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Sam Badger

MA (History)

Graduation Year: 2024

Sam Badger graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics. He is now pursuing an MA in History at the Capstone, and is particularly interested in southern history, American socialist movements, and the evolution of party ideology. Sam hails from southeast Michigan. In 2022-23 Sam will be working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in REL.

Sophia Honerkamp

Sophia Honerkamp

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2024

Sophia graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and International Studies. She begins the MA program at UA in Fall 2022. She is originally from Portland, Oregon. Her research interests include how religion functions in Middle Eastern politics, imperialism, and the creation of solidarity movements and identities across religious and cultural boundaries. She holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship for 2022-23.

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Castiel Lisko

MA (Religious Studies/American Studies)

Graduation Year: 2024

Cas Lisko graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2022 with a BA in English, along with minors in liberal arts and creative writing. Cas is a dual-degree student in the Religion in Culture and American Studies MA programs. His research interests include queer theory, depictions of religion in popular culture, and literary criticism.

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Casey A’Hearn

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2024

Casey graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. with honors in Religion. As a McNair Scholar, Casey examined the ways that creative writing and religious theology were intertwined by using the theory of subcreation to analyze myths of Christian afterlife, producing their first publication, “Heaven and Hell: A Creative Writing Process.” This interest in creative writing drew Casey to analyze The Divine Comedy and explore the relationship between subcreation and Dante’s Inferno. Casey is also concerned with the intersection of feminist studies and religion which led to them to produce an honors thesis that diachronically analyzed the worship of the goddess Asherah in the Ancient Near East from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Casey begins their M.A in the fall, where they hope to continue their passions for analyzing creative writing processes in connection with religious landscapes and their effect on society. In 2022-23 Casey holds a McNair Graduate Fellowship.

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Aidan Nuttall

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2024

Aidan Nuttall graduated in 2019 from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, with a degree in Religion. His thesis, for which he received honors, was titled “It’s Something I Notice, But Not Something That Ruins My Day, Ever”, and was a mixed-methodological study of religiosity, athletics, and belonging. While in college he served as campus leader for Eye to Eye, a national LD/ADHD mentoring and advocacy group. His research interests include lived religion, religion in America, and how we quantify religiosity. He hopes to pursue a Ph.D following his time at UA. Originally hailing from Seattle, Washington, he most recently lived in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Aidan holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship for 2022-23.

Ciara Eichhorst

Ciara Eichhorst

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2023

Advisor: Russell T. McCutcheon 

Ciara graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2021 with a B.A. in Philosophy & Religion and Psychology. In 2019 she was a recipient of the NWU Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant, which allowed her to explore pathways for designing a course on “New, Emergent, and Alternative Religions” as part of the U.S. Religious Diversity course at NWU. She has held internships with the Lancaster County Department of Corrections, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department, and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Ciara is particularly interested in the way classifications, identity formation, and rhetoric are mobilized in the interaction between law enforcement and New, Emergent, and Alternative religions. She hopes to use her degree from UA to pursue a career in federal law enforcement. For part of 2021-22 and all of 2022-23 Ciara works with Prof. Altman on REL’s American Examples grant from the Luce Foundation.

Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2023

Advisor: Russell T. McCutcheon 

Katie Johnson began the M.A. program in the Fall of 2021 after graduating from The University of Alabama in May 2021 with a major in Anthropology and minors in Ancient Greek and Latin. She was also part of UA’s Honors College. Katie is originally from Sylvania, Alabama. Her interests include history, archaeology, religion, and the study of myth. Specific research interests include expressions of identity in religion, particularly concerning classical civilization’s impact. She hopes to pursue a career in museums. Katie has held a Graduate Research position for 2021-22 and 2022-23 on campus, working with Global Cafe, an initiative of UA’s Community Affairs.

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Phoebe Duke-Mosier

MA (Religious Studies/Library Sciences)

Graduation Year: 2023

Advisor: K. Merinda Simmons 

Phoebe Duke-Mosier graduated from Hamilton College in 2019 with a degree in Religious Studies. Her senior thesis, “Drinking the Kool-Aid: Discourses of Death at Jonestown,” was selected for publication in the Fall 2020 issue of The Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa. Prior to coming to the University of Alabama, she worked on the court procedures team at Goodwin Procter LLP, a Global 50 law firm. Her research interests include religion’s relationship with popular culture and consumerism, discourses and practices surrounding death, and collective memory and memorialization of trauma. She is also pursuing a Master of Library & Information Studies degree.

Phoebe is earning a dual degree (in REL and Library Sciences) and was selected as UA’s sole recipient of the very prestigious David Francko Graduate Fellowship for 2020 — a fully-funded award for the duration of her M.A. degree at UA. She began the REL MA in Fall 2021.

Visit her website.

Erica Bennett

Erica Bennett

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2023

Advisor: Vaia Touna 

Beginning the M.A. program in the Fall of 2020, Erica Bennett is from Louisiana but has spent the last four year at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She will be graduating with a B.A. Honors in May of 2020 with a dual major of Religious Studies/ Sociology and Anthropology, and minors in both Theater and Mathematics. Her Honors  thesis is titled: “Normalizing New Religious Movements: A Deeper Look into the Effects of Social Opinions of New Religious Movements in the Southeastern United States,” which was accepted for presentation at the Macksey National Undergraduate Research Symposium. Erica hopes to continue her research into New Religious Movements and the lives of their followers, possibly leading towards a Ph.D. After working for the Department in the Summer of 2022, in 2022-23 she will focus much of her time on honing her digital humanities skills, working closely with Prof. Jeri Wieringa.

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Kyle Ashley

MA (Religious Studies)

Graduation Year: 2023

Advisor: Edith Szanto 

From Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Kyle Ashley is continuing on with the Department after receiving his B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Alabama in the Fall of 2019. Kyle’s interests include imperialism, governmentality, and the intersection between media and power (with a particular focus on American discourses concerning Iran). In 2022-23 Kyle will again serve as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of American Studies.

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