Our School sponsors a very active student club:
As a consumer advocate for Waggener Edstrom, a large communications firm in the Portland-area, I interview consumers on behalf of brands like Microsoft, Volvo, and T-Mobile. I don't just ask questions about where they buy their products, but focus more on questions about their relationships, commitments and worldview. Knowing how to ask these types of questions and how to truly understand what motivates humans is a central part to my job. While I never studied anything like advertising or public relations at OSU, my background in philosophy and religious studies enables me to be an expert in this type of question asking at my firm.
My education in the religious studies area is responsible for my ability to 1) know how to ask big questions in a personal, but non-threatening way, 2) understand and analyze human behavior, including ethics and motivation, 3) comprehend varying worldviews and how they impact human behavior in a historical context, and 4) think, read, write, and speak thoughtfully.
I grew up in a very white, homogenous community in rural western Oregon that boasts 190 residents, one bar, 6 wineries, and 4 Christian churches. I was raised in a nondenominational Christian home, and I've always been a passionate learner. Ever since I was a little kid I've liked to know how things operate, why they operate the way they do, and what made them work that way in the first place. This life-long quest to know what/why/how is what drew me to Liberal Arts at Oregon State, and Religious Studies in particular. I started off my undergraduate education in Sociology and Anthropology, and while my coursework in these majors helped me to understand how social/cultural processes, traditions, and institutions are carried out, they never answered why they were established in the first place. Religious Studies filled this gap. Even though I am now pursuing graduate education in Sociology, I've always boasted that Religious Studies was my favorite major at Oregon State. The major's flexible coursework allowed me to pursue course topics that would enhance the education I received in social science while simultaneously challenging my personal thought process. Religious studies transformed my life because, in addition to complimenting my degrees in Anthropology and Sociology, I was able to satisfy my desire to learn why things operate the way they do. I've found that, typically, global phenomena largely the result of religious ideologies and the resulting norms and/or policy actions which may ensue. Coursework in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion is what brought me to this conclusion, and as a result, my approach in knowledge of social science and the way I go about living and understanding life, in general, has been enriched by majoring in Religious Studies.
Hannah Whitley '16