Graduate Students

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 graduate students is an optimal environment for friendships to blossom out of a common interest in studying world religions.


Shannon D. Clusel
BA, McGill University (Religion with minors in Hispanic Studies and Political Science, 2019)

Shannon was born in France and raised in a French and English bilingual home. She is studying Japanese religions, with a focus on medieval beliefs and practices, including how these might deviate from the narratives established by later scholarship. This involves rethinking the typical boundaries found between Buddhism, Shinto, and Daoism. She also partook in a research project on New Religious Movements, child rearing and state intervention in North America. She co-wrote a chapter on the Order of the Solar Temple in Quebec with Professor Susan J. Palmer.

Jason Beegle
BA, John F. Kennedy University, CA (Psychology)

Jason Beegle is a second year graduate student working toward a MA in Religion, focusing on shamanism and the healing arts. He graduated summa cum laude from John F. Kennedy University with a BA in Psychology.

Jason is a NLP coach and intuitive healer. He is a practitioner of energy medicine using techniques such as reiki and channeled healings. Jason currently works with individuals helping them understand and trust their own intuition and explore their own connection to the Divine. He lives on Big Island with his partner and will complete his studies in the spring of 2023.