Profiles of Current Students
Catherine Hartmann, M.A. Student
Why did you decide to pursue the MA program at The University of Chicago Divinity School?
I did my undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, where I got involved with Tibetan studies. I knew I wanted to continue in that vein and eventually pursue a Ph.D. After talking with professors and students at Chicago, Virginia, and elsewhere, I decided that Chicago would be the best place to focus my work on Tibet in terms of languages and specific coursework while also developing the broad theoretical base that will hopefully enable me to do strong work in my field while remaining engaged in broader questions across traditions and disciplines.
How is the program at the Divinity School and the wider University helping you attain your goals?
I've had close language instruction in both Sanskrit and Tibetan, which will be crucial for doing my own primary source research, gotten a chance to work with advisors who are helping with the daunting challenge of moving from student to scholar, and gained an appreciation for the questions and which have animated and continue to drive the study of religion more broadly. I've also been able to meet lots of new people who are all engaged in their own research -- it's amazing how much I've learned from just having the chance to talk with so many smart people.
How do you like living in Chicago?
Chicago is great -- I've been able to get out and explore different neighborhoods and museums, as well as see shows at the Lyric Opera and Timeline Theatre. It can be tough to get out of Hyde Park when work gets hectic, but fortunately Hyde Park is lovely, with gorgeous architecture and tree-lined streets. I love to run, and I especially love going out and running along the lake when it's nicer out. The winter wasn't as bad as I'd feared, though I've been told we got off easy this year.
What have been the highlights of your experiences thus far?
I love going to Wednesday lunches, working one-on-one with my Tibetan professor to translate previously un-translated Tibetan medical text as the primary research for Bruce Lincoln's class on the monstrous and demonic, celebrating Thanksgiving with several other students who stayed in town over the holidays, reading the Mahabharata with Wendy Doniger, and walking out of the Divinity School to the trees all lit up across the quad.
What do you plan to do after you have completed your degree from the Divinity School?
I'm interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in History of Religions and then going on to an active career of teaching and research.