CST students and alumni/ae continue to be recognized for their scholarship and potential. Congratulations to four of our Ph.D. students on their honors: Aizaiah Yong and Saul Barcelo received 2019-20 HTI/Lilly Dissertation Fellowships, Jessica Chapman received an FTE Fellowship Award, and Clemette Haskins was a selected participant in the Wabash Teaching Seminar for Doctoral Students. And congratulations to alumna Rev. Dr. April Jackson, ’10 and ’19, for receiving the Harry Hosier Award from Black Methodists for Church Renewal.

The Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) provides ten $22,500 dissertation fellowships to scholars annually, and this year CST students received two of them.

Aizaiah Yong’s research centers on the multiracial experience, interrogates the role that contemplative spirituality plays in racial identity formation and social action, and seeks to disrupt racism.

He said, “I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude. For me, this award is one that I receive on behalf of my entire community because I could not have done this alone! Mi familia, my friends, my mentors, and my academic community at CST have all made this possible and I am honored to represent CST in this prestigious fellowship.”

Saul Barcelo’s research explores the role of religion in creating a racial category beginning in the Iberian Peninsula and continuing with the natives of the Americas 500 years ago while also considering the contributions of Liberation Theology, Islam, and Teología India (indigenous spiritualities) in inspiring the uprising of the Zapatista movement.

He said, “I feel privileged that someone would be interested in mentoring me during this rigorous process of the Ph.D. program which at times feels lonely and discouraging. At the same time, I feel grateful that HTI is providing resources that I can utilize to make sure my dream of graduating becomes a reality. By receiving the HTI fellowship, it’s almost as if a whole community is rallying behind me telling me ‘Sí Se Puede!’”

The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) offers fellowships to sustain current Ph.D. and Th.D. students of color through graduate school and into a vocation of teaching and scholarship – thereby working to improve “the quality of theological education and scholarship by diversifying the faculties of theological schools.” This year, Jessica Chapman was a recipient of this fellowship.

Jessica sees herself as a womanist practical theologian committed to interrogating and improving the treatment of African American women in the US healthcare system through the lens of a womanist clinical pastoral theology. She says, “A womanist clinical pastoral theology calls for African American women to be empowered to share their stories of mistreatment within the healthcare system and to be believed as they do so. Receiving this fellowship affirms my work and my call, helping me to stand firm in knowing that I am on the right path. My academic and ministry journeys have been incredibly life-giving, but, at times, they have also been quite difficult. As a twenty-something black woman, I have faced barriers due to age, race, and gender in academic, church, and health care institutions. I have found myself wondering if the rejection, glass ceilings, and criticism are worth it. Receiving this fellowship and being further connected to other young scholars of color navigating similar challenges has restored my energy and excitement to finish this journey and move forward in reaching my goals.”

The Wabash Center conducts “Teaching Seminars for Doctoral Students” to guide doctoral students in conversations about teaching. Clemette Haskins was selected as a participant last spring. She says, “I was enriched and empowered by the engagement and exploration with other emerging scholars on pedagogical practices and course design, as well as the opportunity to consider what I uniquely bring as a teacher/professor to the academy. I met wonderful people, gained valuable colleagues, and left feeling empowered, enriched, and excited about my future endeavors.”

Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) recently named alumna Rev. Dr. April Jackson, M.Div. ’10 and Ph.D. ’19, as recipient of the Spirit of Harry Hosier Award. Harry Hosier was the first Black preacher licensed in the Methodist church, and although illiterate, he “preached with power and eloquence to large crowds of both blacks and whites” as he traveled with the founder of American Methodism, Bishop Francis Asbury.

April was given The Harry Hosier Spirit Award because she exemplifies Harry’s spirit. She said, “To receive the Harry Hosier Spirit Award was a blessed and honorable occasion. I learned about the narrative of ‘Black Harry,’ a preacher recognized for his renowned preaching skills and his ability to connect with diverse audiences. I am always proud to learn of brilliant, inspiring Black individuals who flourished during the most racially segregated and disparaging of times in American history. I am privileged to be celebrated for upholding Harry’s legacy in the midst of my family, mentors and professors.”