The Graduate Theological Union is pleased to announce that two doctoral students, Leslie Bowling-Dyer and Diandra Chretain, who began their studies in Fall 2012, are also in the 2012 class of The Fund for Theological Education (FTE) North American Doctoral Fellows.
These fellowships, including a stipend up to $20,000, are awarded to doctoral students who promote diversity within the academy by providing financial support and professional development opportunities to doctoral students from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups who plan to teach religion, theology, or biblical studies at theological schools and universities. “To effectively prepare their students for leadership, theological school faculties must reflect the diversity of the communities those students will serve,” said Matthew Wesley Williams, FTE Director of Doctoral Fellowships. The fellowships are funded by Lilly Endowments Inc.
Of the 11 Doctoral Fellowships awarded this year, two went to GTU students. GTU students have consistently received FTE fellowships over the past few years.
Leslie Bowling-Dyer completed her Master of Divinity in May 2012 at American Baptist Seminary of the West. She studies in the area of Ethics and Social Theory and is focusing on the study of how certain modern-day religious expressions permeate the lives of Black middle class women and specifically the Black church symbols of resistance that these women engage. The religious expressions she hopes to include are: the emphasis on individualism, middle-class values that focus on privatization, multiculturalism, and progressive urban West coast politics. She plans to use a womanist methodological approach and focus her research on college educated, professional women in Progressive black congregations. She sees the GTU as a particularly good fit because of the emphasis on social scientific approaches in the Ethics and Social Theory area.
Diandra Chretain completed her common Master of Arts in Biblical Studies at the GTU in May 2012. Her school of affiliation was Pacific School of Religion. She is continuing in Biblical Studies with Women's Studies as an allied field, concentrating on feminist-literary interpretations of the Deuteronomistic history whose embedded androcentric ideologies and sexual politics have supplanted the voice of women and the underpriveleged. From the social scientific perspective, Chretain also examines women's roles and identity under the influence of the Bible and cultural ideology, both in the Iron Age and contemporaneously. She sees the GTU as a optimal place to study because of its focus on religious and academic diversity, including methodologies exceeding traditional interpretations and providing voices and perspective from marginalized worldviews.
Anne Clarke, a student at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, was also selected as a 2012 FTE Ministry Fellow.