Editor’s Note: At HDS, many students work in on-campus, part-time jobs, some of which are research positions. In this article MTS student Margaret Hamm talks about her job as a Research Associate for The Pluralism Project.
Post by: Margaret Hamm, MTS ‘21
Since September, I’ve worked as a student Research Associate at The Pluralism Project. For those not already familiar with its mission, The Pluralism Project is a Harvard Divinity School initiative that strives to explore the constantly changing religious landscape of the United States through educational tools and resources. As a first-year MTS student with research interests in the history of religious freedom in America and First Amendment law, I was immediately drawn to The Pluralism Project and its initiatives, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to deepen my own understanding of religious pluralism in America.
For most of my time at The Pluralism Project, my work has supported the recent redesign of The Pluralism Project’s website. Along with five other Research Associates, I have copyedited, reformatted, transferred old material, and created new material for the many sections and sub-pages of the website. Each of the Research Associates is assigned to certain religious traditions, so I have also been paying special attention to my assigned traditions: Afro-Caribbean Traditions, Christianity, and Humanism. After months of preparation, our new website just went live on March 23rd, so be sure to check it out and take a look at all of our hard work! Thanks to a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the website is looking better than ever and is now easy to access and navigate. With these changes, we hope that even more people can utilize our resources and come to a better understanding of what it means to live in a multireligious America.
However, my favorite part of the work I do at The Pluralism Project involves the Case Initiative. The Case Initiative provides educators with access to The Pluralism Project’s many case studies, which introduce discussion and debate around real issues of religious pluralism that took place in schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and other public spaces across America. One of my favorite cases is Adding Eid, in which the superintendent of the Cambridge Public School District grapples with the question of whether to increase or adjust the number of religious holidays in the academic calendar. Because I study religion and law, I appreciate how many of these cases delve into the complex interactions between law, public policy, and religious practices in American institutions. As I read through the case studies, I love to picture myself in the situation at hand and imagine how I would respond if I were faced with the same issue.
If it is not already obvious, I love my job at The Pluralism Project and am so glad that I have found a way to be involved with the Harvard community outside of my classes at HDS. (Also, shout-out to my boss, Lexi Salomone, who is an MTS alum and the absolute best!) For prospective and admitted HDS students, I highly recommend seeking out opportunities like working at The Pluralism Project during your time at HDS.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about work opportunities at HDS, you can check out the Financial Aid Office’s website. If you decide to come to HDS, you will have access to the Harvard job database, which includes on- and off-campus listings for positions at organizations like the Pluralism Project.