Meet Our Incoming Students, Part 3

Editor’s Note: This is the final post in our three-part series introducing you to incoming students! These students have come to HDS to explore everything from Buddhist chaplaincy to grief in South Asian traditions. This week, HDS students have officially finalized their schedules and are getting ready for the semester! We wish all these incoming students a happy first semester at HDS. This is part three of a three-part series—you can also read part one and part two. 

Rebecca Mendoza Nunziato, MTS ‘22, studying Latinx and Latin American decolonial spirituality 

My studies will center on the topic of decolonization and indigenous spirituality, specifically focusing on pre-Columbian Mesoamerican religions as a tool for modern Latinx spirituality (in hopes that ancient wisdom can be reclaimed and aid connection with the earth and one another). I applied to HDS because of the work of Professors David Carrasco and Mayra Rivera Rivera as well as the incredible course offerings of HDS. This summer I have been working full-time, connecting with my community in Denver, Colorado, and preparing to move my RV home and family (partner + pets) to the East Coast. 

Laura Mucha, MTS ‘22 focusing on Women, Gender, and Sexuality 

 I am a first-year Master of Theological Studies (MTS) student at Harvard Divinity School concentrating in Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion, focusing specifically on female participation in Christian religious practice, both in the contemporary megachurch movement and the early modern Church. I plan to center my research at the nexus of contemporary American evangelism and the politicization of the American family unit. This summer, I’ve been taking Summer Language Program in Latin and working as a research assistant at the Pluralism project. In addition to my academic interests, I enjoy the New York Times crossword puzzle and an everything bagel with cream cheese. 

Keila Franks, MDiv ‘23, studying Buddhist chaplaincy 

At HDS, I am planning to focus on Buddhist studies, particularly socially engaged Buddhism and Buddhist chaplaincy. One of the main reasons I applied to HDS is the Buddhist Ministry Initiative, which is one of the only programs focused on the study of Buddhist ministry in the country. For the past four years, I served as the Director of Medicaid Policy Advocacy at the Tennessee Justice Center, a non-profit in Nashville. I recently transitioned away from this role, and I spent the summer studying Spanish through the Summer Language Program at HDS. 

Brittany Grady, MTS ‘ 22, focusing on Religion, Literature, and Culture 

I plan to study how the depiction of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses in the Bible continues to impact how we are seen in modern Western culture. That ties directly into my interest in making religious spaces more actively inclusive for all people. I applied to HDS because of the breadth of its MTS program—specifically, its overt focus on marginalized groups and on the roles theological ideologies play in the psychological, social, and political aspects of existing together. This summer, I’ve spent lots of time developing my “school space” inside my bedroom so that I have a comfortable but very separate place in which to do schoolwork. 

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