Danielle Tumminio ’06 M.Div., ’08 S.T.M.
B.A. Yale University 2003
I discovered Yale Divinity School as a undergraduate English major at Yale College, when a friend of mine was studying to be an Episcopal priest. She frequently invited me up the hill to YDS events, and I relished the time I spent there. God felt so real, so present in the wide eyes of students and in the mentoring of faculty. I knew in my gut that I wanted to participate in that, too.
Problem was, once I arrived at YDS, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing there. I tried out journalism, but thought I wasn’t assertive enough; looked into psychology, but couldn’t see myself as a therapist, and even considered a stint as a scuba diving instructor before landing in a systematic theology classroom and falling in love. I found professors like Marilyn Adams, Siobhán Garrigan, Serene Jones, John Hare, and Kristen Leslie, who nurtured my interest in theology and trauma, eventually leading me to pursue doctoral work, which I will begin this fall at Boston University. At the same time, participation in Berkeley Divinity School enfolded me into a strong Episcopal community that gave me the spiritual and academic tools to discern a call to the priesthood. Finally, membership in the Institute of Sacred Music led me to continue writing, eventually leading me to start publishing short pieces on religion and contemporary society. That community also inspired me to think about the relationship between theology and literature, which inspired me to offer a Yale College course on Christian Theology and Harry Potter. Teaching that course not only gave me the privilege of working with a bunch of incredibly talented undergraduates; it also solidified my love of teaching theology.
Yale Divinity School has given me gifts in abundance: knowledge, a sense of call, academic confidence, opportunities for research and travel, and a community of friends. I am grateful beyond measure for these gifts—they transformed me from a curious wanderer to a woman passionate about her work. As I leave YDS, I do so in thanksgiving for all I have been given. I hope that I will be able to nurture and inspire others as this community has nurtured and inspired me.