The American Examples Fellow is a second-year student in the MA program of the UA Department of Religious Studies who has successfully completed the Foundation in Public Humanities and Religious Studies course and demonstrated an aptitude and ability to do digital public humanities work. The fellow’s responsibilities include maintaining the AE website, assisting with planning and logistics for the three workshop meeting, and providing ongoing help and consultation for participants on digital public humanities projects.
Erica Bennett is from Louisiana but has spent the last four year at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She graduated with a B.A. Honors in May of 2020 with a dual major of Religious Studies/ Sociology and Anthropology, and minors in both Theater and Mathematics. Her Honors thesis was titled: “Normalizing New Religious Movements: A Deeper Look into the Effects of Social Opinions of New Religious Movements in the Southeastern United States,” which was accepted for presentation at the Macksey National Undergraduate Research Symposium. Erica hopes to continue her research into New Religious Movements and the lives of their followers, possibly leading towards a Ph.D.
Ciara graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2021 with a B.A. in Philosophy & Religion and Psychology. In 2019 she was a recipient of the NWU Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant, which allowed her to explore pathways for designing a course on “New, Emergent, and Alternative Religions” as part of the U.S. Religious Diversity course at NWU. She has held internships with the Lancaster County Department of Corrections, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department, and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Ciara is particularly interested in the way classifications, identity formation, and rhetoric are mobilized in the interaction between law enforcement and New, Emergent, and Alternative religions. She hopes to use her degree from UA to pursue a career in federal law enforcement.
Sonya Harwood-Johnson is originally from Grimes, Iowa, and received her B.S. in Anthropology and Religious Studies, with a minor in Environmental Studies, from Iowa State University in May of 2020. Her research has focused on American Esoteric traditions, such as Wicca and the Feminist Reclaiming movement. Her paper, titled “Esoteric Negotiation: An Insider-Outsider Perspective” was accepted to the UMAAR conference in April 2020. Sonya is passionate about ethnographic research and International Studies.