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Scholar-Practitioner Leaders on and off campus

Student Interreligious Research & Interfaith Leadership

Student Interreligious Leadership & Research Programs

The Jay Phillips Center is dedicated to providing oppourtunties for students to grow as scholars, engage religious diversity on campus and in community, and develop the skillset to be leaders in various civic, professional, and community contexts. The Interfaith Fellows (IF) Program and Interreligious Research Grants are two such opporutunties, among others.

Student Leadership & Research Programs

The Jay Phillips Center offers two robust programs for students to study interreligious relations & engage with religious diversity while building their skillset to lead in a religiously diverse world.
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Interfaith Fellows (IF) Program

$2,000 Fellowship to join a student cohort to study interreligious relations and be an interfaith leader

Utilizing a scholar-practitioner-leadership model, the mission of the flexible two-year integrated Interfaith Fellows Program is to educate and prepare (inter)religiously literate and responsible scholar-practitioner leaders, critically informed by how lived religious practices and beliefs shape America, who act wisely, work skillfully, and engage religious diversity to advance the common good in civic, academic, professional, nonprofit, public, and community sectors.
Current Students: Learn more and apply for the next cohort!
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Interreligious Research Grants

100-hour paid research grant to investigate interreligious relations and encounters

Interreligious Research Grants offers students a one-semester (100 hours) opportunity to design and implement an academically rigorous, closely mentored, research project that examines and engages the encounter between, among, and/or within religious communities and people with various religious identities (including secular, nonreligious, and spiritual worldviews and ways of life).
Current Students: Learn more and apply for a research grant!

Interreligious Research Grants (2020-2021)

Key Personnel:

Dr. Hans Gustafson, IRF Cohort Coordinator, Director of the Jay Phillips Center and Adj. Professor in Theology, College of Arts & Sciences, hsgustafson@stthomas.edu

Laura Bru, Program Manager, Undergraduate Research Oppourtunities Program (UROP), Center for Student Achievement, laura.bru@stthomas.edu
Kailey Corder headshot.

Kailey Corder

Listening to Love: An Inquiry into Interreligious Racial Justice Work Occurring within the Twin Cities

Majors: Psychology and Justice and Peace Studies, Minors: Family Studies and Interfaith Leadership
Project: Utilizing storytelling as a powerful tool for social change, this projects strives to listen to the stories of various religious leaders working towards racial justice within the Twin Cities and document the collective narrative of the city. Mentor: Michael Klein (Justice & Society Studies)

Laila Sheikh headshot.

Laila Sheikh

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Religious Engagement: Mapping Interfaith Leadership in the Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood

Majors: GIS and Environmental Studies Minors: Justice and Peace Studies
Project: Utilizing GIS mapping software and ArcGIS Digital Story Maps to examine interreligious encounter and interfaith leadership in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, this project focuses on the ways the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted (inter)religious engagement and how religious leaders and interfaith student leaders have adapted their practices. Mentor: Paul Lorah (Earth, Environment, and Society)
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Dominique Stewart

"Ye krik? Ye krak!" A Narration of Caribbean Identity through Interreligious Stories

Majors: Actuarial Science, French, Minors: Interreligious Studies and Comparative Theology
Project:This research examines Caribbean identity through interreligious encounters in West Indian francophone literature. I will be looking at how preservation of these encounters in oral and written narratives help us to understand what it means to be Caribbean. Mentor: Stephanie Lohse (Modern and Classical Languages)

Interreligious Research Grants (2019-2020)

Key Personnel:

Dr. Hans Gustafson, IRF Cohort Coordinator, Director of the Jay Phillips Center and Adj. Professor in Theology, College of Arts & Sciences, hsgustafson@stthomas.edu

Laura Bru, Program Manager, Undergraduate Research Oppourtunities Program (UROP), Center for Student Achievement, laura.bru@stthomas.edu
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Grant Pederson

Influence of Muslim Philosophers on Duns Scotus' Christian Philosophy of God

Majors: Philosophy and Classical Languages, Minors: Theology
Project: This project examines the influence of Muslim philosophers Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on the Scholastic Christian thinker John Duns Scotus, with a special focus on his philosophy of classical divine attributes. Mentor: Gloria Frost (Philosophy)

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Rabia Sheikh

Editing for the Abrahamic God: An Ethical and Religious Case for using CRISPR at the Embryonic Stage

Majors: Biology, Minors: Chemistry
Project: This project investigates how Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers and scientists utilize their tradition’s sacred texts in determining ethical approaches and responsibilities for the use of gene editing tools such as CRISPR on adults, children, and embryos. Mentor: Kerri Carlson (Biology) and Paul Wojda (Theology)

Dominique Stewart headshot.

Dominique Stewart

A Religious Rendezvous: The Encounter of Jamaican Hindus and Early Rastafari

Majors: Actuarial Science, French, Minors: Interreligious Studies and Comparative Theology
Project: This project explores the contact and exchange of the long-standing Hindu community in Jamaica with the early Rastafari movement and how its spiritualities contributed to the historical formation, and contemporary actualization, of the Rastafari concept of IyanI (“I and I”). Mentor: Ted Ulrich (Theology). Dissemination: paper presented at Regional American Academy of Religion Virtual Conference (4 Apr 2020).