What did you study through the ESJ Project? What are some of the larger takeaways from your research?
I studied the expression of Christian faith at Trinity College Dublin. I specifically focused on how Christian groups and also individual Christians talk about their faith and how comfortable they feel on campus talking about religion.
I also explored the zeitgeist on campus: how people are reacting to Christian faith. Trinity College is a bit more liberal than I would have expected. Some people there are rather averse to heavily religious people of the Christian faith.
What did your interview process look like?
With students it was surprisingly easy. People really just wanted to talk. One of my interviewees said something really poignant, I thought. They said something along the lines of, “Be careful mentioning religion in the bars because people just won’t shut up about it. We'll talk about it all over the place.”
The same was true for a lot of my interviewees. They talked with me a lot about inner thoughts and challenges. And it was often really easy to get the conversation going. They often talked about how much they loved their faith and what they wanted it to look like.
What did you find to be the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the program?
A significant challenge was writing my research report and trying to give everyone their point of view. This was really important based off of what I saw, with many competing opinions on faith in public life at Trinity.
It was really rewarding to give these people a space to talk. A lot of them felt as though they were not heard properly, especially people of Christian or Catholic faith who were not involved in any of the big student organizations. I remember two interviewees in particular; I think it probably felt really good for them to just talk to someone who is listening, who was not judging, and who believed them.
How has involvement in the ESJ Project shaped your time at Georgetown since and plans after graduation?
After the ESJ Project, I am very excited to write my sociology thesis. As taxing as interviews can be, I am excited to do my thesis because I know what it means to interview. I know how to write a research paper. I know that I can do it.
I plan on going to law school, and I hope to be a litigator one day. The skills that I learned while interviewing—how to articulate questions properly, how to improvise, how to pick up what people are saying—will absolutely translate to what I want to do as a litigator.