Student Work

Although Asheville has a very rich diversity of religious groups and organizations, students in Religious Studies travel far and wide to experience religion as a lived phenomenon in various cultures. Our majors are also very active in undergraduate research, and attend conferences not only to learn from other scholars but to present their own research. Here is a sampling of recent activity by Religious Studies majors and alumni.


Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion

Kelsey Viscount and Bryan Gillette at SECSOR 2013

Greenville, South Carolina (2013)

Three students and one alumna traveled to Greenville, SC, to participate in the spring 2013 meeting of the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR), a regional affiliate of the American Academy of Religion. The students – Bryan Gillette, Khari McElrath, and Danny Szemple – and alumna Kelsey Viscount (Class of 2012) presented research related to their senior theses. In addition to the conference, students also toured the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. George with Father Tom Pistolis to see the recently completed mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the dome.


North Carolina Religious Studies Association

Students at NCRSA 2012Eight Religious Studies majors delivered presentations of their research at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Religious Studies Association at UNC Wilmington in November 2012.  The students and their topics were: Kimber Lawson, "Visionary Art, Visionary Message: Howard Finster and the Art of Preaching"; Ashley Hunt, "Shinto and Folk Religion Images in Hayao Miyazaki Films and Americanized Japanese Horror"; John-Fate Faherty, "Gender Hierarchy in Theravada BuddhistKelsey Viscount receiving research award Monasticism: Moral and Spiritual Validation in the Lives of Buddhist Nuns"; Bryan Gillette, "Editing Hildegard: The Creation of a Modern Saint"; Rachel Pagan, "Narrative on the Religious Conversion of Slaves in Eighteenth-Century New York"; Megan Frey, "Contemporary Roles for Southern Baptist Women and Pentecostal Women"; and Cady Barrett, "The Liberated Outlaw: An Investigation into the Law Behind Snake Handling Pentecostal Churches."

Congratulations to Kelsey Viscount (Class of 2012), whose project "Produce and Provision: Agrarian Revivalism Among Protestants in the South," won the top award for an undergraduate presentation!


Study Abroad in India

Rolling chapatis in India

During the winter break between the fall 2011 semester and the beginning of the spring 2012 semester, a number of Religious Studies majors traveled to India with Dr. Zubko and Dr. Maitra (Philosophy) to study religious diversity and global citizenship in South Asia. The group visited Hindu temples, Islamic mosques, Jain temples and the Sikh gurdwara in New Delhi where they helped prepare for a community meal by rolling chapatis. Pictured here are (left to right) Joshua Siary, Jess Williams, Kimber Lawson, and Anthony Graffagnino.