Students and Alumni

Students and Alumni

Recent Alumni have found their degree in Religious Studies to be useful in a variety of ways.

  • I graduated from Mercyhurst in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. I was the only one in my graduating class that wore the red stole. I was not a double major, or a minor. I just loved to learn about people, and understand their motivations better as cultures and individuals. I had this stubborn idea that I needed a true liberal arts degree. Well, I did learn a lot about people. I learned a lot about my own biases and limitations. I learned about respect. Without Mercyhurst and its wonderful instructors, I would not have had the tenacity to survive nursing school. I graduated from another great program this year. I work as a perioperative nurse now, and I advocate for people at their most vulnerable moment. When people have been reduced to patients, and patients have been reduced to a square of tissue, and everyone in the room sees another "case"... I see that person. Mercyhurst taught me to see differently.     ~Erin Lyons (Tracy), class of 2010
  • One of the greatest gifts that the Religious Studies department has given me is to be able to have educational conversations about the numerous faith practices throughout the world. I have been enlightened by some conversations that I have had, while other conversations have allowed me to enlighten others with the knowledge that I have gained studying under some of the most talented minds that the Mercyhurst educational system has to offer. The Religious Studies department not only taught me about various different religions, their practices, and their belief systems; the most important thing that I was able to learn from this department was to take our preconceived notions about particular faiths and leave them at the door. It is not our job to judge a religion based on the actions of the few, but to look at the religion as a whole in order to see the positive effects that it has had on many. By learning about religions without taking into account what a pastor has said or what the media outlets say we're able to find faith at its purest form, the very reason why followers would give their lives in the name of their God when they fell under persecution. Once that happened, there was a great amount of respect for every religion that I had the privilege to learn about, respect that remains even when others bad mouth other faiths simply because they do not know the truth. This respect has carried over to many other aspects of my personal life and has allowed me to become a more caring, attentive, and patient person which has affected my overall quality of life. Because of this department, I am more tolerant of those who are different from me, I am more understanding towards those who are going through hard times, and I can listen without judgment. This has allowed me to recognize that all of these qualities best could serve myself and others by going into the counseling field. So, now I'm in a Master's of Counseling Psychology program in order to help people to find faith not in a deity, but in themselves.     ~Sara Womak, class of 2012
  • Understanding and compassion. I happen to work with quite a few very strong and very difficult personalities. Having an understanding of religion is also having an understanding of how people think, work, operate. With this knowledge I have an easier time communicating with people who can be combative and just plain ornery and having compassion with/for them even when they are screaming at me. Awareness is something else gained from RLST background. When I see a woman wearing a hijab or a man wearing a yarmulke, it's not strange or weird, it's just another form of respect/belief/religion. It helps that the RLST staff are some of the most amazing people I have ever known. Their acceptance and compassion toward me have helped me to become confident in who I am as well as more loving toward the people around me.     ~Amanda Hall, class of 2009
  • I transferred to Mercyhurst University my senior year of college.  However, my experience with the religious studies department was great.  The classes have more than prepared me for the vocation I'm pursuing, to be a pastor.  But beyond that, the classes have been eye-opening in just how I view everyday life.  My ethics class, comparative religion classes, and other theology classes have caused me to be more aware of my surroundings, of how to use what I have been given and how to make good decisions, while understanding other religions.  I also cannot praise the professors in this department enough; they are not just amazing, challenging, and competent professors, but also take the time to build relationships outside of class, supporting their students.  In the short time I was there, I truly felt like a part of the campus community, and I very much believe that to be the result of the professors' care.     ~Kristen Papson, class of 2011
  • As an RLST (minor) graduate I can attest to the wonderful educators that are Mercyhurst Professors. While I was not majoring in the program, I always felt included in the family atmosphere they created. Outside of the MU bubble, I have used my education in the mental health field working with individuals with diverse religious backgrounds. I felt prepared and confident beginning my new career.     ~Danielle Hanna, class of 2012