Undergraduate Institution: Wheaton College
Undergraduate Major: Sociology
MAPSS Graduation Year: 2006
MAPSS has played an indispensable role in not one but two of my subsequent careers. I applied directly to MAPSS as a terminal MA program after 5 years in the working world with nascent academic aspirations and in hopes of better refining my research interests, which at the time were at the intersection of American religion and poverty. My interests while in MAPSS took a turn toward public policy, thanks in no small part to a course in the Harris School called Poverty, Inequality, and American Politics, taught by Dorian Warren, now at Columbia. My thesis, under the advisement of Omar McRoberts, remained in the realm of religion and examined the so-called emerging church, a new religious movement of mostly disaffected evangelicals who were reexamining their Christian faith in light of the postmodern turn. After MAPSS, my newly crystalized interest in public policy took me to Washington, DC, where I spent 7 years in lobbying and advocacy roles for three different national faith-based organizations. However, the pull to academia proved to be too strong, and with the hands-on guidance of MAPSS faculty at every turn, I applied to PhD programs in Sociology and returned to school in 2014 as a student at Johns Hopkins University, where I just completed a successful first year.