Student Accomplishments, Awards and Prizes

The Religious Studies Department is exceedingly proud of our students' accomplishments!

2019

  • Pai Miller, '19 was inducted into the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa class.
  • Joscelyn Guzman, '18 will begin graduate school in Fall 2019, joining Claremont Graduate University's Masters program in “Community-Engaged Education & Social Change.”
  • Faryn Borella, '14 is graduating this spring 2019 with a Master of Arts in Religious Leadership for Social Change from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union. In the Fall, she will start rabbinical school at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.
  • Stella Ramos, '21 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2019 fellow--project: "Essentializing the Native American Environmental Ethos: Analyzing the Limitations and Legacy of American Environmentalist Rhetoric" (advisor: Holmes-Tagchungdarpa)
  • Hope Roehrs, '20 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2019 fellow--project: "Mis-Seen Sex: Euro-American Readings of Tantric Buddhism" (advisor: Holmes-Tagchungdarpa)
  • Roee Perry, '20 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2019 fellow--project: "Jewish Philosophy, Greek Metaphysics, and Sufi Theology: Approaching Clash of Civilizations through Maimonides and the transmission of Neoplatonism into Sufism" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)

2018

  • Steven Barrie-Anthony, '04, a recent Ph.D in Religious Studies from UCSB, wrote a successful $475,000 Luce grant to be awarded to the Institute of Buddhist Studies. The grant will fund a three-year research program, “Public Theologies of Technology and Presence," exploring the effects of technologies on human relationships.
  • Natalie Malter, '13 has been accepted into a PhD program at Harvard Divinity School.
  • Aneesah Ettress, '16 has been accepted into a graduate program at University of Chicago Divinity School.
  • After spending two years in Korea on a Fulbright, Lisa Chang, '16 will be starting a MSEd program at UPenn's Graduate School of Education's Intercultural Communications in the Fall.
  • Joscelyn Guzman, '18 was inducted into the 2018 Phi Beta Kappa class; won the PBK Benjamin Culley prize (which is awarded to the Oxy senior whose initiative and creativity beyond the classroom have significantly enhanced the quality of intellectual life in the Occidental community); won the Dean of Students Excellence award; and was a Community in Action award recipient.
  • Pai Miller, '19 presented her research, "Hechicería and Hierarchy: Colonial Mexican Women and Subversion of Power Through "Witchcraft" at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research
  • Eleanor Hofmeister Alberg, '19 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2018 fellow—project: "The Transnational Evolution of an Afro-Cuban Religious Tradition into the Modern Era" (advisor: Naylor)
  • William S. Chen, '19 (Computer Science) is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2018 fellow—project: "Bhutia Language Dictionary Webservice " (advisor: Holmes-Tagchungdarpa)
  • Frances Hutchins, '19 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2018 fellow—project: "The Resurgance of Catholic Exorcisms in the United States" (advisor: Naylor)
  • Pai Miller, '19 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2018 fellow—project: "Hechicería and Hierarchy: Colonial Mexican Women and Subversion of Power Through "Witchcraft"" (advisors: Upson-Saia and Naylor)
  • Olivia Tenney, '19 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2018 fellow—project: "Nietzsche and Post-Theistic Spirituality" (advisor: Wright)
  • Emily West, '19 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2018 fellow—project: "Restoring Heritage: International and Local Community Efforts to Rebuild Sacred Space in Nepal" (advisor: Holmes-Tagchungdarpa)

2017

  • Natalie Malter, ‘13, a recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School, served on the editorial committee of the first volume of the Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism.
  • Faryn Borella, '14 is currently a Master of Arts in Social Change student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.
  • Miriam Hamburger, '17 presented her comps research, “Native Americans, the New Age, and Art as Resistance" at the American Academy of Religion Western Region conference in March. Earlier in the year, Miriam received the Religious Studies Department Kneeland prize to attend the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights conference.
  • Joscelyn Guzman, ’18 participated in Campaign Semester in the Fall, working to elect NC Governor Roy Cooper 
  • Joscelyn Guzman, ’18 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2017 fellow—project: "Analyzing the Conflict Between Colonizing Religions and Indigenous peoples: Negotiating Issues of Sexuality and Reproduction among the Gikuyu" (advisor: Upson-Saia)
  • Venitia Boyce, '19 (Critical Theory and Social Justice) is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2017 fellow—project: "Reverse Discourse: Shariati's Revolutionary Islam " (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)

2016

  • Ben Herrington-Gilmore, '12 will begin a graduate program at Fordham Law in the Fall. 
  • Carlina Perna, '15 was awarded a Fulbright ETA (Brazil) and is placed in Salvador.
  • Lisa Chang, '16 was awarded a Fulbright ETA (South Korea).  She was also inducted into the 2016 Phi Beta Kappa class.
  • Alanna Quan '16 was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Culley Award, which honors the Oxy Senior whose initiative and creativity beyond the classroom has significantly enhanced the quality of intellectual life in the Occidental community.
  • Aneesah Ettress, '16 presented her paper "The Spatial Practice of Mary's Dormition," at the Western Commission for the Study of Religion conference.  To support her participation in the conference, Aneesah received funding from the URC and from the Religious Studies Department Kneeland prize.
  • Marc Greenberg, '16 was inducted into the 2016 Phi Beta Kappa class.
  • After spending the year with City Year in Los AngelesLeah Wolf, '15 was accepted into three Education graduate programs.  She will enroll at LMU and start in the Fall.
  • Miriam Hamburger, '17 was selected to participate in the competitive InternAway program, interning this summer with Catholic Charities of Los Angeles. 
  • Joscelyn Guzman, '18 was awarded the Cynthia Cox award, given to members of the sophomore class demonstrating high scholarship, moral character, and contributions to student life and the welfare of the College.

2015

  • Eric Hayne, '07 began a PhD program in the Asian Languages and Culture program at the University of Michigan.
  • Rachel Deitch, '10 and Natalie Malter, '13 began a graduate program at Harvard Divinity School.
  • Jeff Eamon, '11, a graduate student at NYU, was awarded the Falak Sufi Memorial Essay Prize for Outstanding M.A. Scholarship.
  • Kaitlin Kelly, '12 will begin law school at Lewis and Clark in the Fall.
  • David Cole, '13 began a graduate program at the University of Chicago (Committee for Social Thought) in "Critical Finance."
  • Morgan Rutter, '13 began a graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at St. Mary's University
  • Kevin Witkow, '13 began a graduate program in Religion at Columbia.
  • Josh Gorlick, '14 began a graduate program at Albert Einstein Medical School in New York.
  • Aaron Bernstein, '14 will begin a graduate program in Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook in the Fall.
  • Carlina Perna, '15 presented her paper, "Santería: Religious Hybridity and the Moral Limitations of the Cuban Revolution" at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research and at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.  She was also inducted into the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa class.
  • Aneesah Ettress, '16 was awarded a Richter research abroad fellowship—project: "The Dormition of Mary: Discovering Apocryphal Ancestry in the Early Italian Renaissance" (advisor: Upson-Saia)
  • Alanna Quan, '16 was awarded the "Unsung Champion of the Year" award given to a student whose behind-the-scenes work has  proven invaluable to the success of a project, program, cause, or movement.
  • Mia Loucks, '15 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2015 fellow—project: "Vedanta Daily Worship and Ritual Practice" (advisor: Wright)

2014

  • Agne Jomantaite, ’11 began a graduate program at Georgetown University Law School.
  • Thomas Rodrigues, '11 began a graduate program in Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook.
  • Lily Rowen, '12 began a graduate program in Women's Studies at Claremont Graduate School.
  • Hannah Hall, '14 was awarded the Hasting Center's prestigious Emily Murray Student Fellowship Award, which will allow her to conduct independent research in residence at the Center.  Hannah will be working on her comprehensive project research on access and barriers to health care within the Latino/a community.
  • Jordan Jordan, '14, was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which supports international study.
  • Faryn Borella, '14 was inducted into the 2014 Phi Beta Kappa class.
  • Carlina Perna, '15 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2014 fellow--project: "Applying Queer Ecofeminism to Remedy Divine LGBTQ Discrimination (advisor: Naylor)
  • Shira Barlas, '15 is an Undergradaute Research Center Summer 2014 fellow—project: "Mandala Art as Meditation in Mahayana Buddhism" (advisor: Wright); she was also accepted to attend the program, "Buddhism in China--Connecting with the Source," sponsored by the Chinese Buddhist Woodenfish project.
  • Lisa Chang, '16 is an Undergradaute Research Center Summer 2014 fellow—project: "A Renewed Religion: The Charismatic Movement in the 1960s and 1970s" (advisor: Naylor)
  • Olivia Davis, '17 is an Undergradaute Research Center Summer 2014 fellow—project: "Priapus and Christian Virgins as Boundary Stones in the Ancient Imagination" (advisor: Upson-Saia)

2013

  • Aralyn Beaumont, '14 presented a paper entitled, "You are what you eat: food and identity in Ancient Rome," at the Second International Conference on Food Studies in the Fall semester.  A revised version of this paper was published in Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
  • Akasham Pace, '11 began a graduate program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
  • Over winter break, David Cole '13 was awarded a Religious Studies grant to conduct archival research in Paris as part of his comps project.
  • This was a great year for our past majors who applied to graduate school.  Jeff Eamon '11, Kayla Furman '11, Agne Jomantaite '11, and Brian Cropper '13 will start graduate programs in the Fall at NYU, Yale Div, Cambridge, and Harvard Div respectively.
  • Natalie Malter, '13 was inducted into the 2013 Phi Beta Kappa class.  She also was the sole recipient of the Benjamin Culley Award (which is presented to a graduating senior whose initiative and creativity beyond the classroom have significantly enhanced the quality of intellectual life in the Occidental community).
  • Brian Holtveldt, '14 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2013 fellow—project: "The Religious Life" (advisor: Wright)
  • Zabia Colovos, '14 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2013 fellow—project: “In Pursuit of Black Subjectivity: Philosophies for (Re)generation" (advisor: Wright)
  • Sarah-Anne Nelson, '14 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2013 fellow—project: "Aimee Semple McPherson: An Examination of Media’s Influence on her Success" (advisor: Naylor)
  • Shalini Pace, '15 is an Undergradaute Research Center Summer 2013 fellow—project: "On Nihilism: Nietzsche and Buddhism" (advisor: Wright)

2012

  • Natalie Malter, ’13 was the sole recipient of the Daniel Stewart Hammack Memorial Award, which is awarded to an outstanding member of the Junior class who demonstrates “high scholarship, strong moral character, and contributes to student life and the welfare of the college."  She was also an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2012 fellow—project:: "Exploration of the Religious Dimension of Human Experience" (advisor: Wright)
  • Kaitlin Kelly, ’12 received one of three Student Community Action Awards, which “honor graduating seniors who, by action and leadership, have contributed to promoting the mission of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute."
  • Aralyn Beaumont, ’14 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2012 fellow—project: “A Social and Religious History of Food in Ancient Rome" (advisor: Upson-Saia)
  • David Cole, ’13 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2012 fellow—project: “Virile, Viral-"sickness" and “health" through French Nietzsche studies" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)
  • Morgan Rutter, ’13 is an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2012 fellow—project: “The Modern Death of Art and God: Secularization and Aestheticization" (advisor: Wright)

2011

  • Jeff Eamon, ’11 presented a paper at the Western Regional American Academy of Religion conference—“Islamic Charities in the United States after 9/11: The Effects on American Muslim Identity and the Unintended Consequences on the Umma";  Jeff was awarded the Marianne Ruuth Writing Award (a prize awarded to the best comprehensive essay that explores cultural difference and human identity); Jeff was inducted into the 2011 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Agne Jomantaite, ’11 presented a paper at Western Regional American Academy of Religion conference—“Allergy, Tolerance, and the Problem of Hospitality in the Contemporary Immigration Debate"; Agne was awarded the Benjamin Culley Prize (which is presented to a graduating senior whose initiative and creativity beyond the classroom have significantly enhanced the quality of intellectual life in the Occidental community); Agne was inducted into the 2011 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Rob Riccardi, ’11 presented a paper at Western Regional American Academy of Religion conference—“The Rise of Western Zen and the Emergence of American Environmental Consciousness in the 1960’s"
  • Thomas Rodrigues, ’11 was inducted into the 2011 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Margot Clifford, ’12 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2011 fellow—project: “Behind the Veil: Feminism, Racism, and the Call for the Liberation of Muslim Women" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)
  • Aidan Lewis, ’12 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2011 fellow—project: “The Prologue of the Gospel of John: Abstract Theology or Jewish-Christian Polemic?" (advisor: Upson-Saia)

2010

  • Hannah Dreitcer, ’10 was awarded the Marianne Ruuth Writing Award (a prize awarded to the best comprehensive essay that explores cultural difference and human identity); Hannah was awarded the Capstone Student Leader of the Year; Hannah was inducted into the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Alex Wolf, ’10 was awarded the Benjamin Culley Prize (which is presented to a graduating senior whose initiative and creativity beyond the classroom have significantly enhanced the quality of intellectual life in the Occidental community); Alex was inducted into the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Erin Conley, ’09 was awarded the University Scholars Award from Claremont School of Theology
  • Jeff Eamon, ’11 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2010 fellow—project: “Dying to Die Right: A Look at Death in Ancient Rome" (advisor: Upson-Saia)
  • Agne Jomantaite, ’11 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2010 Fellow—project: “Allergy, Tolerance, and the Problem of Hospitality" (advisor: Montag)
  • Thomas Rodrigues, ’11 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2010 Fellow—project: “Selfless Giving: Charity as an Ontological Reality" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)
  • Ben Herrington-Gilmore, ’12 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2010 Fellow—project: “Confronting Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: The Role of Secular Courts and their Limitations" (advisor: Naylor)
  • Kaitlin Kelly, ’12 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2010 Fellow—project: “Abu Ghraib: Degrading and Torturing the Feminized Other" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)
  • Natalie Malter, ’13 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2010 Fellow—project: “Humanistic Buddhism: Empowering Free Will and Reason on the Path to Enlightenment" (advisor: Wright); As part of her research, Natalie studied at the Fo Guang Shan monastery in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Natalie presented her paper at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research conference—“Humanistic Buddhism: Empowering Free Will and Reason on the Path to Enlightenment"

2009

  • Tim Urista, ’08 was awarded the University Scholars Award from Claremont School of Theology
  • Erin Conley, ’09 presented a paper at the Western Regional American Academy of Religion conference and the National Conference of Undergraduate Research conference (La Crosse, WI)—“Gender in the History of Scholarship of the Gospel of Mary"; Erin was inducted into the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa class as one of the few Junior Phi Betes (those whose accomplishments through their Junior year singled them out)
  • Ahuva Zaches, ’09 was inducted into the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Rachel Deitch, ’10 was awarded the Daniel Stewart Hammack (‘35) Memorial Award (which is granted to one outstanding member of the Junior class who exhibits high scholarship, strong moral character, and a contribution to student life and the welfare of the college)
  • Kayla Furman, ’11 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2009 Fellow—project: “Scholarship on African Traditional Religions and Interpretations of Magic" (advisor: Upson-Saia)
  • Agne Jomantaite, ’11 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2009 Fellow—project: “A Study of Productive Fragmentation in Contemporary Dialogue" (advisor: Wright)
  • Miles Painter, ’10 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer 2009 Fellow—project: “The Rise and Fall of the Intellectual Class in Iran" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)

2008

  • Sam Mowe, ’07 was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study the Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal
  • Nathaniel Crawford, ’08 was inducted into the 2008 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Nathan Schradle, ’08 was inducted into the 2008 Phi Beta Kappa class
  • Erin Conley, ’09 presented a paper at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research conference—“Will the ‘Real’ Mary Please Stand Up?: Gender in the History of Scholarship of the Gospel of Mary"
  • Erin Conley, ’09 presented a paper at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (Salisbury, MD)—“Exploring Punishment, Contingency, and Selfhood in Hell"
  • Hannah Dreitcer, ’10 was awarded the Cynthia Cox (‘72) Memorial Award (which is granted to four outstanding sophomores who exhibit high scholarship, moral character, and a strong contribution to student life and the general welfare of the college)

2007

  • Kevin Chaves, ’08 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer Fellow—project: “The Life and Death of Michel Foucault" (advisor: Moazzam-Doulat)
  • Erin Conley, ’09 presented a paper at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research conference—“Exploring Punishment, Contingency, and Selfhood in Hell"
  • Jacqueline Herrlin, ’09 was an Undergraduate Research Center Summer Fellow—project: “An Unwalked Path: The Future of Buddhism in Los Angeles" (advisor: Wright)