Across the College of Arts and Sciences, students are researching critical aspects of diversity and identity – including race, gender, sexuality and religion – within their majors. This list is just a snapshot of the high quality, multidisciplinary and closely mentored research undertaken by undergraduates and mentors in every department.

Multifaith Scholars program welcomes fifth cohort

Five rising juniors were selected as members of the fifth class of Multifaith Scholars, a two-year fellows program for juniors and seniors that offers a closely mentored, experientially rich and intellectually rigorous program.

Scholars are awarded $5,000 annually to support research and study in global contexts connected with religious diversity and multireligious societies. Multifaith cohorts are selected each spring among students who show great potential as academically curious and socially engaged leaders committed to their ongoing development and the enhancement of local and global communities.

“The selection committee was impressed by the incredible richness of these scholars’ proposed projects,” said Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Allocco, who directs the program.

In addition to pursuing faculty-mentored undergraduate research and undertaking academic coursework, the scholars will extend the program’s ongoing community partnership with the Burlington Masjid.

This year’s cohort includes:

Darsev Kaur ’23

  • Major: Religious Studies
  • Mentor: Amy Allocco, associate professor of religious studies
  • Proposed research: Darsev’s research will focus on everyday Sikh religiosity and will analyze the significance of devotional practices performed during congregational worship at the Keshgarh Sahib Gurudwara and related sites in Punjab, India.

Aidan Melinson ’23

  • Major: Creative Writing and Religious Studies
  • Mentor: Drew Perry, associate professor of English
  • Proposed research: Aidan’s research will combine creative writing and interreligious studies to produce a collection of creative pieces that reflect on Irish-Catholic culture, pre-Christian Ireland and his own identities against the backdrop of personal loss.

Peyton Rohlfs ’23

  • Major: Literature and Religious Studies
  • Mentor: Dinidu Karunanayake, assistant professor of English
  • Proposed research: Peyton’s project will examine the formation of Buddhist cultural memory as it intersects with religious identity and nationalism within the Sri Lankan diaspora community in Staten Island, New York’s “Little Sri Lanka.”

Madelyn Starr ’23

  • Major: Religious Studies and International & Global Studies
  • Mentor: Amy Allocco, associate professor of religious studies
  • Proposed research: Madelyn will conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Jerusalem and record the “material memories” that Israelis and Palestinians attach to everyday objects in order to understand their experiences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Emerson Wells ‘23

  • Major: Environmental and Ecological Science
  • Mentor: Robert Perdue, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology
  • Proposed research: Emerson will use environmental sociology to examine the relationship between mountain identity and religious traditions in the southern Appalachian Mountains and Bhutan.