MA Theology (2007)
Current Director of Student Services for DSPT
I came to DSPT from Fort Worth, TX determined to break out of my hermit-like habits and immerse myself in both the school and church communities. I had no idea how successful I would be. Before my first day of classes, I was hired as Scott Connolly’s events assistant and worked with him to plan and host most of the school’s events. As I got better at defrosting Tuesday lunches and filled more bellies with warm food, it seemed that I became better known. I started out as "The New Fred" (Fred Rodriguez was Scott’s assistant in the years before my arrival), but by the end of the first year had earned my own name and was elected Student Body President.
It was the year that the school was in Diaspora. The staff and some of the faculty had offices, but there was no centralized building for classes or events. I helped create a student lounge in the front apartment at the Le Conte housing and worked with a great council of Dominican brothers and lay students to build community and foster a sense of school unity within our diverse population.
When I graduated from DSPT in 2007, diversity was a hot button issue because of our WASC accreditation. Now due to current events at the GTU diversity rears its head as a hot button issue once more. With a superficial glance, it might seem to the outsider that there is a lack of diversity on our campus. To the contrary, I discovered that our population of students, faculty, and staff is very diverse, and building community here is an interesting challenge. In our community of scholars we have bio-chemists, lawyers, business executives, bankers, physicists, and poets (just to name a few). Lay and religious, philosopher and theologian…all come here in search of the Truth or at least to grasp some aspect of it; and the papers and theses that have been produced here express insights on vast number of topics. Many of our students use their degrees to work in the church or to teach, but some of our graduates have taken more unusual paths. Whether they are heading to law school, working with a signing gorilla, or dressing opera singers in mullets and fat suits, our alumni carry with them the knowledge and experiences gained at DSPT. They go out into the world to be witnesses of their faith and education.
After graduating with honors from DSPT, I travelled the country with a small theatre show called The 3 Redneck Tenors. I designed costumes and ran wardrobe. Before and after the show, I would explore whichever small town we were performing in. Sometimes I just took in the scenery, but I often found I had the opportunity to be a witness to my faith and education by being open to the new people I met. Our show took us from small towns such as Albemarle, NC and Redding, CA to big cities like Baltimore, MD and Las Vegas, NV and I discovered that most people have a real need to talk about their faith and their worldview. I credit the diversity of ideas and scholarship that is integral to education at DSPT for providing me with the courage and tools I’ve used in talking with others and helping them to broaden their understanding of God and life.
In the 2009-2010 school year, I am returning to the DSPT as the new Director of Students Services and Office Manager. I am excited to have the opportunity to help the students, faculty, and staff at the school come together and continue to build community. I look forward to seeing how our community of scholars has grown in the past two years and what new and different experiences, traditions, and ideas this year’s student body will bring.