Former Top Graduate in Religious Studies and Riedl Book Award Recipient, David Burman, Looks Back and Ahead
"It's been more than a year since I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in religious studies, but my memories of my time as an RS major are still clear: writing about "soundscapes" in Dr. Hackett's Religion and Sound class, taking part in the Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program where I interned with an organization of Muslims, Anglicans, and Catholics who are seeking to build a stable peace in Northern Uganda, and working with Dr. Scott as she patiently helped me to narrow down my thesis topic.
But I was left not just with memories but with a new way of viewing the diversity of the world's peoples. As a religious studies major I was challenged to look past the preconceived notions I have about people around the globe and the religious and cultural traditions from which they draw. Instead I was invited to listen and to ask questions. Since my graduation, I have worked with an organization in New Haven, CT that provides services to people who suffer from AIDS, while living in community on the grounds of an Episcopal church with ten other recent college graduates. The listening and questioning disposition that I encountered around the religious studies department at UT has been particularly helpful in my work in New Haven, and I am sure it will continue to be in the future."