Newell, Catherine (Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Miami & The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress)
Growing up in a very small town that once had the most churches per capita in the country, Catherine Newell was around many people who were believers. Moving away from her hometown, she encountered a more religiously diverse environment, opening her mind to other possibilities. During her final term in college, she stumbled into a Rabbinic Judaism class. While the texts ignited her intellect, it was the class dialogue that moved her in a profound way. Now a professor of religious studies herself, Newell reflects on how the class offered an ideal model of collective academic inquiry: respectful and passionate dialogue.