Lillian Penny Carden
As a student, what drew you to the field of Religious Studies?
I was interested in so many different things, and I loved learning about many different kinds of people and their beliefs. I also really enjoyed the history aspect of Religious Studies – learning why wars were started, who wrote which parts of the Bible, and how/when different religions developed.
How has your expertise in Religious Studies helped you define and reach your career and personal goals?
My experience in this field has given me insight into what motivates people. Understanding what makes people tick helps you be a better manager, customer service representative, and friend. I have also developed a better understanding of myself, which has helped me work towards by goal of being a professional librarian.
Can you recall any experience in Religious Studies that you found especially enlightening or challenging as a student?
Learning Zazen meditation was very challenging for me, I hate sitting still! Once I got some practice, however, I found it extremely helpful with bringing some focus into my life, and I was better able to deal with the stresses of the day. I am still in awe of the monks who spend hours every day meditating, it really helps put things in perspective.
What are your favorite things about the UNCG Religious Studies Department?
The diversity and expertise of the faculty is fantastic. Every professor has a different teaching style, and that helps you develop multiple learning techniques, which will transfer into the professional world. I also really love how many different courses are offered, so that you can really tailor your degree to your needs and interests.
Have you stayed in touch with any of the professors or faculty in the UNCG Religious Studies Department?
Yes, Dr. Grieve in particular, as he was my advisor for my senior honors project. It has been wonderful to have a contact in the department through the years, and he was so willing to help when I was applying to graduate school!
Since graduating from UNCG, what have you accomplished in your career or studies?
I have spent the last few years working in veterinary medicine, while deciding what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I am now a graduate student at UNCG earning my master’s in Library and Information Studies.
What are your long-term goals?
My long-term career goal is to be a director of a public library.
As a graduate, would you recommend pursuing an academic interest in Religious Studies?
Absolutely, I learned so much in this degree that has transferred to the professional world. Even the little things I learned, such as being able to communicate clearly in writing and give presentations, have been very helpful. Most importantly, a background in Religious Studies will help you see the world from different perspectives, which helps you relate to other people, and will open so many doors in the future.