School of Theology and Ministry
News & Events

News and Events

  • Student Story & Scholarship Awardee: Rayna, MATL

    Rayna, MATLOver the last five years, Rayna Shoihat, the current Sigma Alpha Mu Head of Undergraduate Engagement at Hillel at the University of Washington, has been searching for just the right graduate program. Having a passion for social work, educational policy, as well as religion and spirituality, she has wrestled with what program could encapsulate her diverse interests.
    Rayna shared with us this month: “When I found out about the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, I discovered a graduate degree program that combines everything I’m so passionate about.”

    Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry has been slowly developing a national and international reputation as a leader in interreligious dialogue, already having earned a reputation for preparing Christian leadership for ordination or lay tracks. In response to the profound challenges of religious identity in our increasingly diverse and pluralistic world, the school recently created the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership. The degree is well suited for students from the gamut of spiritual and/or religious traditions and prepares students for work in a variety of nonprofit organizations as well as within the government and public sectors.

    E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter FoundationRayna heard about the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership when Rabbi Anson Laytner, the school’s Interreligious Program Manager sent out some outreach communications to local Jewish, Muslim and Christian community leaders around the new degree. Rabbi Laytner had also included information about a unique scholarship for interreligious students. The Carpenter Scholarship provides a full-tuition scholarship, through generosity of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, for students from varied religious backgrounds pursuing a Transformational Leadership degree with the school.
    As a leader in higher education, Rayna finds out about fantastic opportunities in the greater Seattle community on a daily and weekly basis. But when a colleague forwarded Rabbi Laytner’s communication to Rayna, she was immediately intrigued and excited. Rayna called the school and found out that admissions office was in the final stages of accepting applicants for the Fall 2013 quarter. She scrambled to get everything together for the application, was later accepted and got the news that she had also been accepted as a Carpenter Scholar and would receive a full-tuition scholarship.
    Graduate Students, SU STMRayna told us: “Without the support from this scholarship, I would not be able to afford to attend Seattle University and benefit from this degree program.” Rayna shared what drew her to the program from the start: “As I looked through the degree’s required and suggested courses, I was impressed with how the program addressed diverse areas of leadership through the lens of spirituality. The focus on intentional interreligious dialogue is something I am really excited about!
    Rayna’s own story and background has also prepared her to engage with the topics within the Transformational Leadership program. She told us: “I love working with the Jewish community, and have been doing so almost exclusively for the past five years. However, having been raised in a pretty diverse community, I have been looking for ways to engage more diverse groups. I think we learn so much more about ourselves, and grow stronger in our own beliefs and identities by communicating and sharing with others. As a Jewish student, you might think it would be intimidating to engage spiritually at a Jesuit university—however in speaking with staff and faculty members I have been impressed with the school’s holistic and intentionally dialogical approach. This program very much is for me! There’s also a component of a cohort and micro-community—setting you up to grow alongside your diverse peers. Being in the classroom this quarter has already been inspiring, including hearing from the other students and their stories.”
    We asked Rayna what she’s most looking forward to in the coming months as she dives deeper into the degree. She told us: “Fine-tuning my empathetic listening skills, learning to lead with confidence, deepening my knowledge base on certain texts, having critical conversations, questioning the values we take away and how we're sharing them, and asking the multidimensional question of what make a leader.
    About the Carpenter Scholarship:
    The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation has generously donated three full-tuition scholarships to students from all faith traditions (Jewish, Christian, Muslim and others) who are interested in pursuing study in interreligious dialogue through the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry.

    If you would like to apply for this scholarship and any others offered through the school, please visit our scholarship webpage, here.
    For more information on the MA in Transformational Leadership, visit here.


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