Emma Lagno Interview

 Emma Lagno

What made you decide to pursue graduate work?

I love being a student and really love the classes I’ve taken and the work I’ve done at UM. When I spoke with Dr. Walsh about my options for the future, she really opened my eyes to the opportunities available to me to continue being a student in grad school and eventually build a career around my passion!

What will you be studying?

I will be pursuing a Master of Divinity and hope to focus on studies of the New Testament and early Christianity!

What are your career goals?

I’m not exactly sure! I have a passion for the academic side of religious studies as well as an interest in nonprofit work. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to further explore those two avenues in grad school!

Where will you be going to graduate school?

I will be going to Harvard Divinity School!

How did your work in the Religious Studies department contribute to your decision to go to grad school?

My relationship with the Religious Studies department has been somewhat unique. Although I took religious studies courses all throughout my career here at UM, I didn’t officially add it as a major until my senior year! I was majoring in International Studies and French and, although I really loved it, I felt a little bit lost thinking about my post-graduation plans. I was always happiest doing the work for my religious studies classes, but I couldn’t picture how that passion fit into my future. It wasn’t until Dr. Walsh helped me visualize a future in the field that I decided to pursue the major and apply to grad school. I’m so excited to be able to continue doing the work that I love!

What skills (e.g., critical thinking) did you learn from the study of religion that might help you in your studies/work as you move forward?

I think that the study of religion has ultimately transformed the way that I read and write. I have learned to read and think critically, armed with an understanding that every text I read was written in a specific historical and cultural context. I have also become more aware of the biases in my own writing. These fundamental skills will no doubt be crucial in every step of my career in the field.

What advice can you give to other students who might be thinking about applying to graduate school?

My biggest piece of advice would be to not be afraid of asking for support. Your professors and advisors at UM are here to help you and want to see you succeed! Having conversations with them can help you narrow down what you want to get out of grad school which will really help with your application!

What advice can you give to students who might be considering a Religious Studies major/minor?

Just take some Religious Studies classes! One of the most valuable things that I gained from my time at UM was the opportunity to explore my interests and passions and decide what was right for me. I guarantee that even if you decide to take another path, your Religious Studies courses will be some of the most enjoyable and valuable classes of your undergraduate career!

What is the one thing you will never forget about studying religion at UM? (a favorite memory, topic, reading, project)

I’ll never forget my Greco-Roman Context of Early Christianity class! It was the class that really solidified my interest in Religious Studies. Every class, without fail, I was surprised by something that I learned. I would go home to my friends with a fun new fact each time, like, “Did you know Aristotle thought women had less teeth than men? Couldn’t he have just checked?”