Post by Maggie Helmick
Editor’s Note: Maggie is one of the Graduate Assistants in HDS Admissions. She is a first-year MTS student interested in how religious traditions call for environmental stewardship.
Hello! I’m Maggie Helmick, a Graduate Assistant in HDS Admissions and a first-year MTS student with an area of focus in Comparative Religions.
I grew up in Charleston, West Virginia and attended West Virginia University for undergrad. After changing my major several times, I ended up with a degree in Religious Studies and minors in Philosophy and Political Science. I truly never expected to go into religious studies, but after taking an introductory religious studies course to fulfill a general education credit, I fell in love with the insights it can provide into the lives, worldviews, and experiences of people and their cultures.
After graduating, I took off on a road-trip around the United States for a few months, where I came face to face with the impacts of climate degradation in America. With every national park, small town, and big city I visited, environmental issues took up more and more space in my mind. Returning home at the end of my trip, I felt compelled to find a way to do something about it. With no scientific background, I couldn’t see a way forward until I realized the profound influence of religion and its immense potential for inciting change. It was at this point that I decided to apply to graduate programs in religion to learn how specific religious traditions call for environmental stewardship.
With such a niche interest, I was really drawn to the openness of the MTS program at Harvard Divinity School, and I am fully enjoying the reality of that freedom today. At HDS, my academic interests center around ecology and faith with an activist approach. This semester, my two favorite classes are Pluralism with Dr. Diana Eck and Arousing Cosmic Energy in the Subtle Body (which is definitely as cool as it sounds!) with Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma.
Outside of school and work, I love to cook, bake, and watch food-related shows, like Chef’s Table and The Great British Baking Show. I am a devoted caretaker of several house plants, including a very tiny lemon tree that is currently growing four baby lemons – my pride and joy! I also love to ski and scuba dive and will take any opportunity I can to do so!
I’ll be helping to manage our “Ask Students” inbox this year, so please feel free to reach out anytime if you have any questions or would like to get matched with a student whose interest matches yours!