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    Scranton Hosts Lilly Fellows Program Cohort

    University of Scranton President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., met with Lilly Fellows Program’s ninth cohort of graduate fellows during their summer conference on campus. The cohort includes University of Scranton graduate and Truman Scholar Sarah Neitz ’12. Seated, from left: Father Pilarz; Neitz; Gretchen Van Dyke, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, the University’s faculty representative to the Lilly Fellows Program who serves mentor for the cohort; and Doug Henry, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and acting dean of the honors college at Baylor University, who also serves as mentor for the cohort. Standing are Lilly Fellows Program ninth cohort of graduate fellows: Nicholas Anderson; Rachel Watson; S. Kyle Johnson; Mary Elizabeth Winther; Bruno Cassara; Emily O’Brock; Samuel Hahn; Micaela Kowalski; and Nicholas Sooy; and Joseph Creech and Joseph Goss of the Lilly Fellows Program office.
    August 8, 2018

    Discovering a vocational path as a faculty member in faith-based higher education is not an exploration that must be done alone. Others making the same journey can offer companionship, support and direction.

    Started in 1991 and housed in Christ College of Valparaiso University in Indiana, the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts is a national initiative that “seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church related institutions of higher learning,” offering the strength of a network of 101 church-related colleges and universities from across the country, a Post-Doctoral Fellows Program and the Graduate Fellows Program.

    The University of Scranton has been a member of the Lilly Fellows Program since 1997 and political science professor Gretchen J. Van Dyke, Ph.D., has served as the University’s faculty representative to the program since 2000. She also serves as a mentor for the Lilly’s Graduate Fellows Program and has previously served as a national board member for the program.

    Scranton hosted a summer conference for the Lilly Fellows Program’s ninth cohort of graduate fellows in July, which included its first alumna member – Sarah Neitz, a graduate of the University’s class of 2012. A national Truman Scholar, Neitz graduated, summa cum laude, as a triple major in international studies, Hispanic studies and philosophy and member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. The Gettysburg native, who was a full-tuition Presidential Scholar at Scranton, earned her master’s degree from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Notre Dame.

    The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program accepts just 10 members annually into a cohort that will meet for three years. Candidates must be nominated by their undergraduate institutions and be enrolled in a Ph.D., M.F.A., Th.D. or equivalent program and meet other criteria. The fellows intend to pursue careers in church-related higher education upon completion of their studies.

    During the academic year, the cohort meets for a colloquium every other week, which is built around a theme and accompanying readings. In alternate weeks, the fellows participate in individual sessions with mentors. Each summer, the cohort gathers for a conference.

    “Our theme this summer was ‘Marked by the Sign of the Cross: Living Blessed Lives in the Midst of Faith and Doubt,’ which helped us think about the realities of Christian life – personal and professional – knowing that a companion of faith is the inevitability of doubt. This theme seemed to fit where our graduate fellows found themselves as they completed year two and look ahead to year three of their respective Ph.D. programs,” said Dr. Van Dyke. “Despite the time it takes to do all the work associated with mentoring this talented group of young Christian scholars, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career – and so unexpected.”

    The University also hosted the Lilly Fellows Program National Conference in 2013.

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