Tirzah Chesky is an undergraduate major in Religious Studies with a minor in Journalism. Tirzah embarked upon a research project that started with an idea for a paper in a Religious Studies course and ended up with her presenting a paper at the international American Academy of Religion's Annual Meeting. The research and presentation process deepened Tirzah's understanding of the field of religious studies, as well as provided her with an opportunity to broaden her educational experience. As she shares:
"Thanks to the support of the Religious Studies Department, I was able to do something I had never dreamed possible as an undergrad. Last November, I presented a paper on Scientology at the American Academy of Religion's Annual Meeting in San Antonio. The paper began as an assignment for Dr. Miller’s History of American Religion class, but thanks to his continued encouragement, I was able to develop my 5-page paper into a 20-minute presentation and submit it to this conference. I never thought it would be accepted, but when it was, the department immediately offered to help fund my trip. With this offer, they gave me not only an invaluable experience education-wise, but one that also reaffirmed my love of the field of religious studies.
Even after San Antonio, this support never wavered. With Dr. Miller’s continuing encouragement and editing help, I have developed this assignment from nearly two years ago into a 21-page paper I’ll soon send to journals.
So, if you have any idea, go tell someone; you’ll be hard-pressed to find people more willing to help you nurture it. They truly want to see and help you succeed."