Kayla Kellerman '13 to Study Hinduism at Harvard Divinity
May 24, 2013
This fall Kayla S. Kellerman ’13 is headed to Boston to attend Harvard Divinity School where she will pursue a M.T.S. degree – a Master in Theological Studies with a focus on Hinduism. She is spending the summer in Wisconsin. Kellerman was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education for a summer language course in Hindi at the South Asia Summer Language Institute in Madison.
Religious studies was not a path Kellerman had anticipated taking. However, first semester freshman year, she enrolled in an Introduction to Religious Studies course with Associate Professor of Religious Studies Jason D. Fuller and became instantly interested in Eastern religions.
“I continued taking Professor Fuller’s classes in South Asian studies,” Kellerman says. “There isn’t a section for South Asian studies at DePauw, but if you take a lot of Hinduism classes, it adds up to that focus, which I didn’t know at the time. I just kept taking his classes because he was really inspiring. I always pushed myself in his classes, and knew I was completely passionate about it. There was never any doubt.”
Last fall semester, Kellerman was planning her application to graduate schools. “Library science had always been my plan,” she explains. “I realized when I started to apply that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I really love South Asian religious traditions, and it didn’t feel right not studying that. So, that’s when I completely switched my path.”
Kellerman explains, “Growing up in the United States, we aren’t always exposed to cultures like this, and this culture specifically spoke to me because of its more peaceful aspects. The different ways they devote themselves; the rituals and how they live their lives is so completely different than Western culture. It’s very beautiful.” India is the largest country in South Asia where the religion of Hinduism predominates. As you get closer to China and East Asia the emphasis is more on Buddhism.
An English writing and religious studies major, Kellerman plans to continue her studies to obtain a Ph.D degree and stay in academia to become a professor. Kellerman is from St. Louis and says she is ready and excited to move east. “Graduating is bittersweet, though, because I love DePauw.
“A liberal arts college really opens up opportunities to take different classes in subjects you’ve never taken before,” she says. “I love DePauw for that. You never know; you might just become really passionate about one.”
Fuller says, “I am very proud of Kayla's accomplishments. President Casey challenged the faculty to encourage students to think big and aim high with respect to graduate schools. I think it speaks very well for the University and DePauw's ongoing internationalization efforts that we are sending students to excellent graduate programs to pursue graduate research.”