PLT Awards Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships

The Project on Lived Theology has accepted eight UVA students to its Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship in Lived Theology. The fellows will conduct research, think, and write theologically on questions related to the social repercussions of theological commitments. Each fellow will receive a $3,000 stipend. We hope to share details about the 2022 fellowship application process in November or December 2021, so be sure to check our website for any updates.

Karen Cortez

Project: The role of Christian and Evangelical organizations in uplifting those marginalized by socioeconomic status

“I am a rising fourth year, double majoring in youth and social innovation and English, with a minor in Religious Studies. My journey into the field of religious studies began with a last-minute switch into a prophecy class the spring of my first year, and I’ve found every class I’ve taken since then to be a very fulfilling and integral part of my time at school. On Grounds, I am primarily involved with the Navigators at UVA, and SEEK, an inter-fellowship organization that aims to foster unity and celebrate the diversity present amongst all the Christian organizations at UVA.”

Sophia Gibson

Project: The participation of St. Paul’s Memorial Church (Charlottesville, Va.) in the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968

“I’m a rising fourth year, majoring in political & social thought and religious studies. At UVA, I am the senior warden of The University Fellowship, the president of the Virginia Interfaith Coalition, a head program director for youth mentoring at Madison House, and an investigator for the University Judiciary Committee. Outside of UVA, I’m an intern with a local nonprofit, The Fountain Fund, and an active member at St. Paul’s Memorial Church. In my free time, I love long walks, chats, and laughs with friends.”

Josh Heman-Ackah

Project: Creation of a digital exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia

“I am an undergraduate student at UVA, where I study biochemistry and religious studies. After graduating with the Class of 2021, I will continue research within the UVA Department of Chemistry, investigating the deuteration of pharmaceutical drugs to increase their efficacy and safety. In my free time, I love to exercise, watch movies with close friends, and serve in my local church and community.”

Siana Monet

Project: An ethnographic study, with the Blacksburg (Va.) Friends, about how Quaker practice has changed during COVID-19

“I’m a fourth-year religious studies distinguished major at UVA, where I have focused on the spiritual aspects of Himalayan healing traditions. In my spare time, I enjoy backpacking, cooking Tibetan food, and watching B-grade horror films. I look forward to pursuing a career in academia and intend to study Buddhist traditions and philosophy of religion at Harvard Divinity School in the fall.”

Rachel Olson

Project: Creation of a digital exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia 

“I am a fourth-year religious studies major at UVA, where I am on a pre-medical track. I serve as president of UVA’s Daniel-Hale Williams Pre-Health Society and as a peer advisor for UVA’s Office of African-American Affairs. I volunteer at The Haven, a multi-resource day shelter in downtown Charlottesville.”

Madeline Pannell

Project: Interviews with Chinese international students at UVA to learn more about the experience of Chinese and Chinese Americans with American Christianity 

“I’m a third-year student at UVA, majoring in East Asian Studies. For the past two years, I’ve also been working with the Center for Digital Editing, researching the enslaved community of George Washington’s Mount Vernon and developing digital humanities projects. With this summer fellowship, I’m looking forward to incorporating my interdisciplinary studies of China with my passion for theological scholarship.”

Malia Sample

Project: What racial justice (in relation to the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Atlanta shootings) means to faith 

“I am a third year studying kinesiology, and I will be getting my master’s in kinesiology for individuals with disabilities here at UVA next year. In my free time, I enjoy exploring the parks in Charlottesville and paddle boarding. I am so grateful to be a part of the Project on Lived Theology this summer and to learn more about the intersection of faith and life and how I can incorporate faith in how I see the world to make it a more just and equitable place.”

Annie Webber

Project: How lived religion has played a role in the Black Lives Matter movement

“I’m majoring in Medical Anthropology, and my hometown is Charlottesville, Virginia. I am involved in The University Fellowship at UVA and The Haven in Charlottesville. In my spare time, I like to play racquetball, go on walks with friends, and bake.”

The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia is a research initiative, whose mission is to study the social consequences of theological ideas for the sake of a more just and compassionate world.