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Careers in RELS & Alumni Stories

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Careers in Religious Studies

RELS and Participation in the World Around You

The career opportunities for undergraduate Religious Studies students are many and varied, especially when students blend their major or minor RELS curriculum with coursework in other fields.  Students in Religious Studies gain an interdisciplinary and global perspective, and follow a range of career opportunities in professions in which critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills are important.

Our majors have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of professional and scholarly fields, with a variety of employers, such as:

 

  • Public and Private Education
  • College and Universities
  • Secondary Schools
  • Public Administration
  • Government Agencies
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Law
  • Libraries and Archives
  • Museums
  • Journalism
  • Editing and Publishing
  • Chaplaincy
  • Community and Social Services
  • Counseling
  • Social Work
  • Medicine
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising


A major, or even a degree, does not necessarily dictate a career.  Many people, including RELS faculty, majored in different areas from their ultimate careers.  We encourage students to take advantage of the full university experience, including internships, academic rigor, work experience, leadership opportunities, study abroad, and being an active member of the campus community to learn more about themselves and pursue their eventual career.

For more information on taking advantage of everything OU has to offer, contact the Arts and Sciences Student Success Center, OU Career Services, or the departmental advisor, Jennie Lazar.

Make Your Mark on the World with a Religious Studies Degree!

Did you know that Religious Studies offers many skills that translate into successful careers in law and medicine.?  You can check out how to set yourself apart with RELS & Pre-Law or RELS & Pre-Med.

Our OU Religious Studies graduates do amazing things!  We have alumni (majors and minors) with an amazing choice in career paths.  They’ve gone on to become:

 

o   State Representatives

o   Intelligence Analysts for the FBI

o   Staff Attorneys for the Choctaw Nation

o   Nonprofit Tax Attorneys

o   Attorneys & Counselors at Law

o   Supervisors of Library Programs

o   Special Collections Assistants at University Research Libraries

o   Physical Therapists

o   Residents in Family Medicine

o   Psychiatric Physician Assistants

o   Caseworkers in Child Protective Services

o   Elementary School Art Teachers

o   Program Managers at the Family Safety Center

o   Vicars, Senior Pastors, Priests

o   Occupational Safety Specialists

o   AP Statistics & Mathematics Instructors

o   University Faculty

o   Freelance Writers

o   Managers in Mortgage Servicing

Some more quotes from our alumni:

- I work in an interfaith non-profit organization that provides humanitarian aid overseas.  I work in the Donor Services Department at our HQ office.  Now more than ever, the resources and knowledge you gain by taking Religious Studies course is extremely valuable.  We live in such a diverse world, with religion at the core for many.  Working for an interfaith non-profit is not something I planned.  But a recruiter in my area suggested I would be a great fit based on my background education in Religious Studies.  Having the knowledge of different religions is the best way to be a part of the peaceful dialogue between them.  I decided to major in RELS out of an interest in learning more of what I didn't know, and the experience I gained unexpectedly led me to where I am in my career now.

 

- [Religious Studies] continues to be a subject I strive to become more educated in, and it has made me a more compassionate future physician.

 

- I had the privilege of being an intern this summer at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.  I worked with the Food for Kids program and supplied lunches to children who reside in low-income communities.  I am now currently a Site Coordinator for a non-profit known as Reading Partners . . . I assist elementary aged students in increasing their literacy rates and comprehension.  Religious Studies has provided me with many opportunities to discuss what I learned during my degree, as well as the skills gained from the degree.  It has offered me a different worldview and has made me a more open-minded individual, as well as many other things.

 

- Completing my major in RELS was the smartest and best thing I did as an undergraduate, even though I also prepared for, and was admitted to, medical school.

 

- [Religious Studies] helped broaden my perspective with not just religion, but the value of a person.

 

Alumni Stories

Meet Paige Hoster Good

Class of 2009

Headshot of Paige Hoster Good

The coursework in RELS translated quite perfectly to the work of an attorney. RELS required me to listen, read, analyze, issue spot, ask questions, and articulate my analysis and reasoning—whether in a written product or during in-person class discussions and presentations. This is, frankly, the work of a litigation attorney—to listen, read, analyze, issue spot, ask questions, articulate your position, and advocate on behalf of the client. Most importantly, RELS taught me how to think. How to develop an inquisitive mind. How to continually ask questions, even if the answers are unknown, because the questions in themselves are important. These are skills that can take you anywhere in life, regardless of a specific career path.

- Paige Hoster Good

Paige Hoster Good is a trial attorney who represents employers in all phases of labor and employment law, including litigation before state and federal courts, regulatory and administrative agencies, and arbitration panels. Paige’s counseling practice encompasses a broad range of employment-related issues, including training employees, managers and supervisors on best practices and anti-discrimination; preventing wrongful discharge claims; implementing anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies and practices; investigating allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and misconduct; drafting and auditing employment, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements; defending state wage and hour claims; drug and alcohol testing; employee handbook and policy development; advising on hiring, discipline, and termination decisions; as well as litigation avoidance and compliance with other federal and state laws. Paige is a frequent speaker on issues affecting the workplace and has been a contributing author to numerous business and professional publications, including The OklahomanOklahoma Employment Law LetterHRlaws.com, and EmployerLINC, a legal blog dedicated to employers and workplace issues. Paige’s achievements have earned her inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch (labor and employment law – management; labor and employment litigation) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of “Oklahoma Rising Stars,” which recognizes the state’s top up-and-coming attorneys.

Meet J.C. Fischer

Class of 2014

Headshot of J.C. Fischer

My religious studies degree has been a key factor in career success, enabling me to effectively understand and empathize with people from various religious and cultural backgrounds from around the world.

-J.C. Fischer

J.C. Fischer graduated summa cum laude from OU in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. While at OU, he was active on the JCPenney Leadership program’s student advisory board, was a Price Ambassador, and received a Letzeiser award. After graduation, J.C. went on to earn his J.D. from Stanford Law School and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is currently with McKinsey & Company, based out of their Dallas, TX, office. 

Find More Opportunities through the Dodge Family Arts and Sciences College Student Success Center

Meet Lacey Garrison

Class of 2014

Headshot of Lacey Garrison

I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without the experiences that shaped me while studying in the Religious Studies program. A course titled Religion, Culture and the Meaning of Life was paramount to shifting my worldview and pushed me to explore other Religious Studies courses, which led me to change my major during my sophomore year. This degree, including the relationships with professors and my classmates, helped me understand how to be a better human. This degree inspired me to look into service, where I served two years as an AmeriCorps member for a national education nonprofit. I discovered my passion for helping young people during this time and am committed to fighting education inequities impacting our communities.

-Lacey Garrison

Lacey is currently a remote recruiter with Affirma.  She help identify talent for a variety of roles ranging from software engineers, data analysts, marketing professionals, creative designers, and many more..  Previously, she was with City Year for 2 years, but has built the last 6 years of her professional career working for various education nonprofits in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she joined Reading Partners, where she would serve two AmeriCorps terms. She was awarded a local AmeriCorps service scholarship to pursue a Master of Public Administration at OU-Tulsa with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Lacey joined City Year because of her passion for service and ability to make connections, while building relationships with others. Most recently, she was chosen to work with the City Year Office of Equity to facilitate an Anti-Racist White Learning Series for City Year staff and AmeriCorps members working in our 29 U.S cities. In her spare time you can catch her running, hiking the beautiful Northwest Arkansas trails or walking her dog Cleo.  

Meet Cole Cloyd

Class of 2020

Headshot of Cole Cloyd

Cole Cloyd is pursuing his Master’s of Theological Studies in Religion, Politics, & Ethics at Harvard Divinity School, with particular focus on religious & political violence of extremist/hate groups.

 

Cole explains how RELS contributed to his success:

I think the OU RELS department helped me in that we have a fantastic method of engaging with ideas and information at both a personal and systemic level. I think we have some of the best faculty and staff across both the university and the country at consistently challenging students to look inward at our own religious and cultural identities, and outward towards the larger systems and communities that religion plays a factor in. As a department, there is a continuous effort to grow as a scholar (and I would think as a person) from the faculty, staff, and the students themselves. There is no doubt without the RELS department, without the encouragement and expertise of those within it, I would not have a great opportunity like I do at Harvard. I've been able to be around some the best scholars and mentors in my time at the RELS department, and for that I can’t be thankful enough.

-Cole Cloyd

Meet Morgan Brammer

RELS Minor, Class of 2011

Headshot of Morgan Brammer

Morgan Brammer is currently the Director of Recruitment for the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Oklahoma.  Morgan graudated as a BA in Humans Relations with a double minor in Spanish and Religious Stuides in 2011.  She earned her Master of Education (M.Ed.) focused in Higher Education Administration from University of Oklahoma in 2015..  She is passionate about the future success of students and their access to higher education. 

When I was an undergraduate student at OU, Religious Studies was one of my double minors. To me, to understand my major of Human Relations, it could only be propped up in context of what makes humans who they are – culture and language (Spanish), as well as faith (religious studies). Looking back, I wish I would have double majored in Religious Studies. I read works such as the Quran, I learned a new perspective of the Apostle Paul, and what it meant to reach “enlightenment.” This field of study is so much more than what people believe – it is a lens by which we can see inside someone and better relate/connect. And, I think our world could use a great deal more of empathy!

-Morgan Brammer

Connect with Religious Studies

Email Rebecca Hall-Davis, Administrative/Financial Coordinator, at rebeccahd@ou.edu to be included on our email list for newsletters and department updates. 

Also, visit and like us on Facebook.

The Department of Religious Studies can't wait to meet you and answer any questions you may have.  Be sure to visit our Prospective Students page.

If you would like to connect with a specific professor or schedule a visit to the department, please email Rebecca Hall-Davis at rebeccahd@ou.edu.  We love meeting new students and are here for you.


Stay connected with the Department of Religious Studies!  We love to hear from our former students, and you are welcome to contact any of us in the department to share.  The Religious Studies Department is made stronger by its broader community.  If you are a University of Oklahoma Religious Studies alumni, please keep in touch.

You can email Rebecca Hall-Davis, Administrative/Financial Coordinator, at rebeccahd at ou dot edu to be included on our alumni email list for newsletters and department updates. 

Check out our exclusive University of Oklahoma Religious Studies Alumni LinkedIn group.  It's a great place to network and check-in with your former classmates and the broader OU Religious Studies community!

Also, visit and like us on Facebook.

We would love to hear from you!

Deonnie Moodie, PhD & a student speaking during office hours.