Rabia Geha Gregory, B.A. 2000

University of Missouri

2000 Major: Religion and Medieval & Renaissance Studies

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

"As I went on to graduate school, earned my PhD and am now faculty in Religious Studies myself I'd say this was the direct foundation of my current career. Duke's faculty taught me research skills, gave me direct mentoring, and were blunt with me about the challenges and opportunities in academia. My undergraduate courses shape the ways I teach my own students. Because I was able to sit in on graduate courses as an undergraduate student and develop my research languages, I acquired skills most only learn in graduate programs. I particularly want to stress the importance of individual research projects being an important part of many of my RS courses, close mentoring from my undergraduate advisor Mel Peters, and the exceptional libraries at Duke. I also worked at the Special Collections library as a student and those experiences have been directly relevant to my work. In my own research, I study books, manuscripts, and art made in premodern Europe. I first had the opportunity to learn how to do this as a student at Duke. It takes a great deal of training to be able to interpret the belongings of someone who died hundreds of years ago. It is always exciting to get back to the archives and put those skills into action."

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

"Most majors in Religion will not go on to earn a PhD in the profession like I did, but I have seen the paths my students follow and I am confident that a degree in religion is relevant to most careers. Like most humanities and social science degrees, a Religion degree will give you the critical thinking, soft skills, and ability to lead that help in every satisfying career. But understanding religions grants cultural literacy that helps with negotiations, working with and meeting those of different backgrounds, and making sense of global and local politics. I study religions because they defy easy understanding and I think it is fun. If you go into it with the expectation that you will learn to ask questions and distrust easy answers, you will love this degree."


Rabia Geha Gregory