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Philosophy & Religious Studies Success Stories
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Hear what some of our graduates have to say about the Philosophy & Religious Studies program at SFU.
Major: Physician Assistant Science
While at Saint Francis studying to become a Physician Assistant, I have taken many science classes with wonderful professors who really want us to learn so we gain the knowledge needed to be a health care professional. But what has really set my experience here apart is how all of the disciplines (sciences, English, religion/philosophy, etc.) work together to shape us into care providers who can empathize with our patients. During my time here I had the opportunity to construct an Honors Thesis entitled, 'Listening with Compassion: The Benefits of Storytelling in the Health Care Setting.' With this project, I was able to collaborate with people from all disciplines across campus and discover where health care at times fails and how care providers can better serve patients so the outcomes for both the patient and care provider can improve. Throughout this project, and in my classes in general, my professors have challenged me and demonstrated a genuine desire not only for me to do well but to become a better person. Overall, I feel better prepared to go out into the world and interact with my future patients in a way that will promote communication, understanding, and healing.
Minor: French, Philosophy
Looking back on my four years at Saint Francis, I’m overwhelmed by how much I gained in that short time. From the beginning, I had a clear picture in mind of the kind of career I wanted to have, and Saint Francis’ Physician Assistant program was the perfect fit. As a freshman, I was excited to begin the path towards being a PA, but I could not have predicted the other interests I would discover and pursue. The diversity of clubs and activities at Saint Francis encourages everybody to try something new for its own sake. The students here are focused enough on their goals to succeed, but curious enough to branch out from their major and become well-rounded people with many interests. In any given club, you’ll find students from all different majors, and anybody is welcome. Although I was a health sciences student, I found myself a member of things like the Literary Guild and the French Club. I also benefited greatly from classes that I took as part of the General Education program – in particular, philosophy and foreign languages. These classes piqued my interest, and persuaded me to minor in philosophy and French, which, in turn, opened doors to new opportunities. I was fortunate enough to participate in the month-long study abroad program in Ambialet, France, which was undoubtedly one of the best months of my life. My years at Saint Francis were a wonderful medley of experiences that could not have been replicated anywhere else.
Major: History and Political Science
After bouncing around majors several times at Saint Francis, I met with Dr. Remillard on a whim, and was quickly drawn into the Religious Studies Department. I decided to take a required directed reading course with him as my ‘mentor’ and after several weeks he turned me on to a great interdisciplinary field, which I knew little of aside from the Faith and Francis course. From there, I worked closely with Dr. Remillard and others and with great assistance I went from an average student to a graduate student. Having a small department allowed me the freedom to work closely with professors and I was able to present at the Department’s co-sponsored, North American Undergraduate Conference in Religion and Philosophy twice, have a paper published in the school-run journal, and win a Tobin award for outstanding research. The Department of Religious Studies at Saint Francis opened many doors for me and prepared me for graduate school, something I had always viewed as a far off possibility. SFU gave me all the opportunity in the world to flourish, and prepared me for success upon graduation.
Major: History and Religious Studies
I came to Saint Francis after being away from school for years. I was looking for a good Catholic education and found so much more. SFU is more than a school; it’s a campus community. The way of Francis – humility, generosity, reverence, service, respect, prayer, joy, and love – are integral parts of the experience at Saint Francis University.
I enrolled at SFC as a physician assistant major and completed 2.5 semesters of coursework before changing majors. As part of my prerequisites, I took PHL205 with G. Steven Neeley during my second year. Reading Thomas Aquinas' fourth proof for the existence of God, I remember thinking: This argument is ridiculous. I wrote a term paper saying as much. Then I returned to physician assistant studies, interspersed with a few courses in ethics and private meetings with Neeley. And then, in the spring semester of my junior year, despite protestations from my parents, I switched majors. I never looked back. Tim Menta guided me through a capstone course on Kant's first Critique (after which I presented my term paper at an undergraduate conference in Philadelphia); Neeley and Bob Stith (now retired) made themselves available outside the classroom to talk about philosophy and life in general; the extent of my prior coursework allowed me to pursue classes in mathematics and history; Pete Skoner took me to my first ever professional conference, at which I presented a mathematics paper; and Rosemary Bertocci exposed me to the nature of scholarly research in a seminar on Religion and Evolutionary Psychology. Apart from academics, a part-time job cleaning at the monastery gave me an opportunity to discuss theology and religion with the TORs; and a series of other jobs, including dishwasher in Torvian, lifeguard in Stokes, computer lab assistant in Scotus, and painter during two summers, helped me learn how to balance the opportunities of education with the demands of life.
Major: English Literature
Minor: Philosophy, History, and Fine Arts
I know a lot of people see a major in the Humanities as only a path to teaching. And while I ultimately became an educator, academia was my fourth career after college. I was a proofreader, ocean freight forwarder, and worked for a scientific publisher before beginning my life as a professional academic. In my time at St. Francis, I gained a valuable skill set that translates well to just about any working environment. Through studying Philosophy, I learned how to better read situations and make clearer decisions. I was good at all of my previous jobs, but my education instilled me with an ability to figure out what would make me happy. People who will be successful in the world of the future will have a high degree of information literacy, be capable of grasping a multitude of concepts, and be able to make their own decisions. I can think of no better foundation for success than a major or minor in Philosophy at Saint Francis.
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