Trouble viewing this email? Read it online.
Religious Studies header

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Just as Fall quarter is a time for beginnings, in which we celebrate the arrival of new students and new faculty, Spring quarter marks the end of the academic year, when we look back and reflect on the achievements of our students and faculty, and look forward to new stages of life. These include the summer break when students and faculty alike can enjoy the change of pace of summer, a welcome period of rest, recovery and deepened scholarly engagement before the academic cycle begins again in September. For our graduating majors and minors, it marks a much more significant transition, the end of their undergraduate careers and the beginning of a new stage of life. As always, we honored our graduates’ achievements this year at our annual Religious Studies Reception, which will be discussed below. We would also like to draw attention to the collaborative scholarship undertaken by one of our faculty members and students, which will be highlighted in this issue. I would also like to acknowledge that this issue of Perspectives was co-edited and designed by our faculty member Jan Giddings and our graduating major, Nick Nagy, with considerable support from our senior administrative assistant, Vicky Gonzalez. I am grateful to all of them for their excellent work on this issue.

David Gray
Chair, Religious Studies Department

Top Story
Sarita Tamayo Moraga and Olivia Hill Interfaith Research in Action

Olivia Hill '21 presented on the connection between the Ways of Understanding Religion course and the Unity Residential Life Community's Imagine Interfaith Floor.

Read More

News and Events
suffering and buddhism A New View of Suffering: Buddhism, Mindfulness, and Transformation

Moderated by Prof. Paul Schutz, Profs. David Gray and Sarita Tamayo-Moraga explored the theoretical foundations of Buddhist thought and led participants through several mini-meditation practices.

Read more
tent cities Tent Cities in Silicon Valley

Boo Riley organized an event on homeless encampments.

Read More
Stop Human Trafficking Stop Human Trafficking

National award-winning speaker Hao Nguyen spoke about labor and sex trafficking.

Read More
Living Religions Our Lady of Lavang Our Lady of Lavang: The Ethnicization of the Virgin Mary in the Vietnamese Diaspora

Guest speaker Thien-Huong Ninh discussed her book and research; Prof. Thao Nguyen, S.J. offered a response.

Read More
Conversation on Immigration Beyond Bridges, Beyond Walls: Religion and Im/migration.

Profs. Roberto Mata and Teresia Hinga led a conversation on topics ranging from the immigration crisis and border control to the global migration of women of color seeking a new life outside their countries of origin.

Read More
RS Giants Game San Francisco Giants Game

Vicky Gonzalez organized a group of faculty & staff from the Religious Studies Dept., College of Arts & Sciences and Campus Ministry for the 20th annual trip to Oracle Park to watch the San Francisco Giants play the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, May 10. It was a typically chilly evening but everyone kept warm with their winter gear. RS Department participants included Fred Parrella, Gene Schlesinger and family, and David DeCosse. Although the Giants lost (7-0), everyone had a good time.
Fred Parrella and Paul Crowley, S.J. 2019 Religious Studies Reception

Highlights were a talk by Paul Crowley, S.J., a new game, and student speakers. David Gray served as master of ceremonies.

Read More
Alumni Panel Held on “Where Can Religious Studies Take Me?”

2019 Religious Studies alumni panel

On May 13, the department welcomed five alumni—Eddie Nugent '14, Betsy Portillo '10, Maggi Van Dorn '08, Caroline Read '12, and Jack Mahoney '10—back to campus for a panel on life after SCU. Panelists discussed how their time as majors and minors in Religious Studies shaped their educational and career paths after SCU, in law, education and ministry, politics and community development, marketing, and podcasting and media entrepreneurship. In particular, panelists highlighted the ways Religious Studies shaped their outlook on life, giving them a unique lens for viewing the world and sharpening their commitment to justice in their respective fields. Panelists concluded by sharing bits of advice and by recalling the favorite courses they took while at SCU. Networking and Q&A followed. This event was organized by Paul Schutz.

Faculty Updates
fall 2017 perspectives, paul schutz Paul Schutz was interviewed by KRON news on the tragic fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He also created two new courses for the Spring quarter: Religion, Science, and Ecology and The Bible and Ecology.

Watch the Interview
Michelle Mueller Research update from Michelle Mueller:  When the Saints Go Marching In: LDS Mormons, ex-FLDS, Rival Polygamist Sects, and Gentiles Descend on Short Creek...Polygamy Tourism or Community Healing?

Read More
Janet Giddings Bringing the Valley into the Classroom: Janet Giddings hosted three speakers in her Religious Ethics in Business class

Read More
More faculty updates from David Gray, Eugene Schlesinger, Teresia Hinga, Corinna Guerrero, Karl Lampley, Diana Gibson, David DeCosse, Karen Peterson-lyer, David & Jody Pinault. Read More »
2019 Student Award Winners
Nick Nagy '19 and David Gray, Religious Studies

Nick Nagy
Theodore Mackin Senior Thesis Award

Claire Dixon, David Gray, Nick Nagy

Claire Dixon and Nick Nagy
Co-recipients, Religious Studies Major Prize

Ryan Sharek '19, Religious Studies

Ryan Sharek
Joseph A. Grassi Social Justice Award

Bjorn Thyrring '19 & Cameron Heon '19, Religious Studies

Bjorn Thyrring and Cameron Heon
Catherine Bell Award

Kaitlin Wheeler '19 and David Gray, Religious Studies

Kaitlin Wheeler
Tennant Wright, S.J. Minor Prize


Student and Alum Updates

Congratulations Graduating Religious Studies Majors and Minors!

Religious Studies seniors 2019

Left to right above: Kaitlin Wheeler, Claire Dixon, Nick Nagy, Ryan Sharek, and Miles Elliot

Majors Minors:
Claire Dixon Miles Elliott
Nick Nagy Isabel Fernandez-Hernaiz
  Brigid Rigali
  Ryan Sharek
  Kaitlin Wheeler
2018 Fall Perspectives LRC Nick Nagy

Exciting New Work by the Living Religions Collaborative

Teaching assistants Claire Dixon '19 and Nick Nagy '19 help bring experiential learning to the classroom.

Read More

Maggi Van Dorn

Maggi Van Dorn '08 Update

Maggi earned her M.Div from Harvard Divinity School in 2013. For the past few years, she has been with Sirius XM Radio and is now a producer.  Her new podcast, "Deliver Us," runs on the America Media website, among other venues.

We would love to hear from you! If you have any news or memories to share (tell us your best RS story!), would like to update us about your current life and work, or have any ideas for RS programs and initiatives, please email

You might include a story or photo of a recent event, or just let us know about your current location, career, or thoughts. Thank you!

Religious Studies faculty 2019

Santa Clara University
Department of Religious Studies
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: 408.554.4547