Study of Religion

Multifaith Scholars at Elon

The Multi-faith Scholars program is a two-year, closely mentored, experientially rich, and academically rigorous educational opportunity for juniors and seniors who show great potential as intellectually curious and socially engaged multi-faith leaders. Scholarships provide $5000 annually in the junior and senior year to support the personal and academic development of selected students. 

WHO SHOULD APPLY? Scholarships fund students of any major committed to developing a sophisticated knowledge about religious diversity and multi-faith issues, interacting with local and global religious communities, and advancing a public intellectual project. Students apply in their sophomore year and begin the program in their junior year. 

WHAT WILL MULTI-FAITH SCHOLARS DO? In order to prepare themselves for multi-faith leadership on campus and beyond, students in this program undertake both academic course work--including undergraduate research--and co-curricular engagement with local communities that will promote multi-faith learning and reflection inspired by religious diversity. Students accepted into the program will complete either a major in Religious Studies or a minor in Interreligious Studies. In the junior year, students will begin working with mentors on their research projects, continue to take classes in the major or minor, and participate in community engagement initiatives with the program director. Juniors will also work closely with their mentors to plan global engagement (e.g., study abroad or study away), internship, and/or more intensive research experiences that deepen and broaden their development, with the aim of engaging every scholar in community engagement and research experiences that advance and complement their development as multi-faith leaders. In the senior year, students will assume active campus leadership roles, working with faculty in residential neighborhoods, the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, or the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society to organize educational events around issues of religion in a global context.

WHAT CAREER OPPORTUNITES DOES THE PROGRAM PREPARE STUDENTS FOR? Those students who complete the Multi-faith Scholars program will possess a uniquely strong foundation to enter multi-faith work of many kinds—including through employment in higher education, through positions within the expanding network of interfaith organizations in urban centers across the U.S., through coordinating outreach for communities of faith and non-profits, and in a growing number of governmental and non-governmental positions across the globe fostering relationships across religions and cultures. In addition, the program will train students to productively and creatively address religious diversity in career fields related to their own specific majors, from business to psychology to public health. They will be prepared to enter this work not only with clarity and awareness of their own strengths and promise but also with the skills that will help them proactively pursue leadership and innovation in multi-faith work gained through academic inquiry, first-hand experiences, mentoring, and advising.

2017-18 Multi-faith Scholars

Samantha Crosier

Mentor: Geoffrey Claussen

Samantha Crosier is an English and political science double major from Jamestown, N.C. Samantha first became interested in multi-faith studies on her Winter Term course to Europe focused on studying the Holocaust and the Jewish tradition. Samantha was interested in learning more about the Jewish faith and how other religions around the world interact with and react to Judaism. Upon returning to Elon, Samantha was excited to enroll in a Modern Jewish Thought course where she was able to further understand the writings of a variety of Jewish thinkers and how they view the world around them through the lens of their faith. As a result of these studies, Samantha’s interest area as a Multi-faith Scholar will be focused on exploring historical attitudes and contemporary interactions between Jews and Christians in Israel and the United States.

Kannon Hall

Mentor: Shereen Elgamal

Kannon Hall is a strategic communications and international studies double major from San Antonio, Texas. Kannon has always been interested in furthering her understanding of multi-faith issues and had the opportunity to participate in a five-month group research project focused on understanding lives of refugees in San Antonio. Through conducting interviews with employees from the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, Kannon and her team learned about the barriers that their work with refugees had presented. This project sparked Kannon’s interest in better understanding the manner in which faith-based organizations educate their employees on the issues and practices of multiple faiths. As a Multi-faith Scholar, Kannon’s research will focus on the training practices of faith-based organizations in North Carolina and Texas as they prepare their employees for interactions with refugees from diverse religious backgrounds.

Kristina Meyer

Mentor: Toddie Peters

Kristina Meyer is a religious studies and mathematics double major from Richmond, V.A. Kristina’s interest in multi-faith work began in high school when she began to befriend people who came from diverse religious backgrounds. In these interactions with her new friends, Kristina learned to appreciate what made her and her friends both similar and different from one another. This fueled her interest to be involved in various interfaith organizations and programs upon coming to Elon. Her involvement in these organizations has caused her to examine the difference between programmatic dialogue and actively addressing actual social issues. Kristina’s research as a Multi-faith Scholar will be focused on considering how justice-oriented interfaith organizations interact with faith communities to promote participation in social justice work for their participants and congregations.

Jocelyn Pietro

Mentor: Amanda Tapler

Jocelyn Pietro is a public health and psychology double major from Southborough, M.A. Jocelyn is primarily interested in the connections between religion and aid work through non-governmental organizations. After completing her Public Health Practicum in India this year, Jocelyn was fascinated by the role that religion plays in the medical practices that her worksite implemented for their patients. Jocelyn also notes the unique role that religion plays in motivation to both receive and provide aid. As a Multi-faith Scholar, Jocelyn will focus on examining the role of faith-based values in non-governmental organizations in India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United States.

Styrling Rohr

Mentor: Amy Allocco

Styrling Rohr is a religious studies and anthropology double major from Cincinnati, O.H. Styrling was inspired to further her understanding of the world’s religions, particularly in Hinduism, after feeling like she had more to learn after her experience with religious studies in high school. Styrling is fascinated by the sometimes blurred lines that can exist between religious traditions and has further delved into this interest in religious diversity through her involvement in Periclean Scholars. In her work with Periclean Scholars, Styrling and her cohort have been working to push for inter-faith work and reconciliation efforts with a community partner on the ground in Sri Lanka. In her work as a Multi-faith Scholar, Styrling plans to analyze the ways in which South Asian musical and performance traditions may cross religious boundaries among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

Sophie Zinn

Mentor: Brian Pennington

Sophie Zinn is an international studies and political science double major from Indianapolis, I.N. Sophie became most interested in multi-faith engagement during her time in a Jesuit high school. As a Jewish woman, Sophie felt inspired by the diverse representation of religious backgrounds around her and leaned in to learning more about the world’s religions. One of her courses, “Social Justice and Decision Making,” furthered her interest in religious studies and after discovering many of the injustices of the world, Sophie became a strong advocate for universal human rights. As a Multi-faith Scholar, Sophie plans on investigating religion and secularism in the public sphere through research on migrant populations from Middle Eastern countries in Europe.