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Post by Kate Hoeting 

Hi everyone! I’m a second year Master in Theological Studies student with an area of focus in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. I’m excited to return to the HDS Office of Admissions for another year of working as a Graduate Assistant! 

Just before coming to HDS, graduated from Carleton College in the great state of Minnesota where I was born and raised. Although I majored in religion, I was surprised by my own path—I grew up non-religious and hadn’t been interested in religion before coming to college. I’m non-religious/unaffiliated/whatever to this day, and I’ve found HDS not only a great place to study religion but also to think about how my own identity relates to my work. 

While in college, a few experiences cemented my path to divinity school. I started the life-changing work of volunteering as an abortion doula through the Carleton Advocacy Network of Doulas (CAN-DO), which I helped co-found in college. As an abortion doula, I supported patients in-clinic during the procedure. This meant showing up for patients however they needed me—I did everything from holding hands and passing tissues to chatting about Netflix. I could see the parallels between doula work and chaplaincy, and I felt excited by the idea of learning more about hands-on spiritual care and counseling at HDS. I was more interested in the MTS than the MDiv, and I loved that HDS allowed MTS students do field education and enroll in chaplaincy-oriented courses. 

Kate moderating a panel of abortion doulas and providers // Photo courtesy of Kate Hoeting

The second experience that led me to divinity school was writing my undergraduate senior thesis on spiritual but not religious people who walked the Catholic pilgrimage El Camino de Santiago in Spain. For this project, I was able to engage in ethnography for the first time by traveling to Spain and walking 200 miles along the pilgrimage. I met the most incredible pilgrims along the journey and loved talking to them about their religious identities in taverns, fields, and churches. Doing academic research confirmed my interest in divinity school, where I hoped to combine my love of ethnography with my interest in reproductive healthcare and religion. 

Kate finishing the Camino de Santiago at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela // Photo courtesy of Kate Hoeting

Here at HDS, I’ve been able to combine these passions. I’ve taken some incredible classes, given talks about abortion and religion, and started writing my thesis on Catholic and Jewish conversations about abortion after the Great Depression. This year, I’m Zoom-ing into my classes from my cozy apartment in Cambridge.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of working in the Office of Admissions is being able to talk with prospective students. Please do not hesitate to email us at ask_students@hds.harvard.edu if you have any questions or if you’d like to get connected with a current student whose interests match yours. Applying to graduate school can feel incredibly daunting, and you don’t have to do it alone!