Scholarship Application Essay

My academic and professional goals are one as I apply to American Religious Studies Ph.D. programs. I want to study in Rome, home of the religious heart of Catholicism, to reexamine a tradition that shaped the imagination of my youth and continues to influence my approach to religious studies. I value the skills that studying in Rome would provide for looking to international religions for new ways of understanding religion in America.

In graduate school I hope to study under Dr. [name withheld], who researches Catholic mysticism at [name withheld]. My experiences near the Vatican will persist beyond next summer to influence my research on American Catholicism under [name withheld]’s mentorship.

I am seeking an undergraduate capstone experience. Before freshman year at MSU I spent thirteen months as a Congress-Bundestag ambassador in the German cities of Flensburg and Heidelberg, which included extensive travel to France, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark. From this rich period of personal growth I acquired fluency in German, an identity as a global citizen, and the skills to independently navigate life in a foreign culture. It seems appropriate to support my next leap in life with an abroad experience that will reveal the directions in which I have grown since my exchange year, as well as provide a unique context for exploring the limits of my education before beginning graduate studies.

Strengths that I will bring to my abroad experience include exemplary leadership and social skills, refined through my service to Circle K International. Numerous leadership positions at its club, district, and international levels have trained me to unearth creative solutions to challenges, organize my experiences in the community for the purposes of both engagement and reflection, and socially navigate among diverse personalities and power differences. These traits will allow me to succeed in diverse situations while studying abroad.