ASU students recognized for achievement in studying religion, conflict

Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict Student Awards

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict recently hosted its annual student awards program to celebrate the incredible work of Arizona State University students who are investigating the complex dynamics between religion and conflict.

Students have opportunities to explore these issues through involvement in the center’s undergraduate research fellows program and certificate in religion and conflict. The undergraduate research fellows program pairs students with a faculty member working directly on current research projects involving religion and conflict.

Fellows also have the opportunity to take a special class with the center's director, professor Linell Cady, as well as meet with visiting scholars and attend special lectures. Many of the 2013-14 fellows’ reflected on what it was like to have an opportunity to read something for the seminar and then discuss the text with the author.

Some of the visiting scholars the fellows met with included Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Ira Chernus and Dennis Dalton. “When the authors of the books came in, I gained a newfound appreciation of their texts, and it was able to make a deeper impact,” said Marzia Shah, a 2013-14 fellow and biochemistry major.

The students who completed the 2013-14 fellows program are:

• Annika Cline, journalism
• Alysha Green, global studies
• Linda Haddad, political science
• James Macdonald, public service and public policy
• Sishir Mohan, computer science
• Alexander Petrusek, history
• Marzia Shah, biochemistry
• Mariha Syed, biochemistry

“The undergraduate fellows and religion and conflict certificate programs attract students from a wide range of disciplines,” says John Carlson, associate director of the center and head of the certificate program.

“We’re always so impressed to learn about the exciting pursuits and vocations of students who have completed center programs. The far-reaching diversity of the careers these students are entering is really quite amazing.”

The undergraduate certificate in religion and conflict is open to all students enrolled at ASU, in any major. Some of the students in attendance at the awards ceremony who received their certificates shared their post-graduation plans.

Carmel Dooling, a Dean’s medalist and double major in history and political science, has been accepted into the law school at the University of Chicago. John Barton, a religious studies major, has been accepted into three different seminaries, but he hasn’t decided where he’s headed yet.

“The certificate program helped broaden my perspectives,” says Barton. “If it wasn’t for the certificate, I never would have taken a justice studies course on Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights.”

The full list of students earning certificates in the 2013-14 academic year includes:

• Sarah Anders, religious studies and history
• Derek Bakke, global studies
• John Barton, religious studies
• Ashley Doering, marketing and religious studies
• Carmel Dooling, history and political science
• Tracy Encizo, integrative studies
• Grant Griffin, non-degree grad student
• Alana Newman, global studies
• Melanie North, global studies
• Isaac Ortega, religious studies and political science
• Sally Swinney, global studies
• Mauro Whiteman, journalism

The certificate may be of particular interest to students pursuing careers in journalism, law, policy work, diplomacy, the military, public advocacy, publishing, education, ministry or other fields in which an enhanced understanding of religion and conflict is crucial.

To learn more about the certificate, visit:

In addition to recognizing students who completed the undergraduate research fellows program and earned certificates in religion and conflict, the center also announced the winners of the 2014 Friends of the Center research scholarships.

Story by Matt Correa and Emily Fritcke

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is a research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force in human affairs.