Jots and Tittles (vol. 5, no. 2)


May 2022

Congrats Seniors


Congratulations to our graduating seniors, Finn McDonel, Paige Emmer, and Parker Hutchinson. We truly enjoyed you as students and wish the very best for you in your futures. Check in with us anytime!

Student Spotlight


We recently checked in with Paige Emmer to talk about her experience as a Philosophy and Religious Studies major.

What attracted you to the philosophy and religious studies major?

The staff is what really drew me into the major of Philosophy and Religious Studies. I felt that the faculty in this department were extremely supportive and helpful throughout my entire academic experience. My sophomore year Dr. Thomas reached out to me via letter advocating for the major. All of the benefits aligned with my interests. I felt compelled to declare a major after my professors noticed that I was doing well in the classes!

How has taking philosophy and religious studies courses benefited you?

Taking philosophy and religious studies courses has allowed me to grow as a person so much. Studying this subject has allowed me to expand my horizon and experience aspects of life I was not previously aware of. I feel that through philosophy and religious studies I have gained a better, well rounded, foundation for how I view and interact in the world around me. Exploring this subject opened many insightful doors to a world I would had otherwise never been exposed to.

Which philosophy and religious studies classes have been highlights for you?

Some of my favorite philosophy and religious classes I have taken include “Social Problems and the Bible” with Dr. Thomas! Another one of my favorite classes was “Religion and Death” with Dr. Rothgery.

Religion and Death allowed me to complete one of the most monumental field trips I have ever been on at the Cadaver Lab! This was an awesome experience that most people would never experience. Last, but not least, the third religious studies class that was most fulfilling would include my Senior Capstone focusing on African American Religions with Dr. Geoffrey Pollick. This class allowed me to complete one of my favorite assignments, a twelve-page paper on Kanye West!

What do you plan to do after college?

After college I hopefully plan on working within women’s social services.**

Why should students consider a major or minor in philosophy and religious studies?

This major is much more than learning about religion. Students are able to deeply express their ideas about how the world and people within the world interact. Philosophy and religious studies offers a new perspective on life that is not taught in other majors. believe that choosing this major allowed me the room to grow as a person and a scholar. Coming into college I was a completely different person compared to who I am now. Philosophy and Religious studies have given me tools to experience life in nonconventional ways but also understand why others experience life the way they do. This subject has truly expanded my horizons and made me a better world citizen.

PHRE thanks Paige for reflecting on her experiences in the department. If you have stories or insights about the ways that PHRE has impacted your life, reach out to Dr. Paul Thomas and let us know!

**We are proud to announce that, since conducting this interview, Paige has accepted a full-time position at the Women's Resource Center!



Dr. Pollick dazzles students at Highlander Days.

2022 PHRE Dean's Scholar


We hope Parker takes a well-earned fishing trip!

Hearty congratulations to Parker Hutchinson, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dean's Scholar. One of our highest academic honors, the Dean's Scholar not only maintains an excellent academic record but also exhibits the character traits of the ideal Philosophy and Religious Studies student.

Did you know?

  • On September 21, 1995 Hindus across the world rushed to temples to offer milk to Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of good fortune? Believers reported that statues of Ganesha were sipping milk from teaspoons. 
  • That while a college professor Adam Smith worked to eliminate the tax on student's oatmeal? 
  • We previously told you about the "Wicked Bible," an 1631 edition of the Bible that accidentally omitted the word "not" from Exodus 20:14, resulting in the sentence "Thou shalt commit adultery." Well, a previously unknown copy has been found in New Zealand!

By now you are likely aware of REAL, the university's new general education program. PHRE worked hard to position ourselves in the new general education program as a premiere choice for E (artistic and humanistic expression) programs.

Since last year's launch, our programs have received strong interest from students looking to complete the E requirement of their general education. All of our programs, the major and the minor, have earned an E designation.

This includes the Philosophy and Religious Studies B.A. and B.S. and four minors:

  • Philosophy Minor (15 credits) 
  • Ethics Minor (15 credits) 
  • Religious Studies Minor (15 credits) 
  • Religious/Cultural Literacy for Healthcare Professions (15 credits, online)

Theta Alpha Kappa Induction


On April 27 we were thrilled to induct Heavon Ratcliff into Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society in religious studies. At the induction ceremony we reflected on what a joy it has been to have Heavon in our classes. Congratulations Heavon, we will miss you.