Recent grads further education at Vanderbilt University

Wed, 2012-09-19 14:07 -- univcomm
September 19, 2012

Jill Davis, Melissa Reginelli, and Keith Sayer graduated from Anderson University in May 2011. Each of them decided to further their education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Davis and Reginelli are pursuing Master of Theological Studies degrees, while Sayer is pursuing a Master of Divinity.

While each of the alumni had different reasons for attending graduate school, Vanderbilt was their destination of choice because of the stature of the school and the benefits it offered.

“I really enjoyed school and wanted to continue my education,” said Sayer, who double-majored in Bible and religion and English while at AU. “At the time, I was interested primarily in higher education and eventually becoming a professor. I was inspired particularly by my professors Dr. Merle Strege and Dr. Fred Burnett to pursue a higher degree, as they encouraged me to delve deeper and produce better research. They helped me develop the skills I needed to succeed in this process.”

[Photo: AU alumnus Keith Sayer is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.]

Teaching was part of Reginelli’s motivation, too.

“I wanted to go to graduate school so that I could pursue a doctorate and ultimately teach theology at a university,” said Reginelli. “Studying at Vanderbilt has been a rich experience — the freedom to study and explore a variety of topics has broadened my worldview and expanded the framework of my field of study.”

Both Sayer and Reginelli are enjoying their experiences at Vanderbilt.

“My experiences have already been very life-changing,” said Sayer. “At Vanderbilt, I was exposed to a broader diversity of religious traditions that demonstrated to me that I could be a pastor without hiding my own beliefs. I could believe what I believe and still be able to hold a job as a pastor. This rekindled my earlier desire to pursue pastoral ministry, and I am enjoying growing into this new understanding of my vocation here at Vanderbilt.”

The positive experiences the alumni had at AU led the students to set goals for their time at Vanderbilt.

“I plan to create a foundation of theological writing while at Vanderbilt. After I graduate, my goal is to get into a Ph.D. program and begin publishing my research,” said Reginelli.

“I really hope to experience a broad range of the expressions of Christianity here, so that I can be more informed and make more intentional decisions about how I live my life and structure my ministry,” said Sayer. “I see my time at Vanderbilt as a time to reflect on myself, God, and the mission of the church so that I will have a fuller understanding when I come into the pastoral position. After I graduate, I hope to have been ordained and begin a life of service to God in the church.”

— Leah Streeval is a junior from Edinburgh, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in entrepreneurship. Streeval is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.