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Rachel Watson '10 M.A.R.
Patterson, NJ, BA, Yale University, Member of Madison Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Paterson, NJ

The personal and spiritual growth that I have undergone since my arrival at YDS in the fall of 2007 is far and away beyond my most
extreme imaginings. If I had taken a theological self-portrait three years ago, and compared it to my soul as it is today, I should have
trouble recognizing myself.  And this is not due purely to academic study, but is in large part due to relationships with peers and mentors here.  Theological questioning is a beautiful thing, and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity and the rare freedom to do so with the community here at YDS.

WatsonI am proud to have been born and raised in New Jersey, and to have attended NJ public schools.  I graduated from Montclair High School in 1999 and was admitted to Yale College (CC '03).  After graduating from Yale with a B.A. in Film Studies and Theatre Studies, I moved to New York City, where I lived and worked for four years.  Before returning to New Haven, I was an assistant producer at ad agency Ogilvy & Mather NY for American Express, where I had the privilege of working on TV commercials for the Amex brand campaign "My Life, My Card."  Now nearing the end of the Master's degree, I look back on this time in New York as a degree unto itself.  The skills and temperament I learned in the field have been invaluable to my current studies.

My choice to attend YDS was a vocational one, as at the time I was seeking a way to integrate my own religious faith and sense of calling with the artistic work that has always been my spiritual food. I thought, where best to start but with studying my favorite book at the time, the Bible -- incidentally, the muse for most, if not all, of my creative work.  This affinity led me to covetously switch from the more ministerial M.Div to the M.A.R. in Bible in order to be able to spend more time with this most extraordinary, and shockingly malleable, ancient Book.

“While at YDS, I have developed a taste for the study of the Bible as literature, and not as the kind of literature that makes Book-of-the-Month clubs, but as the kind of art that wrestles with the human condition in the most surprising, gritty, and stubbornly hopeful ways.”

While at YDS, I have developed a taste for the study of the Bible as literature, and not as the kind of literature that makes Book-of-the-Month clubs, but as the kind of art that wrestles with the human condition in the most surprising, gritty, and stubbornly hopeful ways.  What I have learned from the masters of biblical studies who teach at YDS has been instrumental, not only in enriching my understanding of the Book itself, but also in providing me with new ways of thinking about texts other than the Bible.

I am now experimenting with theological examinations of contemporary texts (film, theatre, television, novels, etc.) that are mass consumed, or consumed by a majority within smaller communities; I believe that they have the power to teach us a great deal about contemporary American conceptions of race, sexuality, philosophy, and politics among other concerns.  Cultural representations of evil and of persons deemed outside the "core" or "normative" community are of particular interest to me.

It is my plan to continue academic study and creative engagement, and teaching and writing remain my favored occupational dreams.  Wherever I land next, I know that the broadening of my mind and spirit over the last three years will be of incalculable service to me.

 

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