my graduate career yet. Working at the Boston Healing Landscape Project, at the Boston University Medical School, is preparing me for my social justice ministry on a pragmatic and deep theological level, through the integration of theory and praxis.

What I have also found here is a vibrant and nourishing community of colleagues, staff, faculty, and alumni. The Office of Career Services has adopted a mantra this academic year centered on the power of networking—“ABC: Always Be Connecting.” At HDS, informal and deliberate opportunities to genuinely connect seem boundless.

HDS is full of a rich variety of students from different scholarly and spiritual backgrounds. It is a privilege to learn about their passions, civic commitments, and scholarly endeavors. My experiences at Community Tea, Noon Service, with the HDS Catholics, at lectures and events, and as an HDS Senator for the university-wide Harvard Graduate Student Government continuously engender countless opportunities to connect and learn something new from my colleagues at HDS outside of the classroom.

HDS faculty and staff are approachable, accessible, authentic, supportive, and solution-focused. Engaging the theoretical frameworks, innovative solutions, and groundbreaking research of professors at HDS and Harvard-wide, as well as alumni, is invaluable. Their steadfast commitment to transmitting high caliber skill sets, and supporting my development as a scholar and professional—both inside and outside the classroom—is noteworthy. Whether I’m seeking academic counsel from my Adviser or guidance in the fiscal aspects of graduate life from Financial Aid Officers, or going to the Office of Ministry Studies, Student Life, or the Registrar with specific questions, the faculty and staff embody these qualities.

Congratulations, once again, on your acceptance to HDS and good luck in discerning whether our programs and community are a good “fit.” I realize that I have but scratched the surface in describing our academic community and highly encourage you to direct any burning questions you may have to the Office of Admissions as you discern whether Harvard Divinity School is the right fit for you.