I am currently in my last year of undergraduate school at Appalachian State University. My two greatest passions have always been the environment and spirituality, thus I decided to pursue a double degree of Sustainable Development (concentration in Community, Regional, Global Development) and Religious Studies with an emphasis on ancient Hebrew texts. I also hope to one day attend graduate school to obtain a Masters of Divinity or Theological Studies, ideally at Yale or Notre Dame. It is my goal to take this knowledge and apply it outside of the college sphere by pursuing just economic systems, climate change policies, and sustainable and spiritual community building. My belief is that faith is deeply tied to our relationship to the natural environment, and essential in the fight for climate justice.
My spiritual background is deeply influenced by mental illness: as someone who struggles with Scrupulosity, a religious/moral form of OCD, I am acutely aware of how damaging Toxic Theology can be on a personal level. It is my belief that one of the largest obstacles in the fight for climate justice is the prevalence of such Toxic Theology in public and private spaces. Thus, my main focus in school, and eventually my career, is to speak out against spiritual distortions such as humanity’s right to dominate nature, the politicization of faith, gender inequality, labor exploitation, and racism. I hope that through the study and use of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, I can one day speak to people at large—perhaps in congregational settings or policy lobbying–and help them understand the true, liberating God at the heart of those texts—the One who encourages care for Creation and for all our neighbors. Another dream of mine is to write a book exploring these ideas, and bringing them down-to-earth so that people can utilize them in their daily lives.
Hannah is currently a senior at Appalachian State University. She is pursuing a double major of Sustainable Development and Religious Studies, with Honors. After school, she plans to take time to engage with practical theology and social activism, then to apply to graduate programs for a Masters of Divinity. With NCIPL she aspires to create a national network of Interfaith, Power & Light youth leaders who will collaborate to form creative solutions for environmental and social injustice. She is passionate about the power of spirituality to influence people’s engagement in social action; thus, Hannah utilizes an interfaith-based platform to communicate our moral responsibility to protect creation. In her personal life, she spends time reading, exercising, being in nature, and hanging out with her corgi, Milo.