Faculty | Emeriti | Staff | Graduate Students | Alumni
The graduate students at the Department of Religion are a diverse group of intellectuals. Many of them come into the program with bachelor's degrees in Religion or Religious Studies, but others have done their previous academic training in related disciplines, such as Philosophy or International Studies. In addition to their formal classroom time, graduate students at the Department often spend a great deal of their free time in social settings together, where they continue to learn from one another. Our small department of only between one and two dozens graduate students is an optimal environment for friendships to blossom out of a common interest in studying world religions.
Students in our program also include:
George Breeden (on leave of absence)
B.A. University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (2012, Religion)
Eitan studies Islam, particularly Indonesian and Moroccan Islam. He has studied Hebrew, Arabic, and is currently learning Indonesian to assist his studies. His thesis will focus on comparing and contrasting Indonesian and Moroccan Islamic worldviews. Eitan is also academically interested in Judaism, Christianity, religious conflict, religion and modernity, and Atheism as a form of religion.
B.A. Arizona State University, Religious Studies (2011)
Dimple is interested in lived religion in America, specifically with issues of Hinduism, the Indian diaspora and religious media. Her current research is centered around the mediation of the guru-disciple relationship in America through video, images and text. Her broader interests include religious conflict, secularism and pluralism.
B.S. Brigham Young University, Global Studies & International Development (2011)
Jared is interested in the academic study of Mormonism. His current research interests focus on the history, diffusion, and persistence of Mormonism in the Pacific Islands. He is also particularly interested in the Mormon theological tradition, the life and thought of Joseph Smith, and comparative religion.
B.A. University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (2010, Religion)
Charissa is a graduate student specializing in indigenous religions. She is currently focusing on Hawaiian religion but is also conducting a research project investigating the religious dimension of healing.
B.A. Virginia Commonwealth University (2010, Religious Studies)
Sam studies India, Sanskrit and the thought that shapes South Asian religion. He is especially interested in Hindu tantra and the incorporation of tantric thought into its practices. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010 and did a brief stint in the US Virgin Islands working on boats before relocating to Hawaii.
Shantelle "Nani" Ka'aiali'i|
B.A. University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (2011, Religion)
Nani is studying Hawaiian religions with a special interest in ancient practices and rituals of ka po'e kahiko (the people of old). Aside from rituals and practices, her research focus is in the area of Hawaiian Christianity, the A.B.C.F.M., and the effects of colonization to the practices of ancient Hawai'i. For fun she dabbles in Buddhism and enjoys the mysticism and mystical beliefs of other religions.
B.A. University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (2009, Religion)
Kayla is studying Indian Religions with a focus on Hinduism. Her main interests lie in the different aspects of the Raja Yoga system, particularly that of restricted breathing, healing, and use of mantras in yoga. In her thesis she wishes to trace the development of these practices and highlight where they have changed within different groups. She is currently learning Sanskrit and is also interested in mysticism and the tantric traditions.
B.A. Union College (2009, East Asian Studies)
Camille is deeply interested in Tantric Buddhism, specifically Japanese Shingon Buddhism. After having spent a year studying in Japan at Taishō University, she plans to further her research on the Chinese origins of Shingon Buddhism, and also investigate the development of the Diamond world and Womb world mandalas. Her thesis focuses on the Shingon monk Kakuban.
B.A. University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia (2012)
Sara is interested in analyzing how non-Protestant religion has impacted American Civil Activist movements throughout American History. In particular, she is studying the integration of Buddhist thoughts into the Civil Rights movement and American society.
Drew F. Stephens|
B.A. DePaul University (2012, Philosophy)
Drew is interested in mysticism, esotericism, mythology, and comparative religion. He wishes to pursue research in Hindu and Buddhist Yoga/Tantra. Topics of particular interest to Drew are scriptural hermeneutics, how rituals evolve over time, and the issue of immortality in Asian religion.