What Can You Do with an MDiv?

Actually, what couldn’t you do? 

Our alumni are leading communities of faith, working for social justice, caring for the sick, teaching in universities, advocating for change, preaching in pulpits, and engaging in public, interfaith dialogue all over the world. Our students become scholars, priests, social workers, community organizers, chaplains, administrators, lawyers, and researchers–-to name just a few of the possibilities. 

They write about religion and report on faith communities in the media. They work for faith-based agencies that advocate for justice and the common good. They staff political campaigns and work with youth and young adults in denominational and ecumenical settings. They serve their faith traditions in partnerships with congregations across the globe, living and teaching in Nicaragua, Ghana, India, and China.

Combining their MDiv training with further professional preparation, they offer healing as social workers, therapists, counselors, and nurses. Still others complete PhD studies, pursuing careers in the classroom. Our MDiv graduates are imaginative, creative, entrepreneurial, and thoroughly committed to a life of religious leadership amidst a constantly changing religious landscape. 

Rev. Julian DeShazier

DeShazier (MDiv’10) senior minister of University Church on 57th Street, has been a teaching pastor for congregational placements, a practicum discussion leader, and a ministry conference speaker. He is a Chicago native, and a graduate of Morehouse College.

With University Church and the Chicago Wisdom Project, he started a program for “where young adults (most of them high-school dropouts and barely escaping or trying to exit gang/drug culture) now have a music studio where they write, record, and own their own music.” He also records his own music as J.Kwest, including Verbal Kwest's “Crazy Streets.”

Nadia Stefko

Picture of Nadia Stefko
Stefko (MDiv’13) assistant farm manager at Sandhill Family Farms in Grayslake, Illinois, and candidate for the Episcopal priesthood, is working at the intersection of food justice and congregational life.

Stefko imagines herself one day working full-time on a farm owned or supported by a parish and growing food for that community. Ever the advocate for worker justice, she also wants to address the economic issues and pastoral needs of those who work so hard to grow our food—people who are largely invisible to us but make it possible for us to live.

Rev. Jonathan Friesen

Friesen (MDiv '08) is the Lead Pastor, Ellis Avenue Church (EAC). Jonathan provides leadership to the congregation which includes preaching, organizing and leading worship services, providing pastoral care, managing the church staff, and caring for the church building. He has been serving at EAC since September of 2008.

Ellis Avenue Church is part of the Alliance of the Baptists, a group of progressive Baptist congregations throughout the country.  EAC is a 65 year-old congregation and has been in its current location in Hyde Park Kenwood for the last 35 years.  EAC is a very diverse congregation - racially, economically, and in terms of church experience and background of its members.  They currently have about 50 members and an entire church community of about 100 (including children and other non-members).  

Emy Cardoza

Cardoza (MDiv'10) is the Assistant Director at the University of Chicago's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Emy coordinates OMSA’s cultural programming, including the Heritage Series, current events programs, and the Emerging Minds Project, a sustained intergroup dialogue program. She also serves as co-chair for the MLK Committee, which is responsible for organizing the University’s annual MLK Celebration.

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) serves and advocates for African American, Asian American, Latina/o, Native American and Multiracial students in the College, professional, and graduate divisions. OMSA does so by supporting the academic success of multicultural students and working to build an inclusive campus community.

Rev. Dan Puchalla

Puchalla (MDiv'09) is the Assistant Rector, St. Paul & the Redeemer Episcopal Church. Dan assists the Rector (i.e. head pastor) in all areas of leading and pastoring to the parish. He also has special responsibility for the parish's communications, the high school formation program, and leading small groups.

St. Paul & the Redeemer Episcopal Church. As a community, SPR has identified five things that they are about: Worshipping God, Connecting Lives, Nurturing Faith, Inviting All, and Serving Neighbor. They seek to be progressively-minded while consciously rooted in the traditions they've received; they strive to value the rich diversity of our congregation across lines of race, income, sexuality and gender, and religious background; their hope is to live out faith by wondering together about the stories, symbols, and ideas of the scriptures -- not as a list of propositions but rather as tools for making meaning of human lives.

Celeste Grace Groff

Groff (MDiv'13) is a Hospital Chaplain with The Gilead Ministry of Hyde Park Union Church at Jackson Park Hospital where she provides spiritual care to patients, families, and hospital employees. Celeste accompanies them through setbacks, at end of life, or in times of crisis; at other times she celebrates with them when they recover or make positive changes in their lives.

The Gilead Ministry of Hyde Park Union Church at Jackson Park Hospital is a partnership in which the church commissions chaplains who serve as the spiritual care department at the hospital. Many patients come from South Shore and surrounding neighborhoods, and struggle with poverty, trauma, and the illnesses to which those conditions contribute.