Jennifer Copeland, B.A. 1985, Ph.D. 2008

Executive Director, North Carolina Council of Churches – Raleigh, NC

1985 Major: Religion and English; MDiv (1988); Ph.D., Religion and graduate certificate in Women's Studies (2008)

How has being a Religion graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"The courses I took as an undergraduate provided the foundation to think critically and theologically about the Christian "soup" most people swim in, regardless of their own faith claims or lack thereof. In N.C., the ethos is heavily flavored with Christian themes, some of which are used irresponsibly by those who employ them. Our current Lt. Gov. comes to mind... Even without the subsequent graduate degrees, I believe my undergraduate courses provided the critical reasoning skills to see through the vitriolic religious rhetoric cluttering our landscape."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Religion programs? 

"Look for places to overlap the learning in the religion department with other disciplines, such as English, History, even Public Policy. Religion influences so much of the way we think, often without our knowing it, that it's important to name the overlap in order to understand why people say and do the things they say and do."

Jennifer Copeland