Post by: Emily Rogal, Master of Divinity Student ’20; Graduate Assistant, HDS Office of Admissions
As the school year comes to a close, the other Graduate Assistants and myself are reflecting on how unbelievable it is that it’s already been a full academic year since we first stepped onto the campus as students. It’s been a year full of making new friends, taking interesting classes, late night paper writing sessions at Andover library, navigating Harvard Yard, drinking fancy lattes from Tatte (that might just be me), and, of course, talking to the wonderful prospective students! As summer rapidly approaches, current students such as ourselves are putting the last touches on our summer plans. To give some insight into what a summer may look like for an HDS student, here is what we are planning to do. Enjoy!
K.C. McConnell, Master of Theological Studies / Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ’20: I am grateful to have received funding from Harvard Divinity School’s Office of Ministry Studies (OMS) for International Field Education in India. I will be traveling to Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India, and working with a Jain organization devoted to the protection and welfare of cows. Hopefully, I will be working with both the cows residing in the goshala (cow sanctuary) and the board of directors to provide care for these animals and bring awareness to the plight of animals sentenced for slaughter. At the same time, I hope to observe how animals are sites of interfaith and political tension and cohesion. I will be drawing upon ideas inspired by Professor Janet Gyatso’s, “Knowing Animals,” to examine how interspecies interactions and animal ethics structure religious, political, and national identities. During this experience, I hope to gain more in-country experience and opportunities to practice my Hindi, as well as perspectives on the religio-political situation in India as it exists on the ground. Additionally, I hope to explore how I might combine my calling for caring for animals with an attentiveness to their role in social and political conflicts.
Emily Rogal, Master of Divinity ‘20: I have spent the past four summers at various Jewish summer camps, and it was really difficult to decide to not go back this summer. However, I managed to find an opportunity that is still fairly close to the camp-feeling! When I get back to Boston after traveling around Israel for several weeks, I will be a Community Educator at Brandeis University’s high school program, BIMA/Genesis. This program is for Jewish high school students who are interested in pursuing a unique, dynamic relationship with Judaism. In my role as Community Educator, I will have the opportunity to teach a class and live in the dorms with the participants as a sort of RA.
While some may question my desire to go from one classroom during the year to another during the summer, I believe that this opportunity will help strengthen my pastoral and educator skills. When I was a camp counselor, something that struck me was the fact that I had the opportunity to be for younger people what I needed when I was their age. I am excited to bring my experiences of praying, playing, and learning back to HDS with me in the fall!
Mikaela Allen, Master of Theological Studies ’19: This summer, I will spend 9 weeks in Taipei, Taiwan for an intensive Chinese language program at National Taiwan University called the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP). While there, I’ll have 4 Chinese classes a day! My living arrangements have not yet been finalized, but I plan to stay at a share house split 50/50 between Taiwanese students and students from other nationalities studying in Taipei. Of course, I wouldn’t have this wonderful opportunity if it were not for a graduate student summer language grant from the Harvard Asia Center. I imagine that I’ll spend most of my time between the classroom and the library, but I also intend to visit night markets, hike a mountain or two, and visit temples throughout my stay.
While plenty of HDS students travel throughout the world each summer, many remain in the states to pursue special projects, Field Education, and the Summer Language Program (SLP) here at HDS. When considering graduate schools, it is a good idea to keep summer opportunities like these in mind!