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Catholic Studies Students Win Competitive Scholarships
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Catholic Studies Students Win Competitive ScholarshipsFor more than a decade, the Center for Catholic Studies and the Department of Catholic Studies have provided competitive academic scholarships for students who are majoring, minoring or earning a certificate in Catholic Studies. We are proud to announce the winners of 2013-2014 Competitive Scholarships in Catholic Studies: Christian Zeron, Catholic Studies Major; Brianna Fitzpatrick, Catholic Studies and Diplomacy Double Major; and John Hughes, Secondary/Special Education and History Majors and Catholic Studies Minor.

Christian Zeron: Catholic Studies Major
“As a student I have always been taught about people who became icons by following their talents and passions. I learned that Plath wrote poems, Wagner composed harmonies, Fellini birthed cinema and Freud analyzed. Naturally, I asked myself what my talent is and realized it was evident all along: talking. I have always had a talent for speaking, dictating and ultimately persuading. Not only am I good at it but more importantly, I love it. I set out to find a career that would allow me to communicate on a daily basis. I found defense law to be a career I was overwhelmingly intrigued by. I dug a little deeper into the path one must follow in becoming an attorney. Thus far, my Catholic Studies major has expanded my mind. I have studied the juxtaposition of morality and politics, the great minds of the Fathers of the Church who formed the complex ideology of the Church and the magnitude of religions’ impact on society throughout every chapter of history. Not only has my Catholic Studies major helped me prepare for law school immensely but it has also provided another career path for me to contemplate. My classes have made me consider becoming a professor of ethics. I have found that I enjoy nothing more than discussing ethics from opposing perspectives, which I do daily as a Catholic Studies major. Slight skepticism was admittedly present when I began my Catholic Studies major, maybe a natural fear of the unknown, but I now consider it one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Brianna Fitzpatrick: Catholic Studies/Diplomacy Majors
“While I have just recently declared my second major with the Catholic Studies Department. I commend the Department of Catholic Studies’ active campus engagement and the Department’s involvement in their students’ out-of-class experiences. Though I have participated in some Catholic Studies events and programs, I think it more fitting to say that I am active in the totality of my Catholic faith rather than solely the Catholic Studies program. Outside the classes or events that may count towards the Catholic Studies major, I have been led to organizations and volunteer programs that have, in fact, drawn me deeper into the scholarly study of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

A little over a year ago, near the beginning of my time in this women’s formation household, I began to suffer from a condition involving chronic auto-immunity. Within months, what seemed like all of my future plans swirled themselves into a chaos of uncertainty. Every day seemed to bring me to a new “rock bottom,” until one day I finally found myself in so much pain, steeped in such exhaustion, that crying on the bathroom floor was all I could manage to do. What surprised me most was not the lack of humiliation that I felt, but rather the dignity with which my housemates treated me after this incident. No one judged my position, but rather, they sympathized with me. No one condemned my decision to stay in school, but rather, they helped me to balance my workload in whatever way they could. My professors worked with me, the religious on campus prayed for me, and, in a way, my Catholic community carried me to remission, all the while leaving my dignity intact.  

This story, I assure you, is not meant for pity, but for understanding: understanding that my choice to declare a Catholic Studies major is extremely personal, and altogether exciting to me. I have learned that being Catholic is not about emulating perfect citizenry, but about supporting one another through brotherly love in communion with our rich history and in accordance with Catholic teaching. To be Catholic is to protect every individual’s dignity. I pray I remember to carry this notion with me through my academic experiences to my career. I hope to work with the Catholic Studies Department and the Catholic community here at Seton Hall to become even more involved, more engrossed in, and more connected to this Catholic community of which I speak, all of which I am sure will lead me to become even more enamored with our Catholic faith.”

John Hughes Secondary/Special Education, History, Majors and Catholic Studies Minor
“As a young man discerning my vocation, I have realized that God has called me to teach in Catholic Schools, specifically to teach History and some sort of theology-based subject. I believe that today’s youth need good examples of people sharing their Catholic faith. Acting on that idea, I have spent the majority of my teenage years teaching Religious Education. Before I came to Seton Hall University, I figured (based on my majors) that I would be unable to pursue any sort of degree having to deal with the Catholic faith until graduate school. This would have delayed my opportunity to teach Theology in a Catholic School. My Catholic Studies minor, however, has opened up doors to potentially teaching a Catholic-Church based subject in a local high school before I even set foot in graduate school. In talking with local Catholic School educators, I have learned that several schools might consider hiring me after my graduation because of my increased marketability, courtesy of my Catholic Studies degree. My minors- Special Education and Catholic Studies- provide content certification and the ability to teach multiple content areas, specifically History and Theology. I never would have thought that fifteen credits (the amount required for a Catholic Studies minor) would enhance my career prospects so much! 

The classes in my Catholic Studies minor allow me to study my faith in a deeper way under brilliant educators. I have often felt passionate about sharing my faith, but had never studied it all that deeply outside of High School Theology classes and bible studies. The Catholic Studies and other faith-based classes at Seton Hall University have enabled me to better defend my faith because I am more informed about it. I have found that I enjoy the material, even though it has caused me to think outside of my comfort zone, which until college, I did not feel terribly comfortable doing. I find a joy in studying the material, even if I do not necessarily understand the content each time. The struggle with content knowledge at times, however, only encourages me to persevere and showcase my full academic abilities.  

My faith is an integral part of my life, and Catholic Studies has helped me on a multitude of levels. The opportunity to work with one of the University’s fastest-rising-programs is an incredible honor. I look forward to working with the Department of Catholic Studies to grow truly in the Mind, Heart, and Spirit during the remaining time I have at Seton Hall University.”

For more information please contact:
Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku
(973) 275-5845


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