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Courtney D. Sharpe '09

I stumbled into the Religion major halfway through college. I found myself buying boxed sets of religious documentaries, watching them and enjoying the experience. At the time it seemed fitting that I should align my passion with my course of study. I have since found that the value of a liberal arts education is that the same is true of life; following your interests should create a path for you to live your passions daily.

After graduation I joined the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco. I am fortunate in that I was able to see an immediate and direct benefit to my studies; I focused on the Abrahamic traditions with an emphasis on Islam. Though Morocco was unfamiliar to me understanding the religious underpinnings of the society facilitated my adjustment to the country. Upon my return to the United States I wanted to branch into work with immigrant communities. I became a mentor to a Christian refugee from Iraq and found employment through AmeriCorps at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Both opportunities have placed me in situations where religious awareness and cultural sensitivity have been of utmost importance. Having a greater purview of others’ religious observances brings what might have been surface level interactions to a deeper level more quickly. I could not be happier with my choice of study—it benefits me every day.