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Interreligious Leadership Fellows pose for an outdoor photo.

Leaders on and off campus

Student Interreligious Leadership Programs

Student Interreligious Leadership & Research Programs

The Interreligious Research Fellows program is a one-year program for St. Thomas students that allows them to design and implement an academically rigorous and closely mentored research project examining and engaging the encounter between, among, and/or within religious communities and people with various religious identities. The 2019-2020 IRF pilot program is supported by a generous grant from the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.

The Interreligious Encounter Leadership Cohort (THEO 228/468) is a four-credit theology core course spanning two semesters. It is designed for undergraduate students interested in examining the religious diversity of Minnesota while energetically cultivating interreligious learning, service and leadership on campus and in the community (on hiatus during 2020-2021).

student leader Mohamed Malim

A Program for Students

The Interreligious Fellows program is a one-year (two semester) program for UST students that allows them 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).

Interreligious Research Fellows (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)
Dominique Stewart headshot.

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 Fellows (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
Grant Pederson headshot.

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)

Rabia Sheikh headshot.

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).