MDiv Senior Presentations

The Divinity School is pleased to announce this Spring Quarter's Senior Thesis Presentations by our 3rd-year Master of Divinity students. The Senior MDiv Thesis and Project is an in-depth exploration of a question or issue in religious leadership, an opportunity to wrestle with contemporary problems or possibilities in religious life, and make meaningful contributions to the practice of theological conversations.


Tuesday April 9th, 5 pm: Third Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall.
Halley Haruta: "Reconsidering Kin: Examining Presuppositions of the Discourse of Kinlessness."

This project explores and responds to the contemporary discourse surrounding older adults aging alone, drawing on both sociological and Buddhist philosophical sources.


Wednesday April 17th, 5:15 pm: Bond Chapel (at least to start...)
Charlie Grant: “From Disorientation to Cultivation: Kamalaśīla's Contributions to Transformative Learning”

This project explores what Buddhist thinkers offer the process of self-transformation.

Friday April 19th, 5pm: Bond Chapel
Maeve Orlowski-Scherer: “Relic-Query”

This project offers some thoughts and questions on religious art, base matter, and the full spectrum of representation.

Monday April 22nd: Disciples Divinity House, 1156 E. 57th St.
Charlie Platt: “Buddhaghosa and Meister Eckhart on the Problem of Self: A Case Study in Comparative Theology After Religion”

This project features a comparison between two philosophers of different traditions in their consideration of the inner core of human beings. I argue that this dialogue has implications for considering the methodology of comparative theology, including problematizing the use of 'religion' as a coherent concept.

(Dinner will be served to anyone attending at 6 PM; presentation at 7 PM in the DDH Common Room.)

Friday April 26th, 5pm: Third Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall
Joe Tomas-Lemna: “Spiritual Care and Social Determinants of Health: Working towards Health Equity through Hospital Chaplaincy”

This project integrates interviews with chaplains from around the country to offer a model of hospital chaplaincy that demonstrates how spiritual care providers are uniquely positioned in the field of healthcare to contribute to health equity.

Tuesday April 30th, 5:30pm: Bond Chapel
Alex Barnes: “Laughing at the End of the World: Comedy, Christianity, and Climate Change”

This project explores what comedy—viewed through the lens of Christianity—can do for us in a state of profound environmental crisis.

Wednesday May 1st, 5 pm: Swift Common Room
Shashank Rao: “Dislocation, Diaspora, and Devotion: A Hindu Theology of Recognition for Troubled Times”

This project aims to address the fractured and dislocated experiences of the Hindu diaspora in America, caught between their racialized position in America and Hindu nationalist discourses in India. Also responding to the dearth of Hindu theological scholarship, it offers a novel reading of Śaiva devotional narratives to retrieve and reimagine the Hindu tradition as a productive resource in the life of the diaspora.

Light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, May 2nd, 5:30 pm: Grounds of Being, Swift Hall basement level.
Caroline Coady "Anti-Zionism for Chickens: A Case for Jewish Agrarian Futures"

As Jews residing in occupied America, how do we relate to home, land, and belonging? “Anti-Zionism for Chickens” explores this question using the material effects of Linke Fligl, a former queer Jewish chicken farm and cultural organizing project, and ultimately posits the necessity of diasporist, anti-Zionist speculative futurism as a liberative methodology. Lecture followed by zine-making workshop.

Friday May 3rd, 5:30 pm: Third Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall
Sophia DeVita: "A New Heaven and a New Earth: The Theological Foundations of the Virtual World”

This project attempts to expand the notion of the virtual in light of Martin Heidegger’s reflections on nihilism and the death of God as thought by Nietzsche. It explores the relationship between nihilism and the development of modern technology in order to ask how a reintegration of religious history into technological discourses may assist the task of thinking within our so-called “post-truth” world today.

Friday May 10th, 5 pm, Swift Hall Common Room- 1st floor.
Buki Ogunseitan: “Women's Religious Leadership: Re-imagining the Religious Leadership of Women in Southwest Nigeria.”

This project offers for consideration an expansion of our understanding of religious leadership as well as our notion of power and influence through an ethnographic account of the lived experiences, spiritual and philosophical lives of Women in Religious Leaders in southwestern Nigeria.

Monday, May 13th: Disciples Divinity House, 1156 E. 57th St.
Thi Diem Nguyen: "Providing Pastoral Care for Vietnamese Refugees to Whom Past Harrowing Experiences Heavily Impact: Listening as the Most Powerful Remedy of Healing."

Dinner will be served at 6 PM to every attendee; presentation begins at 7 PM in the Common Room.

Tuesday, May 14th, 6:30 pm: Swift Hall Common Room
Sophie Grosserode: “Crash Catechesis: Episcopal Confirmation and the Modern Adolescent”

This project explores both the theology of and best practices for Confirmation in a possibly post-Christian society, where the pupils being asked to commit their lives to Jesus may not have spent much time with him before. How can the old tradition of adolescent Confirmation serve teenagers in a new world?

Wednesday, May 15th: Urban Growers Collective South Chicago, 9001 S. Mackinaw Ave.
Joanna Zabiega: Crafting a Queer Spirituality: Embodiment and Emplacement as a Means of Enacting Solidarity Across Difference

Amidst the stakes of the climate crisis and intertwining systems of power, what could it mean to have a queer relationship to the Earth and to each other? This project makes a case for a queer spirituality to honor difference across social location and offer a way to show up in messy solidarity as a form of radical care.

Please note: this presentation will be at the South Chicago urban farm that is a part of Urban Growers Collective. We will be outdoors under a covered roof so please dress according to the weather and wear sensible shoes.

Thursday, May 16th, 5 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Emily Carduff: “This is Our Body: Exploring Christians’ Experiences of Disembodiment During COVID-19 & Implications for Congregational Futures”

This presentation will explore how COVID-19 isolation protocols—and the rise of online church—changed Christians' relationship with their bodies during worship. Participants will leave this interactive event with a better understanding of the importance of engaging the senses and physical self in congregational life.

Light refreshments will be served. RSVP here (highly requested, but optional).